definition of brand strategy

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I run a humble little brand consultancy.  Marketing consultancies and business consultancies are way more easily found if you Google them. Same if you search the topics on Amazon. But I chose to look at improved business metrics from the brand standpoint — ergo the “humble” reference. Not many in search of more revenue or margin are thinking brand.  For me, brand is the strategy — defined as “An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”

I find brand strategists to be divided among the most and least sophisticated people in the marketing business. Those who get it, can redistribute marketing wealth.  Those who don’t, sell you a new logo. Both types of brand strategist have frameworks for their output: qualitative and quantitative research as bedrock, a brief as the worksheet, and some type of presentation sizzle, to “get to yes.”

When I look at my business and the businesses of other brand strategists, what separates the good from the bad can be described in one word: Instinct.  What ideas, words, market positions and images are best suited to generate consumer fealty. It’s that simple. Framework easy. Instinct hard.

Peace.

 

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I often wonder if the targets for my business truly understand what I do. Those targets, CMOs, directors of marketing and small and mid-size business owners, read “brand consultancy” and get the consultant part, but may not truly understand the depth of the word brand. Brand today is both a noun and a verb.  

Many think brand is a mark or logo. Something that, through design, helps consumers with product identity. The whole branded cattle history thing. For people who view brands this way a brand consultancy is all logo, name, style guide and, perhaps, tagline. When AT&T spun off Lucent in the 90s, the whole process, exquisitely implemented by the way, cost millions. A year later, the company had a new name, logo, building signs, stock symbol and ad campaign. But not a brand strategy. (Peter Kim’s “$14B tech startup” aside.)

The reality is, especially in today service economy, a brand is a living breathing thing. My definition of brand strategy as “an organizing principle for Product, Experience and Messaging.” Most of my targets understand this definition better. In fact, they are more apt to acknowledge needing and organizing principle that they are a brand strategy.  

So moving forward my mission it to educate my targets as to this new definition. It will be a long road but one I expect will redistribute marketing wealth in my direction. Onward.

Peace.

 

 

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Many people in the advertising, marketing and branding business get tongue-tied when asked to define branding.  Or brand for that matter. We come up with short pithy things such as “A brand is a vessel into which we pour meaning.”  For years, that was actually one of my favorites.   As a consultant with some clients falling into the mid-size business category, I need something more tangible. “Organizing principle” are the two words I use most often now. The extended version is “An organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  It’s a nice definition – perhaps the best I’ve come across. It defines branding – the verb for used for manage the brand (noun).

But an organizing principle as a descriptor doesn’t really provide pay-off or consummation of the act. It’s just the theory. It is the framework of the organizing principle that makes believers out of brand manager. And the frame work at Whats’s The Idea? is “one claim, three proof planks.” These are the parameters of the organizing principle. The tangible guidance.

Many brand planners love fluidity. They enjoy freedom for their ideas. I enjoy the freedom of a plan, a focus, and a finite value array for doing more business. That’s what an organizing principle does. Peace.

 

 

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