Five challenging questions to kickstart your Brand Plan

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A brand plan is an opportunity to make decisions on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources. A smart brand plan has a vision, analysis, key issues, strategies and execution plans. Focus on the smartest ideas that will drive the highest return. Think of the plan as a decision-making tool to align your team. Make the best financial investment choices and the best decisions on how to deploy your people. The plan should then align and focus everyone who works on the brand, including the leader who writes the plan. 

When you start your brand plan, the worst thing you can do is open up a PowerPoint document and begin to type away on a blank page. You will get writer’s block, or you will assemble a complete mess. Remember back to when you wrote a term paper in college. The essay was always easier to write and a much better end product when you took the time to write out a rough draft outline before you started the final document.

Annual Plan on a Page

The annual brand plan has three distinct sections: analysis, issues and strategies, and execution plans.

  • The analysis section lays out the summary from the deep-dive business review with an overview of the top three points, which envelop what is driving your brand’s growth, what is inhibiting your brand’s growth, which threats could hurt your brand and what opportunities your brand faces.  
  • The key issues and strategies section focuses on the top three issues getting in the way of achieving your vision. You should put the issues in question format. And the strategic solutions are the answers that match up to each of those questions. Set goals to measure your brand’s performance against each strategy. 
  • The execution section maps out the specific plans for each of the chosen execution areas that line up to most essential consumer touchpoints.  

I first came up with this “brand plan-on a page” format when I led a team with 15 brands. It helped me see the big picture quickly, rather than having to hunt through a big thick binder. Also, the sales team appreciated the ability to see the entire plan on one page quickly. Most salespeople also had 15 brands to manage with each of their customers. Everyone who works on the brand should receive the one-page plan. And then, keep it close by to steer their day-to-day decisions.

Five Questions worksheet

While it is easy to get writer’s block, it can be worse when you sit at your computer staring at a blank screen with the word “Vision” staring back at you.

Here are five simple questions to help you kickstart your first thoughts about your brand plan and decide on the big picture elements of your plan before fine-tuning and perfecting the writing.

  1. Where could we be?
  2. Where are we?
  3. Why are we here?
  4. How can we get there?
  5. What do we need to do?

Your written answers will start to reveal a rough draft outline of your brand vision, analysis, key issues, strategies, and some thinking on your execution and measurement, which form the entirety of your brand plan.

To start your rough outline, force yourself to write out three bullet points for each of the five simple questions. Make it challenging to narrow down your list to the top three points, as the extra effort now will help focus your mind on the most significant points.

It is very easy to get lost in the planning process. Many brand leaders will spend a few weeks writing a plan. As you solicit conflicting input from across the organization, it will add a layer of confusion to the plan you must sort through. It is easy to get lost in a mess.

I recommend you start with the five questions then keep coming back to this document a few times throughout the process to make sure you stay on track. These five questions keep you grounded and focused throughout the planning process.

For more on How to write a Brand Plan, click on this link: http://beloved-brands.com/2012/06/24/brand-plan/

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Beloved Brands.

With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.

You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.

To order the e-book version or the paperback version, click on this link: https://lnkd.in/eF-mYPe

Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.

The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.

We help brands find growth

We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.

We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.

To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching

We make Brand Leaders smarter

We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.

To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training

If you need our help, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or call me at 416 885 3911

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Graham Robertson

Graham spent 20 years in Brand Management leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, General Mills and Coke, rising up to VP Marketing. In his career, he has won numerous Advertising, Innovation and Leadership awards. Graham played a major role in helping J&J win Marketing Magazine’s prestigious “Marketer of the Year” award. Graham brings a reputation for challenging brand leaders to think differently and to be more strategically focused. Graham founded Beloved Brands in 2010, to help brands find growth and make brand leaders smarter. He leads workshops to help define your Brand Positioning, build your brand’s Big Idea, and write strategic Brand Plans that motivate and focus everyone that works on the brand. Our Beloved Brands training programs will help your team, produce exceptionally smart work work that drives stronger brand growth and profits. We cover everything a brand leader needs to know including strategic thinking, planning, positioning, execution and analytics. Our robust client roster has included the NFL Players Association, Reebok, the NBA, Acura, Shell, Miller Lite, 3M, Jack Link’s and Pfizer. His weekly brand stories have generated over 5 million views.

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