How & Why a Strategy-First Ethos Translates to Brand Success01.30.18 / David Lemley
In the early stages of vetting an agency, marketers often tell us they need an updated, cool packaging design and a re-skin for their existing website design. And some are quite surprised to learn that we take a strategy-first approach. Essentially, this means all of our client engagements begin with brand strategy before we ever touch design.
The conversation usually changes rapidly when we start asking questions about sales, competitive landscape, product development, vision, and employee morale. We then ask about research, historical data, and their gut instinct. By this point, we begin discussing what brand strategy does for an organization prior to and during the process of updating the look and feel of their marketing.
Brand strategy speaks to a brand’s unique point of difference as well as the brand’s values. And it needs to be unique, ownable, compelling, and consistent. Compelling brand strategy goes beyond marketing to become the roadmap for all other areas of your business: operations, HR, product development, and sales.
A clear and definitive brand strategy will provide a strong foundation to drive awareness, loyalty, and profits while you build your brand.
Brand Vision & Purpose
Your company’s future is more than the sum of its parts – the tactics and products you create to generate revenue. Brand strategy provides a clear, compelling, and differentiated organizational future. Aspirational positioning will help your team to define why you do what you do and how it makes a difference in the world.
We call this your brand purpose – it’s who you are and why you exist beyond making a profit. Organizational values and founding principles play an important role in creating your brand’s real reason to believe.
Unified Brand Language
Having a common language is key to implementing brand strategy. Unified language sets a consistent and authentic vocabulary to discuss your strategies. It is the surest way to get what was created in the boardroom as inspiration and aspiration to become believable at the front line.
We believe that reality exists in language. And the quickest, most authentic way to align everyone in your organization is to develop a common vocabulary around your values system. This will help everyone discuss, believe, and ultimately implement your company’s vision, mission, and brand promise.
Without an agreed upon set of vocabulary and mutually understood definitions, your brand is subject to the loudest voices in the room or the nay-sayers chanting, “We’ve always done it this way.”
We have found that using data to establish a unified language helps your team to avoid a wrestling match over visual preference at the eleventh hour by those who are strong personalities, most outspoken or simply longest-tenured people.
Brand strategy provides key messaging formats to make sure that prospective and loyal customers understand what you value, represent, and offer. And it empowers your leadership to make confident choices when it comes to design translation of strategy. This is where your entire team moves from personal bias, competitive fears, doubts, and preferences because they are now armed with a clear vision, believable differentiating mission, and vocabulary with which to communicate about your brand.
Armed with vision, mission, and purpose, your team is far more adept at useful innovation that will deliver your brand’s promises and subsequently drive growth. During the brand strategy process, we help teams to build innovation filters that remove subjectivity from the equation.
Confidence in Your Brand Translates to Market Advantage
Communication becomes an opportunity to share and implement your brand strategy. It drives identity, packaging, and marketing systems rather than your marketing team chasing competitors, visual trends, or category norms.
We are in the business of creating immense value that provides you unfair advantage in the marketplace. And that is why Retail Voodoo adheres to our strategy-first ethos.