First question, “Do you have a brand?” Most marketers will answer yes.
Second questions, “Do you have a brand strategy?” Those same people are likely to pause then offer a less-than-emphatic yes.
Third question, “Can you articulate your brand strategy?” This is where the homina-homina kicks in.
It’s a simple fact that most brand practitioners (meaning client side marketing or brand managers) have brands but not a tight articulation of strategy. Most agencies (ad, digital, PR, direct) also don’t follow a tight articulation of brand strategy — because one doesn’t exist. Brand strategy is the least scientific business tool in commerce. It’s viewed as an ideal. Not a framework.
Brand strategy is an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging; all three of which are marketing’s domain. Brand strategy framework comprises one claim, three proof planks.
Ask Interbrand, Landor, Future Brand, Siegel+Gale, Lippincott, Brand Union and Wolff Olins what their framework for brand strategy is and all you are likely to get is brand-babble, talk about process and case studies. They are long on smart people, insights, approaches, logos and style guides, but not framework. No business-winning binary (either you are “on” or “off”) approach to building a brand.
When you have a true framework that shows when work is on or off strategy, you have found the brand building grail.