Oprah's brand planning tip

If you are chasing someone to lead your company’s strategic planning session this year why not try Oprah Winfrey?

Sound a bit ridiculous? Well, perhaps. But I came across a quote from the superstar of US TV the other day and I reckon it just about sums up the number one problem with the annual planning process.

I’ll let Oprah say it in her words: You can have it all – you just can’t have it all at once.

I’m not going to get into some deep philosophical debate here; personally I have doubts about having it all.  The truth is that life is about compromise and priorities. But a common theme I hear from people up and down the management chain of most major companies is this: We’re just trying to do so much!

Well, now is the time to fix that. The problem is that we live in a world where we don’t like limiting our options or saying no. It is especially true when it comes to brand strategy. Branding is as much about deciding what you won’t do as what you will do. The reason many brands lack bite with consumers it that they severely lack focus. One minute they are promoting themselves as quality, the next they are slashing their prices and flogging product like it’s a fire sale. That’s very short term thinking, and what’s worse, it means you get locked into a vague drift, rather than defined direction … and it shows.  Brand planning is about focus. Anything less and you are on the slippery slide to nothingness. Thanks Oprah.