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Credit from The book "Beloved Brand"

A smart brand plan gets everyone in your organization on the same page. Everyone drives against the same vision, key issues, strategies, and tactics. This article will show you all the brand plan definitions and provide brand plan examples and brand plan templates. 

Allocation of your limited resources

A smart brand plan makes choices on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources to drive the biggest return. The plan aligns, steers and inspires all functional areas of the organization including marketing, sales, finance, supply chain, product development, human resources and any outside agencies. And lastly, the Brand Plan even helps the Brand Manager who wrote it, to stay focused on delivering on what they said they would deliver.

An effective Brand Plan answers where are we, why are we here, where could we be, how can we get there and what do we need to do. Once you answer these 5 strategic questions, you will see that you have your analysis, key issues, vision, goals strategies, execution, and measurement.

While there is a lot of work with our planning process, you will end up with a Brand Plan on ONE PAGE. Here is a brand plan example.

Start with a rough draft outline

Before you start in on working on the brand plan, I recommend that you write 2-3 bullet points for each of the five strategic questions. This provides an outline to ensure the overall flow of the plan. Below is the recommended strategic:

The elements of the brand plan

Situation Analysis:

Start the planning process with a deep-dive business review that answers “where are we”, by looking at everything connected to the business including the category, consumer, competitors, channels and the brand.

Try to focus on the top 3-4 points for each box below:

Key Issues:

One tool we recommend with finding the key issues is to ask 4 questions that determine “why are you here”:

  • What is your current COMPETITIVE position?

  • What is the CORE STRENGTH your brand can win on?

  • How tightly CONNECTED is your consumer to your brand?

  • What is the current business SITUATION your brand faces?

Combine the deep dive analysis with the answers to these 4 questions and you will have a good start on your competitive, brand, consumer and situational issues.

Brand Vision/Purpose/Goals:

When I see brand teams struggling, they usually lack a vision. The vision answers “where could we be” and becomes a beacon for everyone working on the brand. If you achieved it, everyone would feel proud.

A good vision should scare you a little, but excite you a lot.

It should be motivating and enticing to stretch your mind while getting everyone focused. The vision should easy for everyone to understand and rally around. It should be a balance of aspiration (stretch) and reality (achievement).

A brand vision is not a positioning statement or a strategic statement. These both come later in the plan. Make sure you haven’t achieved it already.


The strategy is always about “how to get there”.

At the strategic level, you have to make choices. The best strategic marketers never divide and conquer. The best Marketers are able to limit the options through decision-making helps to match up to the limited resources.

The Love Curve can help pick your strategy.

We have created a hypothetical “Brand Love Curve”. Brands move along the curve from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and finally becoming a Beloved and use their connection with consumers to become more powerful. With that added power, brands gain more profit through price, cost, share and market size.

Where you sit on the Brand Love Curve influences your next major strategic move.

Don’t try to do two things at once

The biggest strategic flaw of most brand plans is trying to drive penetration and usage frequency at the same time. By doing both, you will be targeting two types of consumers at the same time, you will have two main messages and you will divide your resources against two groups of activities that have very little synergy. If you are really strategic, pick one, not two.

Tactics and Execution

“What do we need to do to get there” matches up marketing execution activity to the brand strategy, looking at communicating the brand story, managing the consumer towards the purchase moment, launching new product innovation and delivering the brand experience. We use our Big Idea to drive each of these key areas of the brand.

Marketing Execution has to make your brand stronger. It has to create a bond with consumers who connect with the soul of the brand, it establishes your brand’s reputation based on a distinct positioning and it influences consumers to alter their behavior to think, feel or act, making the brand more powerfully connected, eventually leading to higher sales, share, and profit.

Turn your plan into projects

A good marketing execution plan should have:

  • Brand budget

  • Goals

  • Calendar of activity

  • Project work plans

A brand plan is not complete without project plans that include the project owner, project budget, goals, milestones, and hurdles.


Bringing the Plan together

The power of 3’s: As we said earlier, the plan is about making decisions.We recommend that you narrow your effort down to 3 strategies and then 3 tactics for each strategy. That means 9 core projects for each brand to focus their resources on during the year. By doing less number, you will be focusing your limited resources on making each project has a big impact.

Brand plan definitions of key terms

  • Vision: What do you want your brand to be in the next 5-10 years? Vision gives everyone on the brand a clear direction.

  • Goals: What do you need to achieve? Specific measures of brand health and wealth, related to consumer/customer behavioral changes, metrics of key programs, performance targets or milestones on the pathway to the vision.

  • Key Issues: What is getting the way of achieving your vision/goals? The deep analysis highlights what’s driving and holding the brand back, as well as future risks and untapped opportunities.

  • Strategies: How can we get there? Strategies are the “How” you will win the market. Choices based on market opportunities, using consumers, competitors or situational.

  • Tactics: What do we need to do to execute the strategy? Framed completely by strategy, tactical choices deploy your limited resources against brand projects, the most efficient way to drive a high ROI.

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