Let’s face it, brand strategies come in all shapes and sizes. Brand models. Brand platforms. Onions. Worlds. Keys. Pyramids. All populated with a multitude of words. Vision. Mission. Values. Beliefs. Behaviours. Purpose. Promise. Personality. Proposition. Customer value Proposition. Employee value proposition. Sometimes summarised in a ‘big idea’. A brand story. Boilerplate. Descriptor. Or manifesto.
Strategists also come in all shapes and sizes. Planner. Consultant. Strategist. Creative Strategist. Generalist. Specialist. V-shaped. Or T-shaped. Not defined by their choice of clothes, but with a specialism ‘and’ an ability to bring the right people into the team when required across disciplines and channels. Very wise. Whilst some Planners profess towards knowing it all, others are confident in sticking to their knitting.
I personally like Dom Boyd’s (group head of strategy at adam&eveDDB) definition of ‘brand entrepreneurship’, from last September’s edition of Admap (ideas and evidence for marketing people), “Strategists now need to be less thinkers who hold the strategic line and more like activists who proactively stiff out competitive commercial opportunities and make them happen.” In other words, you need to be business savvy. A brand entrepreneur helps an organisation step into the future by setting out a compelling vision. They make change happen by driving commercial innovation.
As well as being entrepreneurial, I believe a good brand strategist has to understand and want to deliver brand holistically. They won’t only define an emotive, compelling idea based on human insight, but will want to see it translated through great visual identity and tone of voice. But they shouldn’t stop there. Because they should also have the will to bring it to life, inside and out, through culture and customer experience via employee engagement and user experience design. Even if working alongside fellow specialists.
Brand is a philosophy after all. A philosophy which guides how the brand communicates. Its tone, look and feel. Its physical presence, regardless of channel, and innovation. As well as how it behaves and interacts via people and technology. A benchmark to test everything against.
I may be a strategist. A ‘thinker’ as they often call us. But I love the collaborative process of working together with designers to translate a brand idea and story into creative. It’s why I love what I do here at the Team. Along with the knowledge that I have teammates alongside me with the right expertise to bring a Brand Purpose to life inside and out.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of putting this philosophy into practice by working with Rightmove. Setting out the brand strategy and then bringing it to life by forging a partnership with Creative Lead and Senior Designers Clare and Curtis. Working together to create an identity and tone of voice that reflected the purpose and personality, underpinned by one simple human truth: home is where the heart is.
Then in turn, we forged a partnership with the client across their consumer and business-to-business marketing teams and website designers. Only this way could we create a brand experience that works across channels.
These are professional partnerships that are fundamental to a brand’s success. So let’s not let labels, agency or client departmental silos, get in the way of great work.
At the Team we believe in creating and delivering ideas with our clients, not for them. It’s why we’re called the Team. The clue is in our name. Working together enables us to play to our strengths. Ideas believed. Ideas delivered.