Who cares about brand strategy anyway?

In our experience, only a few people do. Which makes sense as most people don’t know what strategy actually is.

When branding your business, how often do you think about what you’re trying to achieve outside of the creative process? And, more importantly, who are you trying to attract?

Sevenfive has been lucky to work with several large organisations and prominent brands. They have the vision, experience, and resources to create a strategy and see it through—sometimes. But at the core of our expertise is building brands for SMEs.

For most managing directors, owners/managers, and marketing managers who spend their time at the coal face, brand strategy isn’t a priority. Some don’t even have a plan.

Is it OK to just have a plan?
Only if the plan has a goal. And if you have the goal first, maybe we’re halfway to creating a strategy.
But strategy is hard, and having a plan is not a strategy—even if you tell yourself that it is. If your plan is a list of actions with no real point to them, and you lack any idea of how to achieve your goal, then your strategy is missing in action.

So, what is brand strategy?
This is the crucial bit. Your strategy is a way to position yourself so you can win.

You need to establish the Why: Why does your brand exist? Not what it does, but why it does it?

The How? How are we going to deliver this message to the customer?

The What? So, what actually is it you’re selling? A service, software, a product?

And Who: Who is the target market? Because everything needs to be aimed squarely at this market.

When combined, these elements build the foundations for a strong brand strategy.

This is boring; how does it help me?
Just planning to do stuff is comforting because you’re the customer. You control the situation, and you’re happy if you get what you want. Do you want to post three times a week on Instagram, take out some ads? Go for it. Because when you do it you’ve followed through on your plan and you’ve pleased the customer, you.

However, a strategy identifies a specific outcome that makes customers want you or your product, which is essential. Planning the three posts a week comes later.

You can’t guarantee it will happen, but you can put actions in place to help it happen.

Do you want to make a plan, or do you want to win?

To use a phrase coined by Roger Martin (@HarvardBusinessReview), don’t just ‘play to play’. Create a strategy that makes you better. Play to win.

We help SMEs build brands, and the ones where we can develop a strategy first are always the most successful.

If you only plan, you could lose. If you have a strategy, you have a better chance of winning.

Want to know more? Get in touch.