Diplomacy in Brand Planning.



Branding is not life or death. Unless you are talking about the life and death of products.

Branding is about developing a claim and proof array that brand managers use to organize product, experience, deeds and messaging. Once a brand plan is designed, brand managers are paid to manage adherence. Here’s the big tip: There is no room for diplomacy in brand planning. Diplomacy may be great when dealing with the Russians over Ukraine, but there is no room to “make everybody half happy through compromise” in branding. You are either putting deposits in the brand bank or you are making withdrawals (AT&T’s Marilyn Laurie coined this wonderful metaphor).

Brand managers are going to have to say “no” a lot as they manage their brands. And that’s a good thing. People are going to crawl out of the wood pile with requests for projects to be funded, with promotional ideas, PR events and more – many of which will be nobly intended. But if they’re not “on plan,” not making a deposit in the brand bank, they are a disservice to brand development. Even if a lost kitty farm.

If you are a brand manager and you don’t know how to say “no” or why to say “yes,” it is likely you don’t have a brand plan. If you do have a brand plan but the rest of the company can’t articulate it and use it to make daily decisions in their respective jobs, shame on you as well. Peace.