To hit your target – aim carefully

Is that obvious? Of course it is, so when many companies don’t aim carefully from the start, it’s an amazing oversight.

When a brand is born, there’s a critical time at the beginning when the trajectory of the brand is determined. It’s like launching a spaceship or more specifically, a trip to Saturn. You can make small adjustments after the launch, but before you launch, you better be quite sure you set the proper coordinates to get you real close to where you want to end up.

Positioning. This strategic process takes work. And quite honestly, it’s something a lot of clients and agencies don’t give the proper attention – preferring to grab at the obvious and get on with the fun stuff, creative development. Then when they get down the road and find some ideas they like, they might consider changing the positioning to fit. That’s akin to thinking you can launch your spaceship and then move the heavens to reach your destination.

I’ve seen a lot of companies “miss” at this all-important opportunity to set a course for greatness. Instead, they play it safe and forever remain a “normal” brand. Hey, nothing wrong with normal, I guess, unless you’d rather be rocketing toward the far reaches of the universe and dealing with things only daring explorers get to encounter.

Simply put, you must set a daring course or risk being forgotten.

One of my previous companies was named Madman (long before the Mad Men series was conceived) and our motto was  – “normal is forgettable.” After all, being “abnormal” is really the name of the game.

And in a mad world where we are subjected to more than 3000 messages a day, succeeding amid that onslaught requires experiences that cannot easily be forgotten. They cannot be normal. They cannot be expected. They cannot be ignored.

Contrast and differences are what define everything. And defining a brand means discovering and exploiting its differences. The things that force you to take notice, form an opinion, take a side and get involved – only when we’re involved, are we inspired to act.

Sure, brands can be refreshed, reborn, even repositioned. But that would beg the question, what happened the first time around? Great brands do evolve, and they have ups and downs. But great brands have a defined profile in people’s brains, that once established, is hard to change. It’s best to make it count at the start – and aim carefully.

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