Brand Strategy: The Big Picture Process

Brand Strategy: The Big Picture Process

This process was created by my late friend, business partner and mentor, Dan Bockman. When I met Dan, he was in his 70’s, at the tail end of a brilliant career as a Creative Director for an international ad agency in LA, with clients like Visa and Honda during the heyday of the ‘MadMen’ era. Dan was primarily responsible for Honda becoming the “Number 1 car company” in the world in the 80’s. When Honda came to his agency, they just wanted a small piece of the American market share, and they had a new, as yet unnamed, fuel economy car to advertise. Dan named the car Accord and raised their expectations and window of opportunity by pointing out that a low-fuel car COULD become #1 during an oil embargo. And so it was.

The Big Picture Process is like a haiku in the world of overblown marketing processes. It can be applied to any size business. At the inception of a new client relationship whether for a website, an app, a crowdfunding campaign, or something else, one or two members of Awake Media will spend 1 to 3 hours in meetings with the client via zoom or in-person. Our goal at these meetings is to discover three things about the client and their business or subject matter. This exploration is the seed of the strategy, design, media, or technology we will create for you because it reveals the big picture. It also gives both parties a chance to engage and see if the relationship is a fit without a huge investment of time and money.

The deliverables of this process are a guiding document that summarizes the three points and creates a blueprint for our project and client relationship that can also be shared with subcontractors and stakeholders.


In the course of an hour-long meeting we will hear the narrative behind what you’re doing whether it’s a personal narrative or a social or cultural or business narrative. The story is going to be different for different people and businesses, but there is always a narrative, and we want you to recount it. Even if this may be something you’ve already translated into a vision or mission statement, a brand or business concept, or if you are just starting and have never shared it before. Either way, we want to hear the genesis of your business. It will help us further understand who you are and help us articulate a narrative that gives people a sense of emotional connection to you or your business. For example, you may have had an epiphany or health breakthrough that caused you to get interested in your field of work. Now, it’s been years, but that root cause still holds true for you, but it’s buried. So we might look for ways to reconnect to that original vitality.


Some people say “Everyone” when asked this question. While that may be an appropriate answer, we still need to divide that audience up into interest groups or segments so that we can communicate in a way that is authentic and engaging. For example, you may have a process that you use with a certain group of people who are your patients, and you may teach that same process to another group of people. These would be two completely different “interest groups” even though they may be in the same age bracket or gender or geography, you obviously have to create two different communications channels.


This exploration identifies all the mediums and messages that are appropriate for articulating your brand and includes:

Keyword Analysis to develop a list of up to 80 keywords and phrases that relate to your subject matter.

A Channel Checklist of all possible media outlet’s and influencers you can approach, and a further narrowing down of which ones are appropriate for us right now.

Identification of the Minimum Viable Product for your project, or for each phase of your project if more than one.



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