Brand backcasting – envision the future, then plan how to get there.

Over the course of 25 years of helping clients build effective brands, I’ve discovered a huge, yawning gap in the market: commonsense brand building techniques aimed at entrepreneurs who want to do it themselves.

Which, if you think about it, pretty much covers all of us.

With that in mind, I launched the BrandDIY Playbook late 2016. The Playbook takes you through the step-by-step process I follow when I’m building brands. It works.

That said, everything can be improved upon. So in 2019, I wrote BrandDIY again.

This story reflects some of the material I cover in the original, and the new / improved book. Enjoy!

Brand backcasting – what will your brand be in 5 years?

Far too many would-be brand builders jump out of the gate and try to decide on logos, ads, and product labels before considering what their brand should become.

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It’s extremely important to visualize your brand as a success story. You may be on the first chapter now, but like every great author, you should know how the book ends, and what happens along the way. That’s what this first exercise is all about.

It’s important to visualize your brand as a success story.

Understand this, and the brand building process becomes much more logical. As I heard a great businessman say it – once you understand what you want to become, the how just kinda falls in place.

First, ponder

Turn off the computer. Put your feet up on the desk. Stare out the window. Imagine what your brand could be.

When was the last time you did that?

Too often, we get caught up in execution and tactics. It’s the classic ‘forest and trees’ conundrum.

Instead of thinking execution and tactics, just ponder what your brand could be. Every great brand starts with imagining.

Take some time today, and perhaps 5 minutes every morning for the next week. Imagine what your brand could be in 5 years…

  • What products will you manufacture?
  • Who will be your fans?
  • How will they buy your product?
  • Who will your competitors be?

Allow a bit of play to come into your imaginings. Every great brand captures the imagination. It should capture yours first.

Next, backcast

Now that you’ve imagined what your brand could be in 5 years, let’s visualize how to get there.

Think of yourself standing on a rock, 5 years in the future. Your brand has realized its destiny, becoming everything you dreamed it could be.

What will your brand be in 5 years? And how did it get there?

So, what steps did you take to get it there?

Start with today. What would you do now to get one step closer to that ideal future state? What about next week? Next month? Next year? 

Consider real business decisions. How would you innovate? Distribute? Communicate?

Imagining these real steps forces you to consider if your current path has an end point you want to arrive at.

Getting from present to future

Now that you’ve described your product/service today, and your product/service in 5 years, what are the steps you’re going to take to get yourself into the future?

Let’s break the task down a bit. Consider these questions.

What 3 things will I do to my brand THIS year to turn it into my ideal future brand?

What 3 things will I do to my brand NEXT year?

What 3 things will I do to my brand IN TWO years?

What 3 things will I do to my brand IN THREE years?

What 3 things will I do to my brand IN FOUR years?

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Building your own brand? Make sure to read my book BrandDIY first.

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