And yes, brand strategy is that simple. ‘A’ is where you are now and ‘B’ is where you want your brand to be – your brand objective. The bit in between is not strategy, it’s the tactics you use to reach your objective.
Okay, the concept is simple but I admit that planning and applying it requires a lot of application. Knowing where you are may not be as straightforward as it seems. You need to be objective and step ‘outside the brand’ for a while. There may be a good deal of research and assessment to understand where you are – and where your competitors’ brands are. You may need some measurement to quantify your current brand position.
Looking at ‘B’, and setting your objective should be straightforward, but there are often difficulties. Most businessmen are great at working ‘on’ their business. They do what they do – they do it well and they try to keep doing it better and better. Experience suggests that if you keep improving your operations you progress. That’s great, but it leads us to focus on the immediate future and for objective setting we need to see a bigger picture, beyond the next few yards to a spot on the horizon.
Setting brand objectives requires a ‘big picture’ view. It a strategic vision that you need, the detail comes later in the tactics. There are various techniques to help establish your brand objectives (including good old SMART objective setting), but keep it strong and simple. Often your brand objective may be involved in intangibles such as values, respect and emotional engagement. These things are not easy to quantify, but it is worthwhile trying to find some measures by which you will know when you have reached your objective. These may come from soft measures such as customer recommendations, positive press coverage, brand associations, levels of complaints or changing user profile. You may need a qualitative research programme – perhaps at both ends of the journey to measure how far you have come.
Just remember that the essence of strategy is simplicity – ‘A’ to ‘B’.