When brand planning I like to see the product and brand strategy in historical perspective. It’s what I strive for. Big thinking requires looking at problems not of the moment, but from a higher, longer-term perspective. Marketers are paid to ring the cash register. Paid to transact business. Brand planners are paid to position products and services long term. Seeing what Al Reis calls the “position” requires viewing a product not up close but from afar. So far, you may have to squint to see it. What is visible from afar is most visible.
This thinking is often what creates tension in a presentation of brand strategy to a CEO. S/he thinks of brand strategy as a tactic done once every few years prior to a new ad campaign exploratory. The tension comes from being asked to look at a brand long term, yet with a tightened focus. CEOs are great with stretch goals, but not with stretch strategies. They find them confining. Stretch strategies are only evident when looking long term.
If you were to ask Tim Cook to see his brand through a historical lens, he could do it easily. Ask the CEO of HTC and you’d get the dog’s “ball behind the back look.”
I can think of only one brand strategy I’ve worked on that has not lasted the test of time. The rest were built to last. See history me droogies.
PS. An example: Regardless of where you stand on president Obama now, his presidency viewed from a historical perspective – policy wise – will be viewed as momentous.