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Do you have a role in brand, communications, customer experience, marketing or product?

Do you see your organization’s brand as a strategic asset that crosses departmental and functional boundaries?

Are you interested in improving brand outcomes or learning from how other organizations are bringing their brands to life?

If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, this study is for you!

What’s This Research All About?

Last year I wrote a quick overview of the idea that sparked this study:

Business leaders generally acknowledge the idea that brand crosses organizational boundaries. However, they are then often very ad-hoc about how they manage its impact across functions, or manage the impact of functions on the brand itself.

I am interested in exploring three questions:

  1. Are specific ways of aligning organizations around their brand better than others?
  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of specific approaches? …

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The following is the first in a series of posts I plan on writing as I pursue my major research project (MRP) at OCAD University, as part of the completion of my Master’s of Design, Strategic Foresight & Innovation.

As I write this, I’m in an early, exploratory part of the proposal phase, where my goal is to move toward a detailed project/research plan.

With the MRP, I’m interested in advancing a perspective about what I’m (for now, at least) referring to as “brand alignment”.

More specifically, I’d like to develop a discipline-agnostic framework or methodology. One which helps organizations find better ways of realizing desired benefits and experiences for customers, employees and society. And, one which addresses common misalignments between organizational purpose, and the execution of brand, experience, and service visions.

Reposted, and modified from my original post on

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It seems like almost every time I get together with fellow planners someone asks me what it’s like to work as one within a PR agency. And rightly so. It’s a relatively new function within the world of PR, which has spent the last several years moving away from a model where everyone was expected to do everything.

In many ways the role is the exact same: Nobody can succinctly articulate what it is you do, but everyone knows the work is better when a planner is involved.

At the same time, it’s uniquely different, because the work is far more varied than it tends to be at an advertising agency. As a result, the functional role that a planner will play covers a lot more ground. Yes — we still do all the traditional ‘planner things’ like writing briefs, developing brand positioning, and leading qualitative research. But, we also contribute to a highly variable “product” which spans numerous disciplines. As a result, planners working in PR agencies are often forced to “reach backwards” for fundamental strategic planning skills and then figure out how to apply them against mandates they might not be accustomed to. …


David Akermanis

Strategy Consultant. Researcher. Design-thinker.

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