One of the problems with many brand planners is their laser-ike focus on the now. On the current tactical objective. And who can blame them? Stuff has to work. And be measured. But true brand plans are for the long term, setting direction for all the tactical efforts. The micro measures of success as it were. Think of a brand plan as the architecture of the house and the individual tactical projects as the decorated rooms. The architecture is the real strategy; the business-winning, business building proposition or organizing principle that drives commerce.
One of the reasons I love Thomas Friedman, an Op-Ed columnist, is he looks at geopolitical, geo-religious problems before and after the now. He delves into what history has contributing to getting a region where it is (a rearview mirror approach well-worn in brand planning) but also looks into the future. With Syria, for instance, he wonders what the country will look like after the conflagration. He goes straight to a reasonable result and lives there in his mind. Brand planners don’t do this enough. Once you see the future, it helps create a more contextual present. So the future of healthcare is what? The future of the energy drink category is what? The future of the mobile device operating system is what?
I’d be a gypsy if I promised the future as a brand planning. But I’d be a goober if I didn’t operate there on behalf of my brands. Peace.