Finding Your Focus

Something Worth Thinking About

When you can simply and clearly define your difference, you can empower your organization to deliver that difference and you can condition your customers to prefer that difference. It’s more than just making them think, it’s giving them something worth thinking about. Discover how. -more-

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Step 2: Strategy

Selecting the best route to your destination

Making a difference in your audience's behavior begins with making a difference in the way they think. Whether they're a totally new prospect, an existing customer or your own employee. That's because the way we think controls the ways we act.

Selecting the Best Idea To Success

So how do you change the way someone thinks? It starts with conveying an idea that's worth thinking about. In a way that's different, credible and compelling.

See the sidebar, "Something worth thinking about", for more on creating ideas that inspire change.

For now, let's look at getting the most out of a difference-making idea once you've recognized it. Creating ways to express it memorably. Establishing reasons to believe it rationally. And developing plans to present it effectively.

That's the essence of strategy. Taking all available brand and marketplace information and distilling it into a written plan that describes the difference you want to make in terms of who is to be changed, how their thinking is to be affected and what motivation is to be employed to achieve it.

This document provides a framework for discussion. A focal point for creativity and coordination. And it establishes the criteria to judge both ideas and outcomes.

I employ different levels of strategic thinking to address the different degrees of planning required to accomplish assignments of different size and scope.

Typically this involves one of two options:

Brand Brief

This is a simple document that defines the target audience, the desired results, as well as the primary motivational message and strategy planned for a stand-alone brand communication project or limited-scope campaign.

Brand Outline

This is a concise, efficiently structured document that outlines the key marketing objectives, considerations, strategies, tactics, timetables and budgets for broader brand communications and expansion efforts.

For large multi-national brands and organizations, the scope of work almost always demands a much more formal process:

Brand Plan

This is a document that defines a complete brand communications program including thorough background information, detailed plans to integrate materials, actions, messages, timing and costs, as well as a measurable criteria to monitor results.

From individual projects to the combined impact of entire programs, strategic thinking is the most effective way to focus attention, build consensus and coordinate the actions of everyone involved in creating a successful difference in your brand communication and audience behavior.