Not sure how to get the ball rolling in the brand planning process? We’ve listed four steps below that will help you get started:
First and foremost, determine who your key internal stakeholders and influencers are. Make sure you understand their points of view on the brand.
It’s important to get the perspective of both the front-line managers of the brand and of the executive leaders who directly influence the brand: What do they believe are key strengths, differentiators, weaknesses, and challenges that need to be considered throughout the brand planning process? What are their visions for the brand? For the organization?
Whether you gather the input formally or informally, the people inside your company will provide valuable perspective on the current state of the brand. That perspective will help you formulate the questions you should be asking and thinking about throughout the brand planning process.
2. Align with brand leadership on strategic objectives and hypotheses for the brand.
Step one will help you understand the lay of the land inside your organization. Next, make sure the core brand decision making group is aligned on the strategic objectives of the brand planning process. Engage them in dialogue regarding hypotheses to explore. Alignment on both topics will help to provide clear direction as you design and implement the brand planning process.
3. Learn what you can about the market and consumers from existing resources.
Before you dive into a large investment in primary research, do secondary research. This type of research includes:
- Leveraging all available data sources to learn as much as you can about the current and expected future state of the category and your target audience.
- Identifying key category trends based on industry publications, syndicated reports, and what other experts have to say.
- Conducting a thorough assessment of key competitors Reading up on the latest consumer trends.
- Mining customer data for behavioral insights, if you have the internal resources.
Of course, the best way to gain a deeper understanding of your consumers or customers is to listen to what they have to say. Use social listening tools if you can to understand the conversation around your brand and category. Use formal and informal monitoring methods to better understand why consumers are choosing the brand.
If possible, talk to your non-customers as well to understand why they aren’t choosing the brand. If you’re not able to communicate directly with your customers, tap into the front-line employees who have regular contact with customers for additional insights.
4. Determine what you know and what you still need to find out.
Now that you’ve immersed yourself in all the information available from existing resources, it’s time to audit what you know and, more importantly, what you don’t know. What knowledge gaps exist? What insights are needed to validate or invalidate existing hypotheses? What new hypotheses emerged based on your review of available resources that should be considered?
Once you’ve assessed the knowledge gaps, you can determine if additional primary research is necessary to inform your brand strategy. You’ll be well equipped to consult internal or external partners to determine the right methodologies for closing the gaps and well on your way to mapping out the rest of your brand planning process.
For more on BRAND PLANNING & STRATEGY, download our guide: