Fertile or Fallow.

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Templates are the savior and bane of the brand planner; and when I say brand planner I mean me. We are all different. Ish. I have a few Word files I go to time after time, which help me amass discovery information and insights.  What’s The Idea? readers know I immerse myself in customer care-abouts and brand good-ats during discovery. And from this information I boil down and cull. Then, using other templates, primarily briefs, I organize the info into a brand value template called a claim and proof array.

But not all questionnaires work across all categories. For instance, when interviewing world-class security hackers – Are there other kinds of hackers? – I need to learn their language. It’s a culture thing. Or when talking to morbidly obese people it’s imperative I understand their life, trauma and culture. Can’t get there with a templated set of Qs. So you create a new set. Tabula Rasa. Ish.

I wrote recently of some short cuts used to get to “claim and proof” without my normal templated outputs. This approach can be dangerous but sometimes budget requires we live dangerously. That said, going off-piste or off-template can be exhilarating.   

This ability to adapt to new situations, including short-cutting the process, is the art of brand planning. The resulting are sometimes fertile, sometimes fallow. Good planners know the difference.

Peace.