Brand planning is like painting. In fine arts painting there are lots of strokes, lots of paints, colors, brush techniques, time and effort. Repeat. When the canvas is filled (or not) the painting is done. Granted with painting, art is in the eye of the beholder and in brand planning strategy art is in the eye of the strategist — but the layers and layers of effort are not dissimilar.
In brand planning there are interviews, research (primary and secondary), field work and consumer observations. Also lots of stakeholder interviews, so as to get the motivations of the brand people right. All inputs are considered for development of the brand strategy. A lot of strokes. But I’ve found more often than not, that one particular story from all the interviews sticks out. The touchstone story. It’s one example that speaks most loudly about the product or experience and drowns out all the others. For me, this one story is the fulcrum of brand strategy development. The most valuable vein of ore. Metaphorically, it’s when the finished painting comes into focus.
As you are doing brand discovery, seek out that one story. Keep hunting until you find it. It will feed the fine art that is brand planning.