I had an exploratory meeting with a smart brand planner yesterday morning on Bond Street. Quite an epi (epipen, epicenter) neighborhood. I want to be her when I grow up/down. We talked about brands and freelance, the Sioux, NYC and Mari Sandoz. I suggested I need to love a brand before really doing it planning justice. Smitten is good, but it’s not love. My planner friend mentioned agencies that rely on freelance planners often don’t want them to have face time with clients. Ouch, but understandable. Sure one can read research, troll (the fishing troll) the web, talk to editors, study consumers and arrive at stimulating insights. But from these interactions and insights can love grow? Smitten can grow. Idea lust can grow. Love however takes time.
So here’s a problem. Freelance planners doing project work are actually killing in today’s marketplace. At least the good ones are. (Mostly thanks to didge.) They know what questions to ask, whose pulse to take and their bullshit meters are nicely calibrated. Plus they have great ears. The work they generate is very good. But unless, this project work is grounded in a tight, instructive brand brief it is temporal and tactical. This is smitten work. Think building rooms, not homes.
I never read Kevin Roberts Lovemarks, but maybe I should. Nah. Finding love is much more fun than reading about it. Puh-eace!