For the last week or so I’ve been interviewing dieticians. They are a fascinating lot.  One of the questions I just decided to add is “Are there any disappointments in your practice area you can share?”  If I hear silence, um or no, I’ll prod “How about, have you a wish list for your business or your patients?”  

These conceptual questions draw out emotional responses, personal responses.

So, I decided to ask myself the same question and the answer might be instructive to tyro planners. My disappointments relate to not selling my brand strategies hard enough. Or well enough.  There are been a number of brand strategies (one claim, three support planks) I’ve sold I know to be powerful, business-winning organizing principles. Powerful enough to redistribute market wealth significantly — but I’ve either let marketing clients, agency creative or C-levels get in the way.  When someone is trying to get a website created or a campaign out the door, they don’t want to spend too much time on its underpinnings. That’s the mistake. That’s my mistake. If you have a solution that will change the brand for the better, don’t let go. Don’t be deterred.

Henning Mankell’s character Kurt Wallander has a father who paints.  He only paints one picture – a landscape. He does it in two flavors: with and without a grouse. That’s focus. That’s a plan. Is he crazy?  Does he see a different painting every time he puts oil to canvas?

A brand plan is not a limiting document, it’s a rich strategy consumers can remember… and consumers can foretell. Peace!