The Brand Strategy Business.


It’s hard selling brand strategy. Everyone knows what a brand is. And everyone knows what strategy is. But no one knows what brand strategy is.

Here’s my definition and it’s the best definition I’ve seen so far: An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.  As my Norwegian Aunt would say “Tink about it.”

Let’s forget the organizing principle part – that’s a where most brand strategists get caught up in their underwear. Let’s jump straight to Product, Experience and Messaging.

When talking product and brand strategy it’s somewhat of a chicken and egg thing. What comes first? The product comes first. Unless it’s a startup. Even then, the product comes first.  What a product is and what product does — I call this the Is-Does — must be baked into the brand strategy.  This informs current product positioning, future product iterations, evolutions and brand extensions. It’s an explicit roadmap for the product.

The experience is also fundamental to the brand.  Whether it’s the website, out-of-the-box or in-store, how one experiences a product (starting with packaging) is what makes the brain synapses fire toward brand value.

Lastly, is the messaging. 85% of all marketing budgets today are directed toward messaging. And mostly, it’s a mess. Ask any copywriter or art director – they’ll tell you. They get no input other than product specs, a consumer care-about or two, and eps file with a logo. Messaging is a bunch of words and images that are mostly interchangeable. Without a tight brand strategy.

Not all is hopeless.  It just takes a steady hand and a plan. 

Tomorrow, we’ll look at brand strategy and service businesses.