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Understanding brand strategy

I was recently asked how I’d assist a company with brand strategy. As a critical part of how a company presents itself to their customer base, and a key component to its growth and success, providing a short quick answer to such a complex challenge is tough. Throughout my career I’ve helped companies define their brands, aligning marketing efforts in numerous ways. Here’s a brief synopsis of my thoughts on this essential process.



Brand strategy is the ability to understand and influence conversations about your company and your products. A good plan considers the current state of your brand – your strengths, your vision, and your offer – and builds a path toward the thoughts and feelings you want people to have about you and your products. You want to influence what people associate with your brand, how they feel about it, create a distinct identity and an ideal position within your industry. Jeff Bezos simplifies it by saying “A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” 



Goals are often positioned around customer awareness and brand loyalty while defining target audiences. Elements of a brand strategy include:

  • Purpose

  • Consistency

  • Emotional Impact

  • Flexibility

  • Employee Involvement

  • Loyalty

  • Competitive Awareness



Once a strategy is in place, teams should stay on brand to tell this story. Efforts can be focused and driven by data and statistics (such as sales, price points and customer purchasing habits) while analyzing market trends, balanced with the business directives. Certain brands I’ve worked with accomplished their strategy extremely well, while others struggled. One company had a product in three distinct brands separated by quality and price, marketed to three distinct type of customers, yet their photography was shot similarly down to the exact same lighting. I suggested we adjust the look to match these products and where they sat within the industry, applying simpler lighting to the base product, slightly nuanced lighting for the mid-range product, and highly stylized lighting for the top-of-the-line product. This would be one small way of helping customers understand the differences in a product that could look the same in a photograph.

Giving a voice to your brand is also a collaborative effort, often centered around marketing’s high-level Creatives (Brand Managers, Brand Directors/Strategists), CMOs, and company leadership. Brand execution however involves all departments from merchants to marketing to brick-and-mortar to create a unified identity. Marketing teams execute brand strategy in different ways. Visual branding through photography or video should be shot with a consistent style, flare, mood, following set of defining parameters. As for designers and illustrators, uniformity in media assets is applied through choices of design, homogeneous fonts, typography, color palettes, and logo use. Copywriters verbalize this process utilizing specific words, phrases, and tag lines. Web teams create site consistency through layout and assets, delivering a high level of customer experience. This is why it’s critical for digital production teams to update lighting and style guides often, realigning these brand blueprints with creative and strategic partners as they affect teams across the process. When pivoting within your team, collaborate on new ideas to ensure you stay on brand while receiving leadership approval.



Brand strategy improves company and product recognition, a cornerstone to success. You must have a good strategy in place, pivot when necessary, and execute all the fine details to uniform the message. It’s a story every employee utilizes as part of their job to help map the customer’s journey.


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