There are two nautical terms I use in my branding practice: rudder and ballast. Rudder, of course, is the steering mechanism housed under the boat that turns the boat left (port) or right (starboard). Ballast is the weight in the bottom of the boat that keeps it from bouncing around too much. The proper amount of ballast makes it easier to use the rudder.
At What’s The Idea? we are all about the ballast. Putting weight into brands so they stay on course, so they are not subject to being pitched about, so they are easier to control. Ballast in brands makes them powerful.
Too many brand managers are all about the rudder. Constantly piloting. Lots of tactics aimed at increasing success. Tactics that often move in different strategic directions. Brands, of course, need direction. And they must be allowed to turn. But too much rudder and not enough ballast reduce one’s ability to navigate a successful heading.
Get your brand strategy right at the beginning. Build the weight of your brand up front. Take the time to develop it. Invest in it. And your brand will almost navigate itself.