Planning is where the magic happens

February 10, 2020 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Think of the best meal you’ve ever eaten. The tantalizing appetizer. The fresh, crisp salad. The mouth-watering entrée. The decadent dessert. Can you remember it? Can you taste it?

I’ll bet you $1,000 it didn’t come out of a microwave.

We live in a world of instant gratification and certainly one where that is now the expectation. Back in 1978, FedEx’s “when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” delivery was a miracle of transportational logistics. A couple decades later, Amazon Prime said “Hold my beer” and showed the world how to deliver in an hour. Changes in supply chain management have kicked the corporate treadmill up to 8.2 and the more digital we become, the faster business moves. For the most part, that’s fantastic.

But when it comes to thinking and planning, we have to remember that faster isn’t always better.

Thinking ahead takes time.

Over the holidays I ran into a group of friends at a party who also work in media and, as you do, we got to reminiscing and talking about the years when we were just starting out. As seasoned professionals now (that’s Texas polite for ‘we’ve been doing this since cassette tapes and flip phones were a thing’), we all agreed what we missed most was having more time. Not for doing, for planning.

Where once our focus was quarter to quarter, now most companies are microfocused on day-to-day performance because, with today’s analytics, they can. And that’s great. But not for planning. Planning takes time. Thinking ahead takes time and yet too often planning dies on the sacrificial altar of right now. That’s unfortunate and, frankly, unnecessary.

Here at LOOMIS, our mission is to help challenger brands find advantages they can use to fight and beat the category giants. There is no more crucial arrow in that quiver than planning.

How many times have you gotten right up against the holidays, the Super Bowl, or a significant day in the life of a brand you touch and been struck with a fantastic idea that’s rendered impossible because there’s just not time to execute it? What’s worse is when that idea gets put in a drawer until next year and then again, when December 25th shockingly pops up out of nowhere, well, there’s just no time. That’s why planning is crucial to great work. If you start soon enough, there’s always enough time.

2020 is a huge media event year.

In addition to all the regular touchstones, we add the Summer Olympics and a Presidential Election. Those two alone offer incredible opportunities for creativity, synergy, attention, and connection. But only if you’re taking the time to think ahead with the collective braintrust at your fingertips. When was the last time you gathered media, creative, and account service together to brainstorm ideas for six months from now? For the best of the best, it’s standard operating procedure. Perhaps it should be for all of us.

Planning makes anything possible. Right now, our country is more divided than ever before. And yet, six months from now, the Olympic Games will bring us together in a way that nothing outside of a national tragedy does.

How could you take advantage of that for the brands you touch? How could you tap into that heartfelt, patriotic, USA! USA! mindset?

A few months after closing ceremonies, we’ll go back to our corners for the Democratic and Republican conventions and, sadly, that feeling of togetherness will dissipate. But that too will offer a new opportunity. What could you do to sail against those winds? If we can’t come together over politics, could we come together over a plate of crackers, or clean carpets, or a beer? What if we found a way to come together over something that meant even more?

All it takes is time.

It’s not that agencies and brands are incapable of moving quickly. We’re moving faster than we ever have. But no challenger brand ever won exclusively because it was quicker than its competition (and neither did a category leader).

Challengers win by outthinking their competition. By creating fantastic cultures that value and foster ideals like purpose, connection, creativity, and leadership. Challengers go slow to go fast. They take the time to plan and understand that even the greatest seeds are just seeds unless we give them the time and attention to grow into the exquisite flowers we know they can be.

AIMEE BOVE is director of media at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

For more about LOOMIS, or to discuss how we can help your company succeed, CLICK HERE

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.