It’s the last quarter of the year, and if you haven’t done your planning for 2010, I’ve got two things to say to you: 1) you’re late (you undoubtedly know that), and 2) you’re not alone.

But whether you’re in the middle of developing your 2010 plans, directing planning input from multiple sources, or reviewing plans for clarity and consistency, this blog’s for you.

Working with many different clients over the years, I have worked with many who have been given responsibility for planning who are not themselves trained strategic planners. This means that many of them have a limited understanding of the basics of strategic planning. Oh, they know their stuff and are often brilliant marketers, but some come from the technical side, some come from sales, some from communications – you get the picture. I will see the words “Objective”, “Goal”, “Strategy”, and “Tactic” used interchangeably. A stated “Mission” will have the hallmarks of “Vision”; a “Threat” is labeled a “Weakness”, etc. This makes me crazy, as these are all very different things, and they have very different meanings and functions.

In response I have prepared a primer of sorts that covers the basics of strategic planning terms and explanations for the many who are not trained strategic planners. I share its essence here, knowing that some of you will find this a tad didactic and below your level of operation. I would suggest that you can view this as a refresher. Overall I have the belief and fervent hope that others will certainly benefit from it.


Continue Reading Getting Familiar With the Basics: A Planning Primer

It’s a dilemma: the economy is in the toilet, panic sets in, and long–range planning gives way to short-term thinking. It’s completely rational and logical, of course, and that just makes it worse. Now managers who should really know better are merely looking to the end of the quarter – or next quarter at best – and holding their breath instead of keeping their eyes on the big picture. Truth is no one upstairs wants them to look at the big picture right now – they just want company in their crowded Chicken Little suites.

Despite the vagaries of economic conditions new brands will always require sturdy foundations of rigorous, disciplined construction, and that takes time and money. To develop and launch a healthy, connective and authentic brand considerable groundwork must be done in advance; what any branding expert worth their salt considers due diligence. I call it Forebranding™ – all the work that is done before that brand’s identity is manifested in visual and verbal identity.

A brand can be dumped into the marketplace with a casually developed visual and verbal identity wrapped around it. But if that identity isn’t based upon a relevant, authentic personality and truly reflective of the corporate culture behind it, consumers will ultimately smell a phony and not connect or remain connected.

WHY FOCUS ON CULTURE?


Continue Reading FOREBRANDING‚Ñ¢: The Role of Internal Congruence and Culture