Be afraid, be very afraid.



Sometimes the toughest brand planning assignments are the ones that offer levels of complexity that initially stagger you.  Understanding the Medicare playbook, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a financial prospectus come to mind.  It’s okay to be scared.  Lack of order is not how the brain works.  What planners try to do is understand and map category learning, so that they can make decisions about what is important. Only then can they begin to manipulate those “important” insights and findings into brand design. Into a brand plan.

As a tyro in the business, before I understood, I’d often posit.  For instance I might ask a healthcare insurance company a property and casualty insurance company question. They were an insurance company, after all.  McFail! I wasn’t afraid enough to listen.

When learning about a business as a brand planner, you need to learn…not teach. This is true whether you are talking to the CEO or a consumer.  Only after a suitable amount of learning time from your teacher (CEO or consumer) will they allow you out of learning mode. Only then will they allow you to ask important questions.  At this stage the questions still must be of the “grasshopper” (Mr. Miyagi) variety. This is how rapport builds. Be afraid. You are coaxing here. CEOs and consumer won’t open up unless they are allowed to teach. Thanks for listening.  Peace!