I attended Google Firestarters last night in NYC (thanks Ben Malbon), the topic of which was “constraints” and how they can fuel business and marketing improvements. Speakers included Adam Morgan (Eat Big Fish) and Mark Barden (ex-Guinness) co-authors of the smart new book A Beautiful Constraint. In the morning I spoke at a great small business panel sponsored by Teacher Federal Credit Union on the topic of “Return on Strategy.” One of my business constraints is that I’m a self-taught brand planner. Ada Alpert and other brand planning recruiters won’t touch me because I don’t come out of a traditional brand planning shop. I’ve also not been schooled by a member of the British Mafia. To overcome this constraint I’ve had to study hard from afar, creating my own syllabus and curriculum.
Return on Strategy is one of my self-taught tools. Here’s how it works: Measure your brand strategy (not tactics) and see if adherence puts more money in the bank. Period.
An example: Years ago, AT&T Business Communications Services knew if consumers 1. felt price was within 10% of its closest competitor, 2. believed they had a more reliable network and 3. provided innovative tools to help businesses grow, market share would grow. These became the 3 legs of the strategy. Perception of these things is what we measured through tracking research. So long as we maintained advantage in all three areas AT&T added customers. If we slipped in one area, we started losing customers. Gotta love science.
For my clients the search is all about finding the three key business-building strategies that help grow business. I call them proof planks. When I find the planks I help clients build and manage them. I also make sure they measure adherence and tie it to business gains. You have now attended What’s the Idea? 101. Peace.