obs and strats

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Two days ago I promised to share some business metrics side-by-side with brand metrics, letting you decide which are more actionable?  I’ll make up a few business metrics and then use real life brand metrics from clients.

Business Metrics:

  • Increase percent of sales of services over hardware.
  • Reduce cost to acquire a customer.
  • Increase topline revenue by 6%.
  • Increase visitors to the website by 10%.

Brand Metrics:

  • Prove improved classroom design increases test scores.
  • Prove that digital security at the root level is more effective than the device level.
  • Prove global security is more effective when private and public sectors work together.
  • Prove commercial building maintenance is less costly when proactive rather than reactive.

Now you might argue that the business metrics seem like objectives and the brand metrics like strategies. But the simple fact is, these brand metrics are measurable. Brand strategy conflates obs and strats. Brand strategy drives the how. It’s a roadmap for the how. When you have a discrete how story (3 proof planks supporting one brand claim) you have clarity of business purpose.  

Brand strategy is not a color palette. Not a logo. Not a campaign. It’s a business winning organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.

Peace.

 

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In my lifetime and the lifetime of What’s The Idea?, I’ve probably written 50 marketing plans.  Their formats are all pretty much the same: market situation, key issues, objectives, strategies, targets and messages, tactics, budget and timeline.  To the uninitiated who might read one of these plans, once past the up-front market review and obs and strats, the tactics of one plan might look like the others. Interchangeable almost. probably containing ads, PR, direct, web, promotion and social. Simple, undifferentiated line items on an excel chart.

The fact is, it’s the brand strategy that really sets one plan apart from the next. Every dollar spent is guided by a brand claim and three proof planks – or supports.  The tactics aren’t just random copy with fill in the blank marketing claims. Every piece of external and internal communications, meant to position and sell, is scripted. Well not scripted, but guided.

Branding strategy is an organized principle for building brand value and sales, based on consumer care-abouts and brand good-ats.

Brand strategy is the secret sauce to every marketing plan.

Peace.

 

 

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When I was a kid in the business the worst thing a supervisor could say to you — and it happened to me — was “you need to be more strategic.” Ouch. So I worked on my strategy chops. I read Peter Drucker, marketing manuals and texts, participated in corporate task forces. I sponged up strategy and I did fieldwork.

Today, as a consultant, I offer two outputs: brand briefs and marketing plans. The latter provides obs, strats, targets and tactics and is critical for successful business…at least the obs and strats are. The marketing plan is what builders need before that start assembling things. It’s the bread and butter of my consulting practice. People can execute, given a plan.

But the real magic is in the brand brief. It conditions employees to sell and position. It boils down the marko-babble into an easy-to-understand, differentiated, business winning value proposition. Brand briefs are the elixir of success. Yet some clients and minions nod their heads toward the brand strategy (one claim, 3 proof planks) but don’t really live it. Whenever I see this at an ex-client it hurts. BrandTuitive, brand planning friends in the city, do a whole training session, post strategy, to insure unrequited brand strategy doesn’t happen. I think I may try putting training into my next proposal. Unrequited strategy is too painful. It hurts too deeply. Away unrequited strategy!

Peace.

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I would not be surprised to see Yahoo sold to Jerry Yang and the Texas Pacific Group (TPG) fairly quickly. Yahoo, with lots of schmutz on its shoes, is still one of the top 5 tech brands in the world. And what is a brand but a vessel into which we poor meaning. Organized meaning. Yahoo’s fix requires an Is-Does. What a brand Is and what a brand Does.

Is it a portal?
Is it search engine?
Is it an advertising company?
Is it a web content publisher?
Is it a technology company?

Does it provide news?
Does it provide entertainment?
Does it provide organization?
Does it provide results?

Yahoo needs to retrench and make tough decisions — and that will only happen if the property is sold. A public company with lots of shareholders, Yahoo will get its Yahoo! back with new leadership, some old leadership, tough love, and a brand plan. And when I say brand plan I don’t mean a new logo, new color palette and an replacement agency for Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.  I mean an organizing principle for marketing.  A plan that inform every decision made by the company — from hiring to firing to what new mobile services to launch.

When dimensionalized through obs and strats, a brand plan creates marketing clarity. TPG doesn’t speak like this, but they know how to make it happen. It’s about time. Peace. 

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