Being a brand and marketing planner is exciting because in order to be good you need to be a futurist. I often rail against rearview mirror planners who only look to the past to develop product and brand strategies. Certainly you need to understand the past to formulate hypotheses about the future, but watching film of swimming and understanding its mechanics is not like jumping into the water for the first time. You may feel better prepared but it is still scary.
So why is brand planning fun? Because predicting the future, though hairy, can be lucrative and change the marketing world. Steve Jobs comes to mind.
Here’s an exercise in predicting the future: Car dealerships across the U.S. are closing. Many Ford dealers have shuttered their doors and the wave of Chrysler and GM closings is almost upon us. In 12 months time drive down the highway in your town, where all the fast food restaurants are, and you’ll see abandoned care dealerships aplenty. The economy is awful, but should be showing signs of life by then. What business or business category will move into those fallow real estate sites? If you had Zuckerberg money, what would you build? Peace!