Brand strategy first, execute second

The best brand strategy in the world can only make a positive impact on your business if it’s embraced by your people and rolled out into the marketplace effectively. On the flipside, the most effective marketing executions are driven by strong brand strategy that define the brand’s value, positioning, messaging and pinpoint why people should care or even take any notice at all.

Some say that good creative that cuts through is the result of beautifully designed and executed marketing material.

Right? Not quite, we say it’s only half of the equation.

Investing valuable time and resources into developing a brand strategy can’t be understated. Businesses do it for many reasons. Some are looking for a competitive advantage, to stand-out and be noticed more, tell their story better, align their people or simply sell more of their products and services. In many cases, the hidden value in brand strategy workshops is getting company management and their teams together to have focused conversations that determine the brand’s meaning and relevance.

It’s all too easy to get carried away with the excitement of creating the new brand identity or starting that next big marketing campaign. Why? Because we all love diving headfirst into working with our designers and getting creative.

Ideally, we should take a step back at the very beginning of projects to consider why we are doing what we are doing. A good place to focus is to review or develop your brand strategy and what you stand for. By not starting with strategy and rushing into developing creative executions, it’s easy to start burning hours without really understanding project fundamentals like; what are the business objectives, what will motivate the customers, and how will the brand strategy guide and inform the marketing creative and execution that will follow.

Brand strategy first…

At Di Marca, we believe the starting point to executing projects is always going back to the client’s brand strategy first. Or, if it’s a new client and one doesn’t exist, we start the conversation about the value to the business of developing their brand strategy. Sometimes we even invite them to talk with our clients about what they got out of the process and why brand strategy is now at the centre of their decision making.

Di Marca’s Brand Bullseye strategy workshops are led by experienced facilitators who guide our clients on the journey of dismantling, letting go and rebuilding their brand stories in ways that are compelling, easy to understand and bring their vision for the business into reality.

This important strategic work will create the framework that influences how people will think and feel about your business and its products and services. The workshops will dig deep into who you are, what you do and uncover why people should believe in you and what you have to offer. It will define a set of expectations, stories and experiences that combine together to create customer relationships and account for why people decide to choose your product or service over another.

A simple way to think about it is a ‘promise’ you deliver to your customers. It’s what they are going to get out of doing business with you.

The end result will give your business a strategic brand blueprint for the next decade and align your entire organisation with the business vision.

…execute second

Execution of your marketing and communications planning is where the rubber hits the road. You get to roll your sleeves up, engage in creative briefings and develop rollout plans and budgets to bring the brand strategy and marketing plan to life.

There is a lot of effort and investment that goes into planning the execution of your marketing programs. Intense teamwork is required in identifying, anticipating, developing and delivering what your customers want in a way they can easily access.

The best brands in the world become distinctive and memorable by putting their brand strategy at the centre of every decision they make, and this includes the creation and execution of marketing programs.

Brand strategy + execution = results!

A strong brand strategy that is executed well is good for business, it creates value and contributes to the bottom line.

Your brand strategy’s promise is realised when the development of your products and services, marketing, communications, customer service and your company culture are all aligned, inspired and driven by the company’s vision and brand strategy.

Think of brand strategy as an insurance policy that keeps the entire marketing effort and your people focused and aligned. Through this alignment, your marketing plan becomes a powerful set of tools that will actively turn what your brand strategy promises into profits through greater awareness, appeal and engagement. At the same time it will differentiate the real value of your brand over the competition.

It’s always good to remind yourself that strategy and execution can’t live effectively without the other. It’s not worth risking all your investment of time and money in going to market without your vision for the business, brand strategy and marketing execution being aligned and working together.