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.