Brand Builders Part 30: Do You Have A Roadmap to Build Your Brand?
You have probably at some point traveled. Now, if you traveled way back in the day, you might have been a member of AAA and gotten a TripTik. Gosh, I loved my TripTik. It was awesome, right? So, it was a really thin little guidebook – you tell AAA where you’re traveling; I’m going from Louisiana to Rhode Island, and they would map out the entire trip for you and give it to you in this little spiral-bound book. And as you would drive off of one page, you would flip the page and continue on that page until you drove off and go to the next page. It was an awesome way to travel. Those turn-by-turn directions in the TripTik were great. Until of course, Waze and Siri and Google Maps came along, and now somebody else in my car is telling me when to turn.
What is challenging, I find, is if you want to get from one destination to another, Louisiana to California, and all you have is a compass, I would worry that I would still be heading west, but maybe not in the most direct path. I would take a wrong turn here or there. I would still be heading in the same general direction, but not necessarily on the right road. That is the difference between a compass and a map. When you have a map, you can clearly map out exactly when you should exit, what road you should be on, and when you will need to stop for gas. It’s awesome. When you have a compass, you just know the general direction.
I look at a lot of clients and the marketing that they bring to us and say, “Hey, this isn’t really working.” And I’m thinking, “Well, no, it’s not, because you’re using a compass, instead of a map.” When you build a really good strategic brand plan, it’s a map. It’s a map on steroids, because really, it’s a blueprint. It’s not just turned by turn directions, it’s layer upon layer of everything you possibly need. If you’re going to go build a building, you’re going to need the electrician to tell you all the wiring, you’re going to need a plumber to tell you all the pipes, you’re going to need an architect to figure out all the walls, you’ll need an engineer to figure out all the supports. You’ll need to get a lot of people involved with paint colors (your designer), landscaping (landscape architect), parking lots (got to have a concrete guy), the city (for permits and permissions and understanding the rules and regulations).
So, when it’s all said and done, before you have one single piece of material delivered to the site to start building, you’ve spent a lot of time putting together a very comprehensive set of blueprints, right? And yet, for marketing, you’re just using a compass. You’re just heading in this general direction, hoping it works. You may decide “Oh, wait, I want to do this tactic.” So, you have some materials delivered, you build a little something, and it doesn’t work. “Well, I want to do that tactic.” So, you have some more materials delivered, you build a little something, and it doesn’t work.
Stop using a compass. When you can use a blueprint, you’re going to have a strategic brand plan that takes into account everything that’s going on for a year. You will know your focus – whom you should be talking to. You will know your promise – why they should pick you. You will know your connection – what messages you should deliver to them. And you will know your harmony – where those messages should go, month in, month out, week in, week out. And it is built in such a way you will know if something is not working, how to pivot and change to something that is. So, throw that compass away. Start using a blueprint. Have a strategic brand plan so that you can really build a better plan.