Here’s a really interesting, inspiring and fun article on Brand Strategy by Mark Ritson for Marketing Week.

If you don’t have time to read it here are my top three take outs from it:

  1. Brand Strategy depends on preparation – finding out what has been done in the past, what worked, what didn’t, what is happening in the market, with consumers, competitors. This diagnostic stage should be given time. Consider executing your brand strategy in line with the start of your financial year and work back from that.
  2. Brand Strategy is deciding what not to do with your brand. You cannot do everything and you certainly can’t do everything well. Your strategy should represent a clear set of choices that lead to your goal. Do not try to target everyone. Do not try to have as many brand values as possible. Do not try to use every marketing channel and every tactic. Kill anything that does not make sense.
  3. Strategy always comes before tactics. All tactical decisions should be made based on the brand strategy, which is made based on the diagnosis. Or – diagnosis feeds strategy which then feeds tactics.
  4. Brand Strategies are based on the answers to three questions.
    1. Who are you targeting? Unless you have enormous budgets for mass marketing, your marketing should be split into brand and activation (short terms)  campaigns, which are more specific.
    1. What do you stand for? This is about what you want your target audience to think of when they think of your brand.
    1. How will you achieve this? The brand strategy is a very clear and tight list of objectives that direct the activities of the brand for the coming year. The backbone of this is the building of customised purchase funnels – the 4 or 5 stages that take a consumer from ignorance to repeat purchase and brand advocacy. Objectives must be smart. And SMART.

I love brand strategy – Mark Ritson has it bang on here. Really simple stuff but as with most things, it’s the things that look simple that are the hardest work.