Without goals, there’s no way to measure progress. And yet, so many of today’s marketing departments are being overrun by “idea people.” Those staff meeting heroes who’ve turned their backs on long-term objectives, opting instead to chase the mythical “silver bullet” concept that solves all of the brand’s problems in one fell swoop. It doesn’t work that way. There are no shortcuts to brand development.
At best, that so-called antidote equates to the marketing version of a “one-hit wonder.” Mr. or Ms. Idea may have won the meeting, and perhaps the esteem of the high-ranking executive in the room, but the brand just lost. Without company-wide targets to measure against, ideas are nothing more than guesses.
So, what’s the solution? Discipline. Don’t listen to an idea until you hear an objective. Whenever an eager thought carrier bursts into your office with “the next big thing” on the tip of his or her tongue, stop them and ask:
“What are your objectives?”
That question will act as a filter, allowing “on-brand” ideas to pass through, while eliminating the dangerous “off-brand” variety. If the person can’t tell you what his or her intentions are, or perhaps offers an agenda incompatible with the company’s direction, stop them right there. Don’t even listen to the thought. Instead, remind them of your goals and ask that they ensure their concept accomplishes one or all of those aims before presenting again. Adding objectives to the planning process will keep both the team and brand on track.