planning for the future (5): less talk, more action

less talk more action

We all know that actions speak louder than words.

But many brands still focus the majority of their marketing spend on talking.

It’s time to redress the balance.


Advertising does a good job of telling people things.

That’s fine if we want to raise a bit of awareness.

However, advertising frequently behaves like the pseudo-tailors in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes‘.

This clip sums up the reality of far too much marketing:

But in today’s hyperconnected communities, this ‘massive hyperbole’ approach no longer works.

No amount of advertising will make a bad product good.

It’s just too easy for people to spot a ‘naked’ brand, and to tell everyone else about it too.

More often than not, advertising isn’t the answer.

People want proof; not just claims.

So how can planning help?

We need to broaden our perspective.

We need to help brands understand what people really want, and then to identify the most profitable ways of delivering it to them.

We need to add value, from end to end: from informing R&D to inspiring customer service.

Key Benefit

If we give people what they really want, we won’t need to persuade them of anything; they’ll experience it for themselves.

Key Action

Allocate a minimum of 90% of your brand’s resource to identifying what people really want, and creating a solution that delivers it.

Use the remainder to demonstrate your brand experience to the people who are most passionate about its benefit.

If you’ve done the first bit right, they’ll do the rest for you.

Shaping the Future

Throughout this series on planning for the future, there’s been a recurring theme: how we can add real value.

If planning is to remain relevant, its role must evolve from promoting brands to actually delivering their benefits.

The new planning manifesto is simple:

less talk more action 2

The Rest of the ‘Planning for the Future’ Series

Introduction: a new planning manifesto

Use communications to deliver value: moving from advertising to adding value

It’s all about the benefits: a simple example of how to deliver a brand’s core benefit with a TV ad

Add CSR to everything you do: how contributing to the greater good can help your brand too

Blend the mix: towards more strategic distribution

Want to know more about planning for the future? Get in touch here.

2 Responses to “planning for the future (5): less talk, more action”

  1. 1 John Barton November 16, 2009 at 04:15

    Great point. Some companies have done this very well. Roger Penske has placed a lot of emphasis on the experience of renting a truck. In the US, the biggest truck rental company has been U-Haul for decades, but the value of the brand has eroded because they the trucks are dirty and old and there is little in the way of customer service. Penske trucks, on the other hand, are fastidiously clean, new, you get a “pre-flight” every time you rent from them, and the help you find the right truck for your needs (most people have no idea what size truck they need they just know they need to move a 2 bedroom apartment’s worth of stuff). Apple is another obvious example of focusing on the users experience and making the most of their advertising from it.

    Thanks for making the bold statement that the focus should be on the benefits of the brand first. An interesting case study might be the “Free Credit” commericals in the US. Great creative, wonderful ad campaign, but recent (and not so recent) news coverage have exposed the fact that they aren’t free at all, even though there are free alternatives. This recent news coverage could undo all the good work done for the brand by advertising and all because there “benefit” and promise of the brand are false in the first place.

  1. 1 rethinking success « eskimon Trackback on January 7, 2010 at 14:40

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