Even though summer has just begun, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year. Marketing teams should be ramping up their planning activities to agree on the focus and investments needed for their brands in order to make an impact on their markets in 2020 and beyond.

Marketers often find the process difficult and daunting, but should it be? What should the process look like and what’s the best way to develop a high-impact brand plan?

Harvard Business School defines Brand Planning as “the process of allocating resources to a strategy designed to achieve a business objective that drives a brand closer to delivering on a valuable future vision” This definition makes it clear there is a decision to be made between the money and time a brand receives and the contribution that it will make to the overall organization. It also ties the business objective to a bigger, longer-term ambition, providing context and aspirational stretch goals.

A Brand Plan doesn’t need to be a marketing version of War and Peace. It should simply document and communicate these 4 key aspects:

  1. The vision: what a team wants the brand to achieve in the short and long term—for patients and caregivers, HCPs, payers, B2B customers, and the organization
  2. The objective: what needs to be achieved in the short term (2020) to move towards that vision?
  3. The strategy: how is the team going to achieve the objective?
  4. The tactics: what needs to be done to achieve the objectives and support the strategy. And how much will it cost?

While the communication of the plan should be simple, we know a lot of work goes into the effort. The team needs to diagnose the brand’s situation, define the strategy, establish an annual business objective, target customers and value propositions, as well as strategic priorities and KPIs. Most importantly, the organization needs to be aligned around a common understanding and agreement on the why, how, and what for the brand.

Keeping these 4 aspects of Brand Plan development top of mind should help marketers eliminate the stress and get through the annual brand planning process—all while still enjoying the summer!

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