brand planning tools and tricks

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I’d like to say when it comes to brand planning my philosophy is “listening” but it’s not. Many will tell you the best cultural anthropologists are listeners, observers and silent recorders of behavior. They are.

Many brand planners today are expert listeners but not all see. Watching confirms what the ears hear. Observing can add great texture to the person interviewed.  One question I used to ask job seekers when interviewing in the ad business — after a few minutes of the interview — was, “Tell me about me.” (I almost invented the “me too” movement with the question one time, but that’s a story for another day.) The intent was to see if the candidate had any observations about my office, tidiness, books I read, etc. Non-verbal learning.

Anyway, I’ve found that the quietude that happens when one only asks a question and listens can suck the air out of an interview. A good brand planner animates. Laughs out loud. Play acts what a consumer might say or do.  It’s okay to interrupt and interject. Most of all a good interviewer shows interest. Makes the candidate some alive. Adding a pulse to a convo can move things in new directions. Also share from your own life, even things a little personal; it peels away some layers.

Listen for sure. But probe and bait for surer.

Peace.

 

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I am putting together a workshop for next month and have decided to title it “A marketing consultancy, behind the curtain.” The subtitle is something like, the tools and trick of a marketing consultant. The workshop needs to fill 3-4 hours and as David Bromberg likes to say, I have a “pocketful of funnies,” but need to figure out which ones and in what order to share them.

First off and foremost I will talk about the brand strategy. Most think brand strategy is the thing Landor writes before they charge you $250,000 for a logo and style book. At What’s the Idea? a brand strategy is way more (but less expensive). Here, a brand strategy is defined as an “organizing principle” for business success. Not communications success. In order to create an organizing principle for business success one must first understand business fundamentals. One tool to do so I call 24 Questions. With the 24 Questions answered I can speak the language of the CEO, CFO and CMO. When you use a company’s data and language you tend to not fall into the marko-babble trap – talking about transparency, operational excellence, customer centrism, and elevator speeches.

So explaining brand strategy and the 24 Questions are the first two tools I’ll address in “Behind the Curtain.” Stay tuned for more. Peace.

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