How to plan your brand – 7 top tips

The preppers guide to your brand survival… 7 tips to for planning your brand!

During the failed apocalypse* of 21 December, 2012, being the reality-TV-aholic that I am, I watched numerous shows about Preppers. Basically, they are people who are planning for the end of the world, whichever way it may happen. I would become a tad bit too paranoid if I indulged my full inner-prepper-ness, but what I did take from it was the invaluable lesson about preparation – preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.

So, we sat down and created a guide to planning your brand resources, should the world not end, at least your brand will be sorted!

1. Decide what you want:

Have a clear, defined picture of what you want to achieve. Without a destination in mind, your marketing will go around in circles. Create a list of achievables (eg. Improved stakeholder communication; develop a marketing portal library; update corporate identity) so you’ll have a checklist as the year goes on. Split it into 4 quarters and make sure to revisit it at least once a month to make sure you are on track.

2. Brand Planning Calendar:

In your calendar, outline all the marketing activities which you know will happen, and structure time in between for the unforeseen events which crop up. You’ll generally know which events/exhibitions are in which month; when the Annual Report is due and when you need to send out year end diaries/calendars. Remember to allow enough time for 3rd party suppliers (eg. Copywriters, design, printing etc) and not to leave it till the last minute! Just following this tip alone will reduce alcohol consumption by a third!

3. Resources:

Make sure you have the resources on hand to achieve your goals. If you’ve decided to send out a newsletter emailer twice a month do you have the manpower to handle it? Do you have someone to write articles, oversee the design and ensure that the message is sent out? Or is it more realistic to commit to a bi monthly newsletter? Make sure your goals are attainable and that you have adequate resources whether they be manpower or time to follow through with what we decide and say.

4. Devise an action plan and bring in the troops:

Once you know what you want to achieve, decide what route to follow and get the right people involved – make sure they all understand their roles and are motivated and equipped to get going. One of the problems we often encounter are teams which aren’t communicating – the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, and they don’t care. By having regular updates with your team members (internal colleagues or external third party suppliers) you’ll keep everyone on the track and on the same page, have collective success and thrive as a team.

5. Keep the cupboards stocked:

As sometimes things don’t go according to plan, make sure you have enough of your collateral on hand for emergencies. When your pack of brochures/business cards/folders etc is running low, put in a re-order and allow for at least 2 to 3 weeks printing time to avoid stress. We find a simple fail-safe route works best – put in a sheet of paper saying “re-order 300 brochures”, placed ¾ of the way through your pack of brochures – that way no one can say they forgot and the new brochures will be ready for your sales force! This ties into tip # 2 – if you need to send out comms, have them done ahead of time, so if you fall sick or are unable to come into work during that time, the process can continue without you.

6. Commit

Commit to your plan and don’t leave it behind. Revisit it frequently and revise where necessary. Brand plans are organic so remember to re-evaluate what you need at least bi-monthly and restructure accordingly. By committing to your goals you’ll be able to measure your growth during they year.

7. Enjoy yourself

Marketing and branding are part of the creative process – enjoy what you do and it’ll show in your output! Plus your designers will love working with you and may be reduced to squabbles over who gets to work with you, which adds to your mojo!


* That was the Worst. Apocalypse. Ever

** Image courtesy of the free app “Doomsday Preppers: The Game”. I’m not even going there, my paranoia will hit new levels…