The sideways-look process

1. Assimilate

We begin with what you know. To avoid duplication of effort and unnecessary cost, we’ll ask for sight of any current U&A research, SWAT analyses, YOY sales and share figures, distribution maps and your assessment of the competitive landscape for the brand you want us to look at.

We’ll also need sight of your current assessment of the brand’s proposition and differential, the way these are expressed in consumer or trade communications and how this compares and contrasts with current competition.

2. Interrogate

Armed with this background, we will arrange discussions with a sample of consumers and customers, non-consumers and non-customers, distributors, retailers and opinion formers.

We will drill down into the provenance of your product/brand and hold brainstorm sessions with your management and others with a view to building a new prism through which to view the brand, its persona, stories and messages.

3. Explode

We will now break down the current understanding of your brand and its meanings. The component parts will be the same, but they will no longer fit together in a recognisable form.

One client described this part of the process as ‘exploding everything we know about our brand’ and we have borrowed her (somewhat intemperate) characterisation.

4. Rebuild

We will now re-think and re-assemble the exploded components of your brand. This is the core of the sideways-look process and it is at this point that new shapes, new possibilities, new products and new messages may be defined.

If you wish, this part of the process can be conducted in partnership with you. Joint brainstorm sessions can be extremely productive.

5. Articulate

The output from our thinking, and from brainstorm sessions if appropriate, will form the basis of our sideways-look proposals – likely to contain radical recommendations and unorthodox ideas – which will be delivered in the form of a detailed document with, where relevant, illustrations and examples of messaging, designs, communications and activities.

Our intention will be to present you with a view and approach that you would normally never have considered, and that will help you see your brand in a completely new light.

J44 process