Problem Vs. Insight.


So, many brand planners will tell you to start out looking for the main business or brand problem as you begin your planning efforts. It’s a great place to start. Brand planning savant Mark Pollard of Sweathead is a big advocate of identifying the problem. And it’s hard to argue with Mark. But another approach is to simply mine business, brand and behavioral insights in a more free-form way. The issue is, most brands seek help when there is a business problem. Conundrum much? 

For me the latter approach wins out. Ever the optimist, I like to think the brand strategy needn’t be built on a problem. Better to seek an opportunity. A positive. It can open more doors. Reading the faces of consumers is always more fun when they are juiced and smiling than when harangued and frowny (afrown is not a word?). Also, riffing and pursuing the positive is a way to extend the interview, maybe make it even more creative. We aren’t psychiatrists after all.

Any good listener knows people will go to complaint land. That’s okay. Let them. But if there’s an opportunity to go all Pollyanna, take it and fly.