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Finding Your Audience Through Connections Planning

Think for a moment about how you are exposed to brands. Is it through a magazine ad? Is it the product packaging? Did you talk to a sales representative, or visit a store? Did it come up in a conversation with a friend?

Of course, the answer is "yes" to all of these. In reality, brand interaction can happen anywhere, at any time. As marketers, we need to understand precisely how our audiences come into contact with our brands, and how to get the most out of those moments. That's the foundation of Connections Planning.

Connections Planning isn't simply another name for media planning. It's bigger than that. It's a mindset that considers every interaction that a consumer has with a brand. It's about determining which of those interactions are most relevant and how to turn them into meaningful brand experiences. Clearly, we're not just talking about "media" in the traditional sense.

Connections Planning focuses on three key areas:

  1. The Audience – Who are we trying to reach? What are their motivations? How can we use this information to connect with them?
  2. The Brand Idea – How does the brand position itself? What is the messaging approach? What is the consistent theme or idea infused across all marketing channels that defines the brand?
  3. The Brand Connection Point – How can we reach our audience at the right time, in the appropriate environment and with the appropriate message? When and where will they be most receptive to our message?

But throughout the consumer's path to purchase, it is absolutely critical to integrate our efforts across all brand connections points, in order to convey a unified, comprehensible brand story. By understanding and applying these elements to our marketing initiatives, we are able to generate the most powerful and influential connections that will incite action and drive success for our brands.

If you're still reading this, you're probably thinking, "Sure, this sounds great, but how can I make Connections Planning work for me?" Think of this as your introduction to the topic. There's plenty more to cover, so check back in the coming weeks for more information about how to make Connections Planning a part of your marketing strategy.