From Thoughts to Strategy

Think. Real. Hard. That’s what I wrote with my pink pen at the top of a piece of paper – then I proceeded to do just that.

 Every day your brain processes about 70,000 thoughts (Healthy Brains). These thoughts may include thinking about your spaghetti dinner last night, or what you need to pack for your upcoming lake trip this weekend, or even if your best friend’s date went well last night. Whatever the thoughts may be, the truth is that it’s hard to focus on one specific thought at a time with zero distractions. Think about it. When you are driving in traffic, specifically Atlanta traffic, and realize that you had to turn the volume down to your favorite country song so that you could focus on the road and nearby drivers. That’s exactly what Think Real Day is about. Turning life’s distractions down to focus on deep thoughts and strategy for your clients.

The need to stop and think is at its all-time high. A study showed that “85% of leadership teams spend less than one hour per month on strategy, and 50% spend no time at all on strategy” (Butler, Jimmie). As marketers, we keep ourselves busy to achieve our client’s goals by meeting deadlines, staying on budget and ensuring the team is completing the project schedule efficiently. With all these to-dos, at the end of the day it’s hard to find a few moments to strategize. We noticed this need at Brown Bag Marketing and decided to dedicate an entire day to ensure that each client was getting the strategic attention needed.

What is Think Real Hard Day? A day completely off the grid to allow your mind to enter deep concentration to brainstorm, plan and research for each of your clients, internal teams and personal takeaways and goals. We let our clients know we are taking this undistracted day away from emails (ensuring that another bagger has you covered in case an urgent request comes through) and begin our thinking journey.

Each and every one of us approaches this day differently. And that’s why BBM is unique; there’s not one right way to do it. We are given the freedom to utilize our learning skills and create our own approaches to solving problems. So here is how my day went:

Preparation for the Day

The weeks leading up to August 8th, I started reaching out to those who had previously completed their Think Real Hard day. Asking them the types of prompts they recommend me thinking through, the do’s and don’ts, and personally, what they think I should ponder on. The answers and advice were across the board. Some focused on specific ways to improve client relationships, some included strategic plans for specific accounts, others mentioned spending time on how BBM could be better, and one asked that I focus on my internal goals. At first, all this information seemed a bit overwhelming, but one piece of advice that I knew would set me up for success was to complete my TRH with pen and paper. And this excited me. I pulled out all my fun markers and pens and began to outline my day by each client, BBM, the account team, and myself.

The Day Itself

August 8th came around quickly, but I was prepared. I knew that I wanted to be away from any distractions, so I packed up my pens and outline and headed to a nearby coffee shop. I sat down, plugged in calming music, and got to work.

First, I started with each client. To begin, I wrote down all the projects that we completed for the client this year only. Then, I brainstormed and noted potential strategy tactics that we could incorporate in a short-term and long-term period. To help brainstorm these ideas, I researched their competitors to see what they were doing and if it could be applied to my client. These tactics included potential campaign opportunities, recommendations, and optimizations, and in the words of BBM’s motto – how to level up. Lastly, I focused on what was going well and what was not going well. These could be internally with BBM or externally with the client, but reflecting on these will help solve future problems.

I’d spent most of my morning and early afternoon focusing on clients and it was time to switch gears. I pulled out my BBM, account team and personal papers and got to it. To begin, I noted where BBM and the account team were a year ago versus today. I wrote down all the great improvements including new baggers, new clients added to our roster, noteworthy projects that were completed and impressive result metrics. And then I put on my thinking cap on how BBM and the account team can improve by listing bad habits to break, what kind of team members need to be added and which type of organizational processes need additional love. To end my day, I focused on myself and the values I bring to BBM and how I want to continue to grow at BBM. Since 2024 was coming up, I decided to write down three achievable goals so that I – just like BBM – will strive to continue to learn and become a better marketer for my clients.

Taking a day to think real hard may seem like a luxury in today’s fast-paced world, but it’s a necessity for effective marketing strategy. At Brown Bag Marketing, we believe in investing time and effort into ensuring that our clients receive the strategic attention they deserve. Whether it’s brainstorming creative solutions, analyzing market trends, or reflecting on our own performance, a Think Real Hard Day can make all the difference. It’s a day of undistracted focus that ultimately leads to innovative strategies and better outcomes for our clients and ourselves. So, when was the last time you took a day to think real hard?