Once upon a time I wrote this post about finding a strategy and it ended up being some sort of greatest hit, in its own modest little way. It was part of an undertaking to provide access to some basics and processes. I thought it was important then and I still do.
It's all well and good if you have a planning director and stuff, that's not always the case. Plenty of people use blogs and stuff to help them get an idea of what life is like as a planner, and it's not all blogging and coffee. Most of it isn't existential thinking, it's rigour and process (or it should be).
But that side of this blog has tailed off somewhat in favour of post about tea, swimming and babies. Time to go back to it.
I looked at that strategy post and I still like it, but it doesn't give you enough of a process, or make the distinction between brand planning and communications/campaign planning. I can imagine someone reading that, getting a little excited about their next project and realising they haven't a clue where to start.
So this post focuses on communications/campaign planning. We're going to go through a process step by step. It's not the only way, but it's the most common. If you strip away the brilliant wrapping on some of the stuff we all admire, this is what planners will have gone through to get there. So we'll pepper this with examples.
So yes, this is what most planners spend most of their time doing (apart from pointless workshops but that's another post). In my view, they want to change brands and their architecture too often, when there's no need.
Put simply, if there's no brand ideain place or guide to how the brand behaves, what it stands for etc, you need to create one. This won't happen very often, and will be covered in another post. You may find when you're doing you're comms planning that actually, there is a big problem with how the brand is positioned. Rare, but it does happen. If that's the case, you need to look at the brand.
But mostly, you're interpreting the core brand idea, or 'smudge' in my book in a new way that will help the client achieve their objectives.Like these two examples....
Pepsi has always been about young people and youthful energy. The latest incarnation of that is a way to get them engaged with the brand - actually doing stuff with it rather than old style messaging. Their new interpretation is based around the observation that every generation wants to change the world and reacts against what has gone before. Which became 'refresh everything' - encouraging small personal acts every day to create a bottom up movement.Pepsi is too big to much besides 'brand involvement' stuff, but the every new idea is a new expression of youthful energy - that doesn't change. Just as Levis is always anti-establishment and youthful rebellion.
Sainsburys has always been a quality food hero. Try something New Idea was the latest expression of that, built ona rock hard objective to get existing customers to spend £1 pound extra with every visit, in order to add £1 billion of revenue over a set period of time. The brand didn't change, what to do with it just moved in to help the business do what it needed to do...including galvanising staff instore.
True brand architecture rarely changes, it's just that sometime you're looking for a long term communications idea to carry lots of smaller ideas.
Does that makes sense?
Actually, this is a post in itself, so more tomorrow. Into the process