Brand strategy definition

    Brand Strategy Definition.

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    Everybody in America can define the word “brand.” The Kardashians have made the definition more diffuse but still the word has amazing recognition.  Add the word “strategy” behind brand and it makes the task a little harder. Yet people know what the word strategy means so everyone should be able follow semantically.  Honestly though, the big honkin’ problem with the brand strategy business is very few people can actually articulate a process or framework for brand strategy. A means by which or protocol for enacting one, that is. 

    This is akin to people in the advertising business being good at creating ad and not good at selling product – the ultimate goal of advertising.

    There are a lot of smart people in brand planning, don’t get me wrong.  But most are paid by ad agencies to provide and insight or two to tickle the creative department.  And those who are employed by branding firms (e.g., Interbrand, Landor) are, in the main, armies of mid-managers paid to enhance presentations of names, logos, color palettes and experiential effluvia. Brand craft is more like the ad business (present stuff) than about the strategy.

    Starting at the beginning, a proper definition of brand strategy is “An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  If your organizing principle is not organized, meaning it’s too broad or hard to articulate, it’s not an organizing principle.

    Tomorrow, a look at “product,” the first of the troika of brand strategy components.

    Peace.

     

     

    Are You Strategic?

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    What does it mean to be more strategic?  Does it mean more analytical? Smarter? Does it mean you flail around less looking for a solution? Are you more successful when strategic?

    Once in my career at McCann-Erickson a supervisor told me I needed to be more strategic; it cut me to the bone.  But I wasn’t sure what to do to fix it. It was a swipe and advice sans solution.  I had to figure it out on my own. “Strategic” doesn’t come with a handbook.

    It’s hard to be strategic without a strategy. Then you have something to abide. Something to affect. With a strategy in place you can measure your efforts. As I sometime write, you can be binary in your efforts. Either “on” or “off.”

    The problem with branding, and therefore marketing, is that strategic people often don’t have a brand strategy. As a result they are strategic but with tactics. Or objectives. More money, more margin, more more. Unfortunately, they’re not building a brand. Not using “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.” With branding the ends trump the means.

    Peace.

     

     

    Small Batch Brand Strategy

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    I am loath to admit it, but What’s The Idea? is a small batch brand strategy consultancy.  The market has been conditioned to think a large corporate brand strategy has to cost $100,000; add another $150k for naming and logo design. Most of my clients don’t have that kind of money. My clients tend to be small and mid-size or start-ups.

    My framework for brand strategy – one claim, three proof planks – is tight and enduring.  But for some larger businesses, helmed by multivariate-obsessed MBAs, it may seem overly simplistic.  And inexpensive. Simplicity is the beauty of the framework, frankly. It mirrors what consumers remember.

    In small batches, with only 40 or 80 hours invested in research and planning, the process has to be relatively simple.  The information gathering metaphor I use is the stock pot. My cognitive approach, the “boil down.”  When you work in small batches, you self-limit your ingredients. You know what not to heap into the pot.

    I’ve done small batch brand strategy for crazy-complicated business lines. A global top 5 consulting company with a health and security practice and a preeminent hacker group who helps the government keep us safe. Small batches both.

    Try the small batch approach. As Ben Benson used to say, “I think you are going to love it.”

    Peace.  

     

    Sticky Brands

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    In a piece of 2014 research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on the subject of customer experience, the top box response to the question below was about message uniformity.

    I know to the hammer everything looks like a nail and to the brand planner everything marketing thing looks like brand strategy, but this one made my day. Brand strategy, defined here at  What’s The Idea? as “An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging,” is the key to message uniformity. Sure “voice,” “tone” and “personality” are important (ish) but the substance of the message is how one builds brands.

    Find your claim. Identify your three proof planks, make sure they are key care-abouts and brand good-ats, and you have a strategy.

    Stick to it and it will stick to your customers. And prospects.  

    Happy holidays to all. Peace.