The Circuit Interview
Any campaign strategy should start with the Circuit. If you’re working with a client, this should take the form of an extensive interview. If you’re working on your own project, you’re essentially interviewing yourself.
The purpose of the Circuit Interview is to understand fully the situation or landscape. This is just as important if we’re looking to start a new venture, to make strategic changes to an existing one, or even with a more modest goal like figuring out how best to market an existing product or service.
The phase after the Circuit Interview will be the Circuit Review, which requires that you have asked enough exploratory questions to have a full and accurate picture of “the situation as it is”.
The Circuit consists of five fundamental elements…
- You / the Brand
- Products / Services
Together, these elements form one entire Circuit, which represents the relationship of a brand to its customers and the overall proposition.
Remember that one business will normally have multiple Circuits: one for each proposition or conversion event that prospects and customers will encounter. Think in terms of having a new Circuit for each commitment we’d ever want a prospect or customer to make.
The Circuit Questionnaire is an evolving set of questions and notes that we’re constantly developing to provide the ultimate comprehensive strategic framework for any marketing campaign or proposition. It has five sections, one for each of the logical elements.
Notes on the Questionnaire
A great Circuit interview is the foundation for a great marketing campaign. You should approach this critical first step with maximum clarity and energy, determined to discover the absolute truth about the present situation, and also to get a vision of what the world would look like if the business were to fulfil its maximum potential.
You do not need to follow the questionnaire in the order shown here. This is just the logical arrangement of the Circuit Elements. I often find I work through in the order: 1 (brand) > 2 (product/service) > 5 (market) > 4 (problem) > 3 (proposition), because the proposition is the keystone that connects us and what we do with the outside world (market).
In many cases, I’ll suggest multiple possible ways of phrasing questions. Just use whatever feels right to you at the time.
No two Circuit Questionnaire interviews will every be the same. You will certainly need to ask additional questions, and there are probably several questions that are either irrelevant or that don’t need to be asked. What’s most important is that you ask the questions that make sense to you and to your client, so that you’re confident that you have understood the strength and alignment of each of the five main Circuit elements.
I maintain the Circuit Questionnaire as an online document using Google Docs.