I’ve come to the conclusion that the single most important person needed to implement brand strategy is the CEO. Not the marketing director. Ask any rank and file employee at a company what the director of marketing does and they will answer “marketing.” Ask them to elaborate and you’re likely to get “they make marketing materials.” “They make the stuff the salespeople use.” “They do the website and ads.”
Most marketing directors, even those who really understand brand strategy, are not sharing it throughout the company. It’s not even trickling down. Marketing directors guard brand strategy. And for odd, odd reasons they keep it to themselves; perhaps sharing it only with vendors as a way to keep them organized.
Getting the CEO onboard with the brand strategy framework (one claim, three proof planks) sets up an oversight litmus test that marketing must pass as they invest company money. It creates a litmus test for all other departments making changes and/or improvements. And it offers up to HR a way to gauge company fit for new hires. In short, it operationalizes the strategy well beyond the marketing bullpen.
The best brand strategies are known throughout the company. Originally applied to consumer packaged goods, today they’re crucial in services economy and B2B businesses.
At its best, brand strategy does not trickle down — it’s a force of business nature that sluices and gushes straight to the bottom line.