In the coming year, how will you check your brand’s performance and the activities you are undertaking to fully support your brand plan?

Here’s an idea for a new strategic thinking exercise that can be a big help.

First though, a little background.

What’s an Examination of Conscience?

If all goes to plan, I’m headed to the church in the photo to go to confession and attend mass this morning.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

When getting ready to go to confession, there are many different options available as “examinations of conscience” to prepare. An examination of conscience is a comprehensive set of objective standards to which you can compare your recent behaviors to see where you are lacking. Those areas where you have fallen short suggest sins you should bring to confession. By confessing these sins, you acknowledge these areas are ones you seek to improve upon in the future.

Not all examinations of conscience are created the same.

Some are centered on the Ten Commandments and identify where you have failed to obey the commandments. Other examinations of conscience are centered on works of mercy. These typically focus you on areas where you have failed to act. Still other examinations of conscience pull from multiple sources and customize them to your state in life (i.e., a husband, mother, single-person, child in a family, etc.)

4 Ways to Examine Brand Performance as a Strategic Thinking Exercise

It struck me how a comparable concept (an Examination of Brand Performance) would be helpful as a strategic thinking exercise for monitoring your organization or brand progress throughout the year. Just as insights from examinations of conscience vary based on how they are created, the same could hold true for an examination of performance. Your brand’s examination could be built around:

  1. All the over-the-top goals in your vision and mission statement
  2. The biggest brand aspirations of major brand stakeholders
  3. Best practices common in your industry
  4. Best practices common in other industries that are relevant to your own

These four ways to examine conscience aren't merely a review against your brand objectives for the year. Any of these will constitute a more rigorous set of goals and performance expectations that might never include as plan objectives, but are valuable for painting an ideal picture of what your brand should become over time. Throughout the year, you could monitor your performance against this strategic thinking exercise to see where there are opportunities to correct performance and aggressively step up your game.

This is definitely a strategic thinking exercise idea from the Brainzooming R&D lab. But for current and future clients, don’t be surprised if some form of it starts cropping up in your strategy planning workshops! – Mike Brown

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