It’s constantly growing, adapting and changing.
Do you know what the biggest misconception about strategy is? Every strategist reading this already knows the answer.
It’s that strategic planning isn’t a creative process, and that is simply a lie.
Planning is often thought of as an analytical or data-driven exercise, and, while there is an element of that to any good strategy, it’s fundamentally a creative process.
Like any creative process, it’s messy, and that’s OK. The best way through is to embrace the chaos; don’t be intimidated by it. Lean into it with what we call the 3Cs. This simple, accessible methodology can help marketers of all levels create meaningful strategies that have a real impact on their business.
Strategy is important on so many levels. It’s your roadmap, battleplan or playbook that doesn’t just guide your team to success. It defines what success is from the outset. Knowing where you want to end up and what the destination looks like are just as important as any creative vehicle that may take you there. That’s where the 3Cs can really help.
Let’s break it down:
It’s of critical importance to start with a clear purpose in mind. Ask yourself at the outset what is the problem you’re trying to solve. Not just for yourself but for your client, the client’s audience and your creative team.
Starting with an end in mind is so important. Having a direction is critical, but don’t let that direction presuppose the outcome.
You know why you’re doing what you’re doing. But let’s talk about how. You need to embrace the mess. Don’t be intimidated. Data comes in many forms, like digital tools and analog experiences, and all of these inputs provide context.
From these inputs, you craft insights that give your team and client confidence. It’s important to remember that insights alone are not a strategy. That requires…
This is not about furrowed brows and thinking really hard (though there will likely be some of that). The marketing insights you have uncovered are raw materials. A strategy is a refinement of these raw materials into something considered and actionable that is unique for your clients. Something that they can own and grow their brand, business and audience with.
The strategy inspires creative, and, as the creative is exposed to the market through testing, further insights are gained. Based on these new insights, the strategy can be further refined.
Always remember a good strategy is never done. It’s constantly growing, adapting and changing. It’s a living thing. All of this is the difference between a plan and PLANNING.
In the end, when you have written the brief, hold it against a simple set of criteria that can be a guidepost for all creative. Is it emotional, simple, distinctive, versatile and measurable? If it is all these things, it’s ready to share with your team and client.
It’s a messy process, but if you craft clarity, have confidence and concentrate your insights into an actionable strategy, you can create a plan that inspires your team and creates results for your client by making a real connection with the client’s audience.
[ source: originally published by John Roberts in https://medium.com/higher-order ]