If you don’t have a plan, you won’t have a brand. And yet, so many of today’s marketing departments are being overrun by “idea” people. Those staff meeting heroes who have turned their backs on objectives, opting instead to chase the mythical “silver bullet” that solves all of the brand’s problems. Except it doesn’t.
There are no shortcuts to brand building.
At best, that so-called silver bullet equates to the brand version of a “one-hit wonder.” Mr. or Ms. Idea may have won the meeting, and perhaps the esteem of the high-ranking executive making one of his or her few meeting appearances a quarter, but the brand just lost. Without strategic brand positioning you have no brand. Without brand objectives, you’ll never achieve your desired brand position. And without carefully crafted strategies, meeting those objectives and ultimately achieving #1 market share is hopeless. The urge to skip brand positioning, objectives and strategies, and instead jump straight into tactics, is a disease that is plaguing brands everywhere.
So, what’s the cure to this epidemic? It’s simple. Ask for objectives. Whenever an eager idea carrier bursts into your office with “the next big thing” on the tip of his or her tongue, stop them and say this:
“Before you start, tell me what your objectives are.”
This single question will act as your filtration system, separating the “on-brand” ideas from the dangerous “off-brand” variety. If the person can’t tell you what his or her brand objectives are, or perhaps gives you a set of objectives incompatible with the brand’s, stop them right there. Don’t even listen to the idea. Instead, remind them of your brand’s goals and ask them to ensure that their idea accomplishes one or all of those objectives and then come back.
Crisis averted…for now.