Brand strategy is much more than marketing theory
Brands have evolved from being a marketing function to an integral part of the overall business strategy and operation - come hear Patrick Collings at the Integrated Brand Strategy workshop, hosted by Knowledge Resources.
As brands expand out of the marketing department and increasingly make their way to the boardroom and the heart of corporate strategy, the question facing many brand strategists and managers is what management thinking and tools are needed to develop and manage brands.
Much has already been written that marketing thinking needs to break out of its silo and better integrate with the rest of the organization, and that marketing directors and their departments must evolve into the new and more demanding requirements of their roles.
However, it is not only marketing theory and tools that need to change to create more effective brand strategies and executions.
Brand strategists and managers need to explore and understand the theories and tools of other management disciplines in order to build better brands. Managers from other management disciplines would do equally well to ask how brands impact on their thinking. The reason for both is simple and compelling: brand strategy is business strategy.
At the start of any business venture there is the talent and resources of the people involved. Which industry they decide to invest their efforts into is up to them. But once they have decided what to do, the brand determines what they do next and after that.
For example, if a group of people wanted to make luxury pens, their business model would be very different to the business model they would employ to make cheap plastic pens. The brand positioning would determine the type of materials that went into the pens, the packaging of the pens, the positioning of the retail outlets, the advertising campaigns, and the user experience of owning the pen.
It is not only the positioning in the industry that the brand influences but also the all important relationship between the company and its audience. A relationship that to one extent or another is defined by the perception and experience, provided by the brand.
Reaching into other management disciplines to find answers are not new, but largely underutilised by managers and strategists.
Finance has already been hard at work over how to value brands and their contribution to the market value of the organisation. Currently a number of methodologies are competing to emerge as the dominate methodology to value brands.
As turbulence and change define the socio-economic landscape that brands play in, scenario planning is an increasingly valuable tool for brand mangers to embrace. Scenario planning provided one of the foundations for respected marketing academic Philip Kotler's recent book, Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence, which he co-authored with business strategist John Caslione.
Although not explicitly identified, brand positioning plays a key role in the internationally-acclaimed blue ocean strategy methodology developed by business strategy academics W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. The blue ocean strategy deals with creating uncontested market space.
Traditional marketing research is also being challenged by global research house Synovate which is taking a more holistic approach to brand research and looks at all the important factors that influence and affect consumers, and not just the marketing communication. Included in Synovate's Brand Value Creator model are factors such as the business processes and the marketing environment in which the brand finds itself.
The stated or implied importance of brands continues as one reads across the articles and publications emerging from management consultancies around the world. Darrell Rigby, a partner in management consultancy Bain & Company, writes in his book, Winning in Turbulence, of the importance of understanding the relationship between customers and the brand/organisation. Understanding the changes in that relationship translates into reorganising corporate strategy and even the corporate itself.
The digital arena is one where marketing can create awareness about a brand but that awareness often needs to be coupled to a transaction and customer service systems.
Brands have evolved from being a marketing function to an integral part of the overall business strategy and operation. The range of management thinking and tools used by brand strategists and managers must also expand to build successful brands and companies.
About the author
Patrick Collings (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior brand strategist and partner in Sagacite, a management and creative consultancy. Patrick will be facilitating a two-day Integrated Brand Strategy Workshop on 9-10 March, hosted by Knowledge Resources. To find out more about this workshop please contact, Magdeline, on +27 11 880 8540. Email: Magdeline@knowres.co.za.
More Knowledge Resources articles
Visit our PRESS OFFICE:
Knowledge Resources is a leading knowledge provider in the world of work. Our products and business offerings enable people to grow their potential, to be productive, respected, valued and to flourish.- more....