For planners, thinking about the product, the positioning and the price is no longer enough. As the world swirls around new cultures, new issues and new media forms to carry conversations, the modern planner needs to think first like a citizen then like a consumer. It’s the difference between understanding how your brand lives in the world and what your product can and does do.
That means bringing the wider view of the world to planning - not just specialising but being a ‘specialist-generalist’ - and embracing the fact that as a human being, you are now looking to brands to carry conversations and lead on issues which governments and legislatures are not.
As the world becomes more divided and disenfranchised with leadership – and in fact, leadership moves from Leadership to Followership (as referenced by Barbara Kellerman) – people are turning to brands that can express a point of view. They want leaders they want to follow and increasingly, these leaders are brands. They are gravitating towards brands as a way of showing their points of view, what they believe in and what they align to. Brands are not just something we buy anymore, they are something we buy into.