Kathryn Ruemmler, the current white house counsel, is leaving her post in May. A long running presidential advisor, one of her more highly rated skills is her “uncanny ability to see around the corners that nobody else anticipates.”
Lots of marketers, myself including, tell stories about Steve Jobs and how he didn’t listen to research on what consumers wanted next. Jobs would tell consumers what they wanted next. The oft heard “we don’t skate where the puck is, we skate to where the puck will be,” a Wayne Gretsky-ism also supports this forward looking approach. Seeing around the corner is more than a skill. Tainted Tylenol. Spittle-covered pizzas. Ignition keys that fall out of the steering columns. All examples of corners that couldn’t be seen around. Business needs to be prepared for the corners. Those are on the negative side of the ledger; there will be many positives around the corner as well.
Brand strategy is built upon what customers want and what a brand is good at. One idea, three proof planks is the organizing principle which yields business success. The planks look backward and forward. Coca-Cola is about refreshment and refreshment is way more than high fructose corn syrup, for instance. Forward looking.
When you evaluate your brand plan ask yourself if it is built to see around corners. Peace.