It’s January now (yes it is!) which means brands and agencies alike are running head first into 2019 strategic planning. Both as a consultant and (formerly) as an agency Strategy Director, a core responsibility of mine has been to guide clients and inter-agency teams through this process in all different capacities.
Earlier this year I put out a workbook to help individuals and scrappy teams do planning work like this independently. But for Q1, I’m also going to be offering 3 New Year Planning options for teams.
New Year is a crucial time for getting clear on objectives, identifying potential challenges, and putting together a plan. The thing most folks don’t realize is, a plan doesn’t need to be perfect and it certainly doesn’t need to be “right”. It’s a guideline to set and work off of. You just need to commit to committing. Get an outside perspective! Try something new and see what happens. Set a goal that feels scary and go after it anyway.
Planning work aside, kicking off the new year on a good note is crucial. It’s when you share and get the team aligned on the vision! You can use this time to build relationships and skills that will set you up to successfully work together through all of the inevitable problems that will come up over the course of the year. The new year is a good time to make sure people feel heard and bought in to the direction of the team, and for you to help uncover opportunities they may have been sitting on for awhile now. Get everyone into the room for an inspiring, collaborative session together before their calendars are booked solid again.
Because (TL;DR) if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
I’ve created 3 offerings to help your team prep for 2019.
- The Audit: 1 week deep-dive to uncover the 3 biggest opportunities for your brand in 2019
- The Workshop: Half-day 2019 Planning Session (Austin, remote, or +travel)
- The Immersion: Full-day 2019 Planning with Trend Immersion and/or Professional Development & Team Building
You know the importance of looking at trends in the space, but you’re so close to the day-to-day that you know the value that would come from fresh eyes doing the looking.
The process starts with a 1 hour intake session with up-to 3 Stakeholders to define the focus areas of The Audit. We’ll talk through KPIs of recent work and the biggest challenges you’re forecasting for 2019. Then I’ll spend the next 5 business days diving deep into your brand.
First I’ll evaluate 3-5 Key competitors, category leaders, analogous experiences, and/or “beacon brands” (best-in-class) to identify trends in the space and potential “white space” for you to own. Next, I’ll take a bird’s eye view of your digital & social properties to assess channel usage relative to category norms and user expectations, as well as usability from an experience and content perspective.
What you’ll get at the end:
A 15-20pg. report (delivered as PDF and an editable Keynote file) that includes:
- Summary of research & key findings
- Strengths, weaknesses, and associated low-hanging fruit recommendations for content, channels, and strategy for 2019
- 3 Big Opportunities (across areas such as: Brand, Communications, User Experience, Activation, Tool, Creative)
Timing: One week
The Workshop is for the marketer that knows another report will just get left in inboxes and on desks.
Your team needs time and space dedicated to 2019 planning, but you have about one thousand other things to be doing at this critical time of year. Having an expert facilitator come in to lead the discussions will not only help you out, but will help everyone coming in to participate in the process with an open mind.
I’ll do a 90 minute prep call with up to 3 stakeholders to get familiar with your business and run you through what to expect in our half-day session. I’ll spend the next week or two doing all of the same background research you’d get with The Audit in addition to preparing a presentation and activities for your team.
On the day of our workshop (either AM or afternoon session), I’ll start by sharing key opportunities and from there, I’ll take your team (up to 8 people) through a series of exercises to align on goals for the year and define a cadence of activities needed to accomplish those goals.
How the day will look:
- Intros and warm-up activity
- Presentation of trends & opportunities from The Audit and moderated group discussion
- “Hopes & Dreams” brainstorm exercise
- Needs & Priorities identification & mapping
- Combined 2019 roadmap building
Timing: Two weeks lead time
The Immersion is for the marketer that wants to kick off 2019 with a bang.
We’ll take the team out of the office (and their comfort zone) for a full-day offsite workshop. We will do a post-mortem of 2018 work, analyze current processes, and then align the team on common goals and approaches for success in 2019.
The workshop will help with:
- Team building – giving folks an opportunity to support and learn from one another
- Transparency – time and space for team members to have their needs heard and captured to inform goals for 2019
- Increasing efficiencies – naming and committing to key “low-hanging-fruit” opportunities for the year
- Enthusiasm & inspiration – offering a new perspective on collaboration and creative process
The Immersion is everything you will get from The Workshop – 2018 post-mortem, goal setting, opportunity identification, etc. – paired with an immersive activity designed to ignite inspiration. And delicious local (healthy) food, of course. During our intake call I’ll hear a little bit more about the challenges your team is facing or the theme/s of the work you’re focused on, and then curate an agenda that allows for equal parts collaboration and experience. We may go somewhere new and interesting, we may bring in a guest speaker, we may even tackle a community or agency/brand give-back initiative together as a group.
In the past, my clients and I have paired work sessions with: a private fitness class that included a rock climb to a private beach (health tech. founders), a guided walking tour of area murals (brand design team), a private whiskey tasting and artist talk at a Hollywood speakeasy (music industry execs).
Timing: Two weeks lead time
THE FINE PRINT:
- These offerings are for 2019 Planning only and must booked by end of Q1 2019.
- The activities and deliverables associated with these offerings are tailored to your brand, but are not customizable in format. Please know that they reflect what I consider to be the most effective for new year planning after more than 10 years of doing this. That being said, I am happy to talk about custom reports or custom workshops for your team! Request info here.
- The Audit must be paid in full in advance. The Workshop and The Immersion will require a 50% deposit and the remaining 50% project fee will be invoiced upon completion.
- The fees outlined here do not reflect hard costs or travel. All expenses will be estimated and approved in advanced and paid for or reimbursed by the client.
- The Workshop and Immersion will be booked on a first-come, first-serve basis pending availability. I encourage you to have a few dates in mind before reaching out!
Questions? Contact me!