What Comes First the Brand Strategy or the Product?


My definition of brand strategy is “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  Most practitioners get the “messaging” part. And a growing number understand the “experience,” especially those with branded storefronts. How a customer experiences the brand at retail is more than a passing fancy.  Dunkin is a very different experience than Starbucks.  But when it comes to an organizing principle guiding “product,” many underdeliver — which is quite odd since the product almost always precedes brand work.

So why does one create an organizing principle for a product that already exists? Well, it’s useful when making changes to the product. When creating product extensions.  When franchising the product. When dealing with supply chain issues. How about when dealing with quality control. Or hiring people who design the product. Apple certainly gets this. No Evil Foods understands. Marmot subscribes. 

Marketers who fully understand their product’s, provenance, heritage, DNA, differentiators and UPS (unique selling proposition), have the easiest ways forward. And the most organized. And most principled.