Microsoft onenote

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I do a lot of research in preparation for writing a brand strategy. I interview people, read blogs and social posts, search out secondary research and create primary research. All of it goes into the stock pot for the boil down. (Actually, I use Microsoft OneNote, a repository of links, pics, text and videos.) At some point I need to stop collecting and start organizing the thoughts into patterns.

For one of my engagements, a new online art gallery, I came upon a way to begin the boil down that was actually quite contrary. The initial fact-finding client presentation was called “The 8 Conundrums,” identifying behavioral opposites or contradictions that were part of the market. For example: “Art is very subjective” versus “People who admire art also like their tastes validated.”

So what does one do with market and behavioral conundrums?

First, understand them. Then attempt to see the macro patterns. Detect the commonalities. And finally, be the solution. In the case of the art gallery, this first cut on findings was used as a lever with the clients — to see where their heads were from a product and delivery standpoint. (It was start-up.) The discussion and debate was critical. It also helped identify if concept testing was in order.

So try it some time. Especially with difficult or complicated markets. Surface and share the conundrums before citing the solution. Planners don’t have the answers remember, they help uncover them. Peace.


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The boil down is what happens in my brand planning rigor after I feel I’ve collected enough data and information. Lately, I’ve been using Microsoft OneNote, to capture all the market info and links  — a cool tool. When the boil down begins I am looking for proof and patterns.

I was reading an Op-Ed piece about Egypt yesterday and came across two pieces of proof that set me off onto insights – which lead to strategy. These two proofs were the increase in sale of police dogs to citizens and skyrocketing tour guide unemployment.   Lawlessness and fear emerge as problematic outcomes of the unrest in Egypt. Proof informing strategy.

Good planners look to brand strategy that offers both claim and proof.  Too much strategy today is all claim, little proof. Too much marketing, the same. And 90% of advertising is all claim, no proof. Ground up brand planning starts with collection of product strengths, consumer insights, competitive pressures, cultural biases and proclivities, and a deep search for insights and proof. Find the right proof and you are free to move about the brand craft. Peace.

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