If you know G/L, you know we’ve always talked about the importance of brand strategy. It’s been central to our 30+ years. It’s why we created Distilled Thinking, our 5-step comprehensive brand discovery and development process. However, CMOs throughout the industry are realizing the importance of brand strategy as defining who they are as a brand has become more important than ever during this past year.
In a recent Gartner survey of 400 CMOs and senior marketers, a strong majority said that brand strategy was the most important factor to their success over the next 18 months. While we’ve seen the same thing, it is great to see some data to back it up since we believe so strongly in its importance. That’s why we have been creating insightful and actionable brand strategies for so long. It’s at the core of any successful marketing and communications plan.
After reviewing the Marketing Week article, of course we had no choice but to dive into the analysis. It presented three steps that brands should take to reexamine their strategy, and those three we felt were interesting thought starters.
Define Your Target
First, look before you leap. It is important to really think about how your customers see you, how the market sees you, what your strengths and weaknesses are. Sure, we all know SWOT analysis. But when’s the last time you’ve given it more than just lip service?
Decide What You Want to Stand For
Next, brand strategy is as much about what you will NOT do as what you will. You have to be deliberate with your choices as a brand. You can’t be everything to everyone. Many brands do try to use this shotgun strategy, only to dilute their brand and confuse the market as to what they are or what they stand for. Define your course and keep your focus narrow.
Define Your Strategy, then your Tactics
Finally, and this is one we hear around our office all the time, define your strategy before your tactics. Execution is not a strategy. Media buys are not a strategy. Social media posts are not a strategy. These tactics will reflect your strategy, but brands must pull back and see the forest before the trees. Or realizing the horse goes before the cart. Whatever saying you prefer, by creating your strategy first, your tactics will be more focused and much, much stronger, because they will be working together and supporting each other, not to mention speaking with one, singular voice.
Your brand is important. In the end, it is your single most important asset. So it is time to treat it as such, not just as an afterthought. That is why we would like to discuss what our three decades of brand strategy can do for yours. Get in touch, and let’s talk branding.