By Reghard Goussard, an EO South Africa – Cape Town member and the CEO of Arctic Circle, a strategic brand agency building brands from inception to becoming loved by consumers.
The concept of strategy has been around for centuries. Most of the great leaders of antiquity were renowned for their strategic minds and exploits. There are multiple examples of how strategy has influenced the growth of a nation, the spread of an idea, the building of a land mark that is visible from space or how it has predetermined and affected the outcome of a battle.
How can you expect your brand to be successful in having any kind of impact on anyone if it is completely absent of strategy? This question becomes even more powerful when you consider the ever increasing competitive nature and dynamic needs and wants on consumers. It is glaringly obvious, in order for a brand to succeed, it needs strategy.
The “Why of Brand Strategy” is becoming more evident in the modern world of brand building. In the present economic recessionary market, where consumer confidence is on the rise again, but where trust in brands has been eroded, a large amount of brands are re-branding, repositioning or evolving.
The end result is a myriad of brands that are re-branding, but without focus or direction. There are too many repositioning of brands, and not enough evolution of brands. Not enough time has been spent crafting the core intrinsic elements of the brand, i.e. the higher ideal, the identity, the essence, the proposition and so forth.
This highlights and alludes to the Why of brand Strategy. There are so many brands that continue to communicate and survive without any clear definition of who they are and where they are going. As brand strategist and marketing people, we read a myriad of case studies that proves the point that the most successful brands are confident in who they are, i.e. they know exactly who they are, why they exists and what they want to achieve. Accordingly these core brand elements never change; it should be the expression thereof that changes. The image, the pictures and sometimes the language change in order to re-express what the brand stands for and why you should believe in it.
Brand Strategy is there to not only define and help shape the core intrinsic elements of a brand, but also there to help reshape these intrinsic elements once they become lost. As human beings we cannot successfully and vibrantly exist if we do not have these core building blocks in place, so how can we then expect our Brands to thrive, exist and grow if they do not have this in place.
Brand Strategy is absolutely essential in the development of your brand and its success. Not because it gives you a marketing plan or communications plan, but because it helps you understand what your brand is, where it is going and most importantly, what makes it, unique – an engaging, compelling and unique entity that people want to associate with.
Good strategy should present you with a plan that has been specifically developed for your brand that will help you overcome the specific barriers that your brand is facing. It should be long term and answer to specific objectives and outcomes.
“When you have attained the Way of strategy there will be not one thing that you cannot understand” and “You will see the Way in everything”. (Miyamoto Musashi – A book of five rings)
“I know that strategy is a living, breathing, totally dynamic game. It’s fun—and fast.” “And it’s alive”. “In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell. (Jack Welch – Winning)
Strategy is powerful and it can have a significant effect on the success of your business and your Brand – all that needs to happen is for you to embrace it and surround yourself with the right people who understand the right strategy in order to bring the right strategy to life. (Jack Welch, Winning, 2005)
At the end of it all, you need to ask yourself, “is my agency strategic enough and not too creative”.