The few companies reporting any positive earnings these days are companies that looked ahead and made radical changes months ago. In a nutshell, they “simplified.” Those making radical changes now are a couple of quarters too late and will benefit with rest of the late majority.
As a brand planner who listens to marketers talk about brand value I am often amazed by the lack of focus. Many businesses have built such complexity into their products and services that they can’t explain what they sell without an org chart and sprawling 300 word mission statement. (I once sat in a planning meeting with the nation’s largest home care company, and heard the CEO ask around the table of his senior team “What business do you think we’re in?”)
There are two tools I use when developing marketing plans and brand plans. One – called 24 Questions — follows the money. Once shared with a billion dollar outsourcing division of Lucent Technologies, the 24 Questions was distributed to teams around the country only to return a month later in the form of 3 big-ass binders. (Complex enough?) The other planning tool delves into the brand and it’s standing with three constituents: company management, employees and customers. After all of this data is collected from both these documents it is boiled down. (This is where the brain comes in.) What is revealed from the boil down process is, actually, pretty amazing: A simple but strategic selling idea. It comes from the core. It’s not overdrawn. It is understandable. What makes the idea so radical is that it is an idea. Peace.