Another Brand Planning Hack.


When I do brand planning for a new client I spend a lot of time interviewing people. Company chiefs, salespeople, subject matter experts, influencers, buyers and sellers. But I am not always blessed with assignments offering that budgetary or time luxury. So I have to hack.

For one of the largest banks in the U.S., working on a content strategy for its corporate website, I wasn’t asked to develop brand strategy. But I can’t do content strategy without brand strategy so I hacked.

My hack was to print out 50 pieces of original content from the existing website, cut them into little squares inclusing attendant pictures, and tape them randomly to an oversized white board. The content included only deeds, proof and evidence, not claims or fluff copy.

The client and team were then to be tasked with doing a sort. That is, to move the content snapshots around the board and put them into clusters or like patterns. Any outlier ideas, one-offs, were to be placed on a different part of the board.

The end-game was to identify clusters, evaluate and prioritize them. Ideally for further research.  This clustering, with active hands and minds, is an interesting exercise. It’s also a short cut to see if a company is as concerned with “customer care-abouts” as they are with “brand good-ats.”