5 Considerations for Brand Planning 2012

brand planning 2012

With those summer whites put away, most brands are now in the midst of planning for 2012. As well as brainstorming big ideas, this involves looking at which marketing activities worked well and those that were not so effective to decide the exact mix for the next year. Which for many includes looking social media. 2011 has certainly been a break out year for social as brands continue to move up the social media adoption curve from the late adopters to brands where social is being applied across programs and being operationalized regionally.

Our series of posts this week casts a gaze ahead for those planning the next 12 months and look at where social media fits in the mix. We aim to provide practical takeaways as well as predictions for the platforms that should feature in your planning, starting with 5 key considerations for social media when in those ideas meetings over the next few weeks.

1. Content: Driving Brand Journalism

As Dirk Shaw (@dmshaw) wrote here recently, the new reality for brands is that people are consuming and creating content in more ways than ever before. Your 2012 strategy needs to include a social content framework that focuses on content that is true to your brand voice, is simple, sharable and platform-appropriate.

2. Influencers: Relevance AND Reach

It may seem a simple consideration to some but 2012 is all about targeting influencers based on their relevancy to both your brand and program, keeping in mind their other affiliations, because this is now an ever-more savvy group.  Focus on maintaining an long-term relationship with the influencers that matter to you.

3. Scale: Global and Local

Take a look at your global social media strategy, to position your brand to be ready for consumer interaction at any social location, communicating in a unified brand voice. See Kit Kat’s Facebook page for one example of creating a global map of pages and properties; Dove uses another model, which serves up a relevant country experience depending on the region the end user is in. In planning think about a CMS such as Buddy Media that can help you with this global framework.

4. Community: What’s Your Participation Strategy?

Spend time looking at what you have learned about your communities in 2011 to ensure you have a participation strategy that rewards your superfans and that plays to what you know about how they behave in social spaces – Forrester’s Technographics tool and other insights (such as Facebook’s Insights reporting tool) are good grounders during planning. Are you asking your fans to do something that fits their demographic?

5. Emerging Platforms: Be A Leader

With Google+ just around the corner for brands, and many other cool new tools emerging daily, place some 2012 dollars aside now to invest in a pilot project around an emerging platform that could just become your brand’s great case study of 2012. Keep an eye on events such as the New York Tech Meet Up or this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt to take a pulse of what’s hot that you might be able to include in your plans.

6. Listening: Are You?

OK we said 5, but who does not like something for free? Listening informs your ongoing strategy, provides content you can use across platforms, helps you identify influencers and community groups you should be engaging with, and importantly keeps you alert of the ongoing health of your brand in social spaces. There are tools and services for all budgets, from Radian6, to free listening tools online.

What are your tips for brands in planning mode for the next 12 months?

*This post was written with input from Sophia Aladenoye