There are two kinds of marketing strategy people: brand planners and strategists. Brand planners create a brand architecture comprising brand strategy and support planks that organize the 4 Ps of marketing. Once that architecture or band plan is done, so are the brand planners. Then it is up to the brand managers to toe the line – to make sure all things marketing align with the plan. If you want to keep the brand planner around to handle that function, you can, but the key is sharing the plan with all interested managing parties. You rarely find brand planners in marketing jobs, they tend to work at agencies or consultancies. Frequently they’re involved in new business.
Strategists have the brand planner bone, but tend to spend their days improving the focus or the quality of specific tactical work. Good strategists mine market insights, behavioral insights, even product insights and present them, usually in deck form, to the makers of things – the creative teams. Say you are strategist at Wieden and Kennedy in NY working on ESPN — right now you might be getting ready for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. What are you doing? Writing creative briefs. By the end of the week you may need two briefs for radio, one for TV and two for an in-arena mobile programs. The paper you make (the strategy) will be judged by the quality of the creative ideas generated. And with good creative people to work with it’s a fun, nice living.
Brand planners take their orders from the brand. The brand is their master. Strategists often view the creative product as master. It’s why strategists will allow good work through when it is off plan. Because it is good work. And it will get noticed, and talked about, and may even spike sales.
It is this dual marketing planning reality that drives Naked Communications. Naked is a brand planning organization. As the marketing business gets more exciting, granular and complicated, the need for more Nakeds will emerge. Bright Sun in the 90s understood this…they were first. Peace.