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I wrote a biz/dev letter to a nearby digital agency yesterday pitching them on what I hope to be an interesting digital media planning tool. I call it Twitch Point Planning. (Google it for an explanation.)  Mindful of being brief in my pitch, I chose my words carefully and toplined what Twitch Point Planning IS and what Twitch Point Planning DOES. My typical “Is-Does” frame for explain brands and new products.  

What I neglected to do, while mired in my need to explain the product, was tell the reader what benefit accrued to them. I suspected that by making clear the innovativeness of the product, the benefit would be implicit. Wrong. I didn’t think like a custie.

In a much less ham-handed way I should have opened my missive with a claim about “a new revenue stream” for todays digital economy or another reader-centric idea. Only then should I have explained the Is-Does. Rather than getting all caught up in my underwear, I should have planned my outfit.

Think like a custie and raise your odds of cutting through.




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One of the coolest things I get to do as a brand planner is sit back and watch a company or product transform after a new brand strategy is presented. The word viral would be an overstatement, because “one claim and three proof planks” aren’t quickly acculturated into a company. When properly sold in, however, and that means well beyond the marketing department, a brand strategy can take hold fairly quickly. It will alter the work of the SEO team — all of a sudden new key words begin to pop in as traffic drivers. Company language in meetings tilts in a slightly new direction. And once a company language changes it’s not long before partner and consumers language follow.

The day after I present final brand strategy, I’m checking the website to see if anyone has made changes to the home page. Week two I’m checking new videos to see if the company Is-Does has morphed. I look to newly minteed press releases for changes to the first sentence and the “About” paragraph. My expectation is that things will change immediately. (Doe-eyed Poppe.)

Strategy work is a lot less requited than design work. When a new logo and tagline hits the street, it’s easily seen. It’s fast and obvious. But when a brand strategy hits, it’s often a slow creep. That doesn’t keep me from checking right away. Hee hee. 



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One of the cool things about being a brand planner, probably not unlike being a psychotherapist, is being a student of man. Though I am not looking for maladaptive behaviors as does the psychotherapist I am looking for behaviors. All types. By doing so, I’m always learning. When on the clock, I’m learning about behaviors contributory to commerce in a specific business category, but when off the clock, I’m learning about human nature. Always learning.

I’ve been a painter, a waiter, and ad guy and a couple two tree (sic) other things, but brand planner and constant learner has to be the best. And when you can share what you’ve learned to help people, it’s among the best feelings on earth. The fact that brand planners help sell things shouldn’t minimize the job. When working on a elemental nutrition formula for infants with eating allergies and observing “a mother is never more protective than of an infant in distress,” the goal was helping, not selling. In my presentation “Social media guard rails,” one of the first slides is about this point. Help, don’t sell.

The best brand plans help; the result is selling. Words to plan by. Peace.



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Try not to spend too much time in the present when doing marketing planning.  It’s okay to look to the past to help understand big trends and how they have changed. After you get the how, you need to overlay the why – that’s da monies, the why.  Then spend your time thinking about the future.

Most marketers, marketing agents and the less important though well-financed consultants spend their time in the near-past. Today, geo-location services and check-ins are the near-past and though not exactly a mine denuded of its ore, they are where many marketers are spending serious time and money. Slates and tablets are the haps today and as a billion dollar business will take up a lot of time, energy and GDP but like Robert Scoble’s kid said couple of month ago, it’s just more stuff to put in a backpack.   Tech companies are now fighting over form, size and inches.

What’s Next?

So what’s out in front? For marketers, what is ahead of the dashboard?  I believe the answer is politics, planet and populace.  It used to be easy to not pay attention to what went on in the Congo when it was buried on page 27.  But how about when it’s in your stream. In living color? And will people pay for that?  Will people pay for the right to tune in via Google Earth any event in the world in real time?  Who needs Al Jazeera?  I wrote yesterday about the web strategy called the 3Cs: Content, Commerce and Community. Tom Friedman who has more power than 95% of us  will tell you the 3 P (Poppe knows from 3 Ps) is what’s next. Let them guide you. Peace, the verb.

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