Don’t Speak in Branding Tongues.


Tons of people in marketing will tell you what a brand is.  Right or wrong they can be reasonably articulate.  Few though, have a clean answer for what brand strategy is.  Most practitioners get all caught up in their underwear and speak in branding tongues, using words like story, personality, voice and mission.  

Brand strategy at What’s The Idea? is explained as “An organizing principle.”  What’s an organizing principle?  It’s a set of parameters for activity. It’s governance for marketing – all 4 Ps. It’s a way to decide if you are on or off your business-winning objective.

By calling it an organizing principle it seems little less dictatorial, allowing room for experimentation. Besetting an ad agency with (creative) rules makes them see red. No rules, no rules! But an organizing principle seems almost helpful.

So, what are we organizing?  The rest of the definition goes “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  In this approach, brand strategy informs the product itself. Secondly, it informs the experience, i.e., packaging, out-of-box, retail, web navigation and customer care. Lastly, it directs messaging; the place most marketers get it wrong. In fact, well enculturated into an organization brand strategy becomes an employee manual…without the table of contents. 

In summary, brand strategy is the epicenter of not just branding but marketing. Says the man with the brand strategy business.

For examples of brand strategies of real customer businesses, write Steve at WhatsTheIdea.