I'm a fan of Jeremy Bullmore - not least his agony column in Campaign. His 'why is an insight like a refrigerator is pure classic genius. But I did disagree with something last week.
The subject matter was proprietary brand models, good/bad/how do you manage do get good thinking when you're wedded to a process and tick box? Now for the record, I'm not the greatest fan of fixed process and models, but I also believe some sort of framework for your thought process can be useful, most of all when you're starting out.
But the general rules of developing strategy are pretty universal I think, maybe with a modern emphasis on finding out what people are interested in more rather than assuming they're sitting waiting for your selling messages.
Put simply, delve into the consumer culture, delve into the brand /product /service culture, find the connection. A more detailed way of looking at stuff can be found here if you're interested.
Anyway, back to that Bullmore column. I kind of agree that few agency brand planning tools are really unique, but I really didn't agree with the assertion that all are merely there to enable execution tweaking which was his take.
Take Brains' , sorry, Maurice Saatchi's One Word Equity - I hate it, I don't agree you can always shove all the nuance of a brand into one word. BUT, it's an attempt to frame all brand thinking well before execution and do something appropriate for the messy media world brands inhabit.
Take TBWA's Disruption, I'm saying for a moment that just being different is enough (and it's more complex than that anyway) but still, it's a way of thinking that can get to the heart of the business model, even before brand frameworks.
Now, Mcann's demand chain IS bobbins, that's as generic as they come.
I guess what I'm saying is that models and stuff have a place, some do exist as 'ad tweakers' but some are sort of useful, and work at the level of brand frameworks. And I'd take any agency over horrendously overpaid brand consultancies any day.
Even more contentious, what's wrong with ad tweaking anyway? I'm not sure that the quest for the big idea is always the best approach. There's plenty of great brands that do what's right for right now, and let the little stuff build up to richer picture, a little like Pointillism I guess.
Tone of voice doesn't get into briefings and strategic development enough, and it sort of should. Come to think of it, I'm all for something that helps us develop the most appropriate way in, but that wasn't the point so I'll end it here.
(can you tell I have time to kill on a train?)