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Strategic Planning

When it comes to having a brand strategy, it’s not enough to simply have a few bullet points of what you want to do. Brands today need both a thorough understanding of why they choose certain strategies and a detailed outline of what their strategies will be.

Why?

Because the more detailed you are in your branding strategy, the easier it will be to succeed when you execute those strategies.

Here are three things every brand needs to define:

  • What is your brand’s objective?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How does your brand define long-term success?

Knowing the answers to each question will help determine what your goals should be, how you should approach your customers and how you’ll measure your success in meeting your goals.

Creative messaging

As CEO of BBDO, Andrew Robertson mentioned at a 2017 AT&T Shape event, media leaders like Sheryl Sandberg made it clear to him that

“80% of available return is a function of the creative and of the content”

A brand’s success is attributed to having the right creative message and not just being in the “right time” or “right place.”

What does Robertson’s comment mean? It means that your focus shouldn’t be solely on the tech involved; instead, concentrate primarily on story and positioning

What is a brand strategy?

A brand strategy can be hard to define but encompasses:

  • What your brand stands for.
  • What promises your brand makes to customers.
  • What personality your brand conveys through its marketing.

As you can see, many of these things are intangible. How do you measure how successful you are at conveying a certain personality? How do you measure if you’ve successfully stood for what your brand represents, or if you could be doing it better?

The one main metric for successful brand strategy is brand sentiment. And just because it’s hard to measure, it doesn’t mean that you should dismiss it. It may not be as easy to quantify, but it’s too easy for analytical CEOs to dismiss the qualitative work involved in branding. As Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made so clear:

The designing of experience is a different part of your brain than the scaling [of] your experience. It’s a different skill set. The scaling experience is a highly analytical, operations-oriented, and technology-oriented problem. The designing of experience is a more intuition-based human, empathetic, end-to-end experience.

It seems almost trivial, but in a larger company, these two different skill sets would be handled by two entirely different teams that probably don’t often commingle, let alone agree on everything. That’s how you waste time, money and energy. In a small startup, you might be missing a “creative” angle altogether.

Does this resonate? Some see branding as fluffy, touchy-feely emotional stuff. But that’s a superficial way to describe it. Branding is critical to your brand’s existence! It also feeds your entire team’s culture. Let’s dive into this skill set.

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