Brand Planning

By Tom Dougherty

10 July 2014

 Brand planning to grow market share

brand planningIt’s amazing how much of today’s business news is based on serendipity and not brand planning. If the good news is based on someone else’s bad news, it ought to be a clarion call that something is very wrong with corporate strategic planning.

Just such an event happened when the news of the day was the increased sales of GM and Ford, with experts in the field attributing the increases as a result of all the turbulence surrounding Toyota and its recall problems.

We can’t help but think back to a recording of a 30s radio show starring the humorist Will Rogers. He was poking fun at the Roosevelt administration as it tried everything it could to pull the nation out of the Great Depression.

A plan to end all brand planning

Will was making fun of the government’s propensity to plan. Apparently, the government had just recommended an inheritance tax as a means to raise government revenue. Will could not help himself and he said:

brand planning“No one has more plans than government. Boy, they have plans to make plans. Now the government has come up with a plan to raise more money.

And I have no problem with that. But they have this new plan to put in place a new inheritance tax.

Now that is just fine and dandy but they have even said how much money this new tax will raise in revenue every year. Now THAT is planning, by God.

You know, they said that this new tax will bring in x amount of money next year and such and such. So, the government plan is that they must know who is going to die. Boy that is planning!

Now let’s say that next year, for example, the government has planned that J.P. Morgan is scheduled to die and he just plumb refuses? You know old men can be contrary? Especially rich old men.”

We look at this story by Will and we are all struck by the silliness of it all.

But it never ceases to amaze me how many corporations, even global companies, have plans that amount to the same lunacy.

It is as if the best brand planning is for the competitors to stumble. That is no plan to steal market share. It is simply a plan to do nothing and hope for the best.

Brand planning. Saving your way to profitability?

Aside from cutting costs, closing factories, declaring bankruptcy and defaulting on debt, what plan have US automakers branding strategists put into place to regain share and sell more cars (see our blog on automakers and the Toyota Brand recall)?

brand planningThere is no doubt that there are inherent profitability issues in union contracts. But what changes have they fundamentally made? What changes to adapt their brands to the wants and future needs of the markets? The markets they plan to exploit?

It is the same story the tobacco companies created when their growth plans become the untapped market of smokers in China.

It is in fact, no plan at all.

Stealing market share and brand planning to compete in the global economy is a lot more than a new marketing slogan and advertising campaign. The problem for most companies is they confuse a brand strategy with a communications plan.

Brand planning. How does a global brand win?

When developing a brand planning strategy, everything is on the table.

Operations, structure, sourcing, packaging, product, sales model, consumer insights, marketing, and distribution. Everything.

If it is to succeed, a company must be willing to slay every sacred cow. In the quest to better align itself with the needs of the target audience, every avenue must be explored.

Sometimes, we might confuse the science of growing market share. Especially when we talk about changing customer behavior.

it sounds like we embark on a quest to find the holy grail at first glance. Of getting potential customers to change their behavior and choose your brand.

It might sound as if all of the change comes from “out there.”

When, in fact, the most substantial change in brand planning has to happen right at home. In your own corporate backyard.

You need to change. Simple as that.

brand planningSure, prospects must change their mind and choose you. But the responsibility to secure that choice falls squarely on you and your brand planning.

Stealing Share uncovers preceptive (belief systems). (See an explanation of the preceptive model here.) We’re looking for the emotional intensity in the target audience. But these discoveries always come with a need to internally change.

After all, unless it is simply smoke and mirrors, your service and product needs to authentically reflect those precepts. And, to make that real, the changes must become real too. (Read about the power of precepts here.)

Will Rogers would be proud of this plan. Because it is based on action and is real.

After all, Will once said, “Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth.”

Amen to that.