Philosophical Investigations of Strategic Planning

{With apologies to Wittgenstein}

1. Philosophy informs process. A philosophy is a mental model for solving problems.

2. Process informs products. A process is a series of steps taken to achieve a goal.

3. Products inspire, sell and evaluate creative solutions. Products are strategic artifacts that facilitate the process.

4. Planning is an approach {to brand communication} that informs creative solutions with rigor to maximize efficacy.

5. Planning consists of research, synthesis, abstraction, imagination and articulation.

Genius Steals: Double Diamond

6. Strategic tools illustrate abstractions to organize and explain thinking succinctly.

7. Distilling information into recommendations necessitates the imposition of structure on to the complexity of human and corporate behavior.

8. This means creating boundaries [b] and vectors [v] to establish relative co-ordinates and thus model relationships [r],

9. Between: companies & competitors; brands and consumers; causes and effects —

10. In order to explore opportunities.

“The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have known since long.” 
Ludwig Wittgenstein

11. Planning creates useful and persuasive abstractions and articulations that explore & express relationships.

12. Strategic tools may be understood in this way; b x v = r.

13. Insights and propositions are written articulations that express relationships.

14. Planning defines boundaries for entities [company, brand, persona] sets [competitive set, target audience] and abstractions [consumer needs, brand values].

15. Planning defines vectors [time, amount, money, conservatism, modernity, motivation, ease] and boundary co-ordinates [b {x,y}] to model relationships.

Genius Steals: The Vectors

16. Boundaries create Venn Diagrams to demonstrate areas of overlap or friction.

17. The intersection of the Venn [the vesica piscis] is the relationship [r].

18. The relationship [r] illuminates shared characteristics

19. Or exposes opportunities.

20. The intersection is where the insight and inspiration are.

The middle bit isn’t a Venngina but a “vesica piscis.” So, um, there you go.

21. Boundaries + vectors + relative co-ordinates create Matrices.

22. A matrix is a strategic tool that creates a Map [brand positioning matrix, BCG matrix].

23. Each quadrant explores a segment or typology based on the vectors.

24. Gaps in the map expose uncolonized strategic opportunities [brand position, market opportunity, source of volume, share of voice].

25. Any vector may be applied to a matrix for exploration.

Genius Steals: The Approval Matrix

26. Boundaries + vectors model cause and effects relationships.

27. Consumer journeys map the decisions, drivers and barriers of a customer as they navigate a category to buy a product / service.

28. The map highlights influences and opportunities.

29. Ecosystems map customer interactions with brands across touchpoints [like media, services, retail, product].

30. A marketing funnel is not a consumer journey; it is a measurement framework.

Genius Steals: The Marketing Funnel

31. Planning defines problems in ways that allows for them to be solved [and sold] creatively.

32. Often using the Kipling Method: 5Ws [Who, When, Where, Why, What] and 1H [How].

33. In order to create strong problem statements that articulate the relationship between the situation and the ambition,

34. Remember to challenge hidden assumptions and/or rephrase the problem,

35. In ways that do not suggest a solution.

Strong problem statements are relationships between the situation and the ambition

36. The philosophy of planning: communications + insight [I] = more effective.

37. The primary source of insight is consumer understanding: behavior, perceptions, beliefs, etc.

37. Because the default communication model is AIDA: Attention-Interest-Decision-Action [Notice-Think-Feel-Do].

38. This creates the stages of the traditional measurement funnel.

40. Other models exist. [All models are wrong, some are useful.]

AIDA

41. Propositions are articulations that express brand or communication strategy.

42. Classic brand propositions are promise-claims that take the form FOR {target audience / desire or need} ONLY {Unique Selling Proposition} BECAUSE {reasons to believe].

43. Brand propositions are often derived from an escalating hierarchy: product-feature-benefits-emotions.

44. Big Ideas are propositions for campaigns. [The promise remains inherent but the function is creative inspiration.]

45. Propositions are crafted from insights [I].

Proposition Templates

46. Insights [I] are the foundations for all planning because

47. Planning must have a substantiated [rigorous] point of view.

48. Insights must be non-obvious [interesting] and generative [have implications].

49. Insights can come from anywhere — not just human beliefs and behavior.

50. Insight is the “the understanding of a specific cause and effect within a specific context.” [Wikipedia]

“Good insights are like refrigerators because when you look into it, a light comes on” | Jeremy Bullmore

51. The purpose of planning is to increase the efficacy of communications {or activities},

52. Meaning planning is inherently predictive.

53. Insights are non-obvious relationships that make predictions: rules.

54. e.g. Because “The Pen is Mightier than The Sword”

55. Therefore: writing better briefs will have more impact than kicking creatives.

Beyond Boring Briefs

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