Whenever I try to explain to business people what a brand strategy is, I find it often better to just show them a few strategies. When I go on about “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging” eyes glaze over and I fall into the marko-babble trap. But when I display the brand idea and 3 proof planks, the synapses start to fire and they begin thinking about their own business. Practice and a modeling (as they say in .edu) are brain sparking. Theory not so much.
Then I typically walk prospects through the hard part of brand strategy: what we need to throw out. As in, what we needn’t say. The iPhone was positioned as a phone, not a camera-email-text-app device. The “i” carried all of that. The “i” was pregnant with all innovative things Apple.
Pregnant context is what you get credit for even when you don’t say it. Select your brand strategy words with precision and you’ll get way more than you ask for. In the recent tyro brand planner event at BBH, celebrating the life of Griffin Farley, the winning idea for the Citibike assignment was “Bikes with Benefits.” The idea was pregnant with target information, aspiration, vitality and value. The best brand strategies live a long, long time. First they borrow context then they create their own. Peace in The House (of Representatives).