The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. Simplicity and importance are not mutually exclusive.

That sounds simple enough, and it can be very simple indeed, but it is also absolutely mind-boggling how often leaders across disciplines, industries, and at all levels screw up when it comes to developing basic brand and marketing strategies. Others seem to never get around to developing a strategy at all.

Leaders fail to appreciate the importance of developing a brand strategy, how tactics fit into a strategy, and the difference between the two. With alarming regularity, directors and managers don’t spend the time to develop a campaign strategy, only to find themselves surprised when their campaigns lose.

BRAND STRATEGY & DEVELOPMENT: Developing a brand strategy starts with understanding your position in the marketplace and ends with details such as the wording of an advertisement. Carefully researched, well thought-out and focused on details and execution, rather than resting on a single, grand idea.

CREATIVE DIRECTION: Creative direction helps define the very core of your marketing message, it is essential to enabling results-driven creative. It underpins your brand content and encapsulates the major themes to be communicated to your target audience. It also helps shape the audience’s emotive response in line with your brand. And that’s extremely important, because in both B2C and B2B marketing channels your target audience is heavily swayed by how your marketing message makes them feel. A significant percentage of us rely on gut instinct to help us decide between options. And, in many cases, we then rationalize our choices—after the fact. Creative direction acts on a combination of logic and emotional intelligence.


CAMPAIGN PLANNING & EXECUTION: Campaigners can articulate where they are now, and where they would like to be, but can in no way say how they are going to get to that desired outcome other than by “working on the campaign,” and “hoping” that the campaign somehow reaches its goal. Without directly stating it, they are relying on some outside force, or in many cases, a miracle, to win the campaign. A campaign strategy fills in that blank spot in the equation. It clearly articulates the way forward, and when challenged, can offer a convincing and realistic path to success.

BRAND LAUNCH: The opportunity to market a new, enhanced brand is an exciting chapter for any business. Though the process may present various obstacles to overcome, an effective brand launch can completely define and redefine the business’s future potential.


So ask yourself a few questions about strategy:

  • -Do you have a clear goal?
  • -Do you have a careful plan that, if followed and well implemented, will guarantee that you will achieve your goal?
  • -If I asked your colleagues, directors, board members, and business partners what your brand strategy is, would they all say the same thing?
  • -Can you tell us specifically when your campaign is going to win?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, congratulations! You are on your way to success. If you answered “not really,” “kind of,” “sort of”,“maybe,” “I’m not sure,” or our favorite response, “I hope so,” to any of these questions, then Houston, we have a problem.

Hope is not a strategy. You need to stop what you are doing in your campaign right now and fix this problem before doing anything else. These may seem very basic or obvious, and in many ways they are, but we would venture that the majority, if not the overwhelming majority, of campaigns underway today have skipped or inadequately completed many of these basic steps.

We are in tune to deliver a clear and actionable strategy using a combination of brand values, target audiences, goals, logic, and emotional intelligence.