As 2011 whizzes by us like all years before, one thing we don't often take time to do is pause and reflect (I am certainly guilty of it). Reflecting on what we've accomplished is important to envisioning the future. This applies to you whether you're a CEO, VP of Marketing, Global Brand Manager or Founder of a start-up brand. While it is often tempting to check out for the holidays that are coming up (mentally and physically), then come back in January to hop on the roller coaster that will inevitably be waiting and do it all over again, we'd be missing something if we didn't pause
Without reflection, how else will you know what worked for your brand, what your successes were (both from your perspective and those around you), and what your brand should or should not repeat in 2012?
Taking the time to reflect on the past year is also important for the other half of this concept: envisioning the future. Our past can give us incredible, useful insight into our future…and the journey of brand is no different (it's why we ask so many questions when we begin this journey with our clients).
As you and your team sit down to come up with marketing plans for 2012, knowing what worked and what didn't is key. What was your brand aiming for in 2011? Did you accomplish that? Were there any missed opportunities, things that weren't executed simply because they were stalled out on someone's desk (maybe even yours)? As you enter 2012, remember the old adage: if you've got no target, you certainly won't hit it.
I encourage you to take some time to reflect before
the holidays hit - even if it's just one hour (escape the office if you must) - to do the following brief exercise:
1) Write down a list of five things that worked for your brand and your marketing approach in 2011.
What went really for your brand in 2011...a particular campaign, a social media approach, something your pro-active marketing machine just kept nailing for you month in and month out?
2) Sit with these and marinate on them for thirty minutes, focusing only on these.
(No emails, notifications, text messages, iAnything…focus
Daniel-san!) - just marinate...think about how it started, and how it wrapped up.
3) Next, write down five things that did not work so well in your 2011 marketing approach.
So in most cases, not everything your brand puts out there is going to be a hit...marketing is often a series of well-targeted, well-planned experiments. Conceptualize, develop, launch, measure, tweak, rinse, repeat. What really needed some tweaking, or just plain old fell flat in 2011?
4) Now marinate only on these five items for twenty minutes, thinking about WHY these didn't work.
Hopefully you've got lots of measurements and data available to you to help you see this...and yes, same as before, keep yourself free of iDistractions.
5) For the final stretch, write down five things you envision for 2012 - five things you want to see your brand accomplish.
Don't be afraid to dream big ("triple our social media following", "increase sales by 40%", "branch our brand into XYZ new market", "sell 5000 records independently", "truly get The Marketing Machine in motion…routine and proactive, not reactive, like all those years before", "have a plan and actually follow it" are some good starting points).
6) Marinate on these five “visions” for twenty more minutes.
Make sure they feel good, maybe even too lofty for your rational side.
Before you’re off for the holidays in December share these five visions for 2012 with your team, your agency/agencies you’ve engaged as your strategic partners, and see what you all can ideate and create around them upon your return from the break. You'll be amazed at the results that will come from these five visions, which you'd never have seen had you not first taken the time to reflect on the past.
Keep your reflection eternal…and your vision constant. In doing so I'm confident you'll be adding to your victories list sooner than you think.
Principal + Lead Brand Navigator