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Staying strategic while dealing with the unexpected
October 22, 2020 | Brianna Aust

How do you accomplish your big picture goals while putting out the small fires that pop up every day? Contrary to our Arsonist titles, we actually know how to put out day-to-day fires while still igniting sparks for those larger creative ideas and strategies.

But, how do you accomplish both simultaneously? How do you ensure those one-offs reinforce and ultimately help you accomplish your larger business goals?

Well, let us share a few tips:

Start with strategy

You can’t accomplish big goals if you don’t have a strategy. It’s like going to the grocery store without a list. You might come out with a few things you need, but really you’re just making selections with no real plan in mind.

Before you even set your marketing goals, you should use research to find the areas of opportunity. Let’s stick with the grocery comparison. Before you shop, you’ll probably Google a recipe or two or call your grandma to remember that last ingredient. You’ll research.

You have to understand your brand, your audience and how it is currently perceived in order to create a sound strategy. Research is the mind in MindFire – the amazing creative, aka the fire, can’t happen successfully until we’ve taken this step. Learn all about why research is our first step here.

Insights from the research should drive the strategy. This strategy will be your big picture overarching plan, and it will define, with data, how you’re going to connect to your target audience and achieve your goals.

A person extinguishes a fire

Ladder up to your goals

What’s a strategy without measurement? As part of your strategy – start with your overarching business goal, then work your way down to key performance indicators (KPI’s) like impressions, open rates, engagement, sign ups and more.

Once you have a sound strategy in place,  all decisions you make from there should be weighed against your plan and goals.

When in doubt or wondering if something is worth your time, ask yourself a couple key questions:

  • Does this tie into our overarching strategy?
  • Is this an effective way to meet our larger goals?

Incorporate key messaging

Ok, ok…so things don’t always go as planned. Events that are far out of your control have popped up. We get it. You have to address the fires. You can’t just let them burn while you are focused on other things.

This is why what you say is so important. Your messaging – even when it’s for something that was completely unplanned – should still help you accomplish your goals. It should still explain the what, how and why of your brand.

When things pop up, you don’t throw your plan out the window. No, you figure out how to make the unexpected fit with the expected. Incorporate your key messaging with messages that address the situation at hand. Always figure out a way to keep the two woven together.

Keep your look consistent

Your visual identity is a crucial part of your brand and its development. That is why it’s so important that your visuals look the part even if they’re not part of your larger strategy.

A great example of this is social media. Let’s say something popped up and you have to address it on your social channels. Are you just going to write a post? Wouldn’t it be more effective if that post was accompanied by an image cueing the reader that it’s from your brand?

Even when you have to do things on the fly, your look should stay the same. This isn’t to say that your look shouldn’t accommodate the news it’s sharing – aka don’t make somber news look like a party invite – but the key elements of your brand identity should still find their way into all aspects of your work – even when it’s a one-off.

Know when to say no

There will always be outliers that aren’t part of your strategy, but do you really need to address them?

One of the key points of a strategy is honing your energy toward accomplishing a goal, so how much do you take on that falls outside that strategy? That’s up to you.

Opportunities will arise, so ask if this helps you accomplish that ultimate goal. Maybe the opportunity is really neat and interests you, but if it doesn’t help accomplish one of your goals, is it worth it?

There are times when you should simply decline. It’s hard to say “no,” but having an awesome strategy that helps your business’ bottom line is worth far more.

We know it’s hard to figure out how to balance strategy and one-offs, so if you’re in need of brand guidance, drop us a line.

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