Light Your Way With A Brand Strategy

July 31, 2017

I wrote a movie script. It goes like this:

Flashlight.jpgHello. I’m Kevin Walker from Boardwalk. I’m standing in the dark because I want to illustrate a point about the value of having a well-considered brand strategy. Any business, product, service, campaign or event needs to be marketed. And if you have something that needs to be marketed then you need a clear brand strategy to light your way. Otherwise, your marketing team, like so many these days, will be operating in the dark. Now, even when a marketing team is lost in the dark, they still have tactical options. They can do the things most marketing teams do. They can improve their website, run some ads or print a brochure. But they will be feeling their way, lacking a clear direction, and always in fear of falling off a cliff or running into a wall or some other obstacle because … well, they’re in the dark. They have no vision. They can’t even be clear about where they want to go.

A smart brand strategy is like [switches on a flashlight] having a flashlight. It can show you where marketing success [points flashlight in various directions] is and how to get there. Once you can see your way to your goal [points flashlight in a fixed direction], you can start taking the steps that will get you there. [places flashlight on a table, still pointing in the fixed position]

[Takes a step along the illuminated path, away from the flashlight] You can hire the right staff.

[Takes another step] You can create a new visual identity.

[Takes another step] You can develop an appropriate website.

[Takes another step] You can start up a new ad campaign.

[Takes another step] You can hire a public relations firm.

The problem is, almost every business [walking out of the light] eventually walks beyond the beam … and finds itself in the dark again. Why does this happen?

[Walks back to the flashlight]

It’s a strange thing about marketing but almost no one remembers to take their brand strategy with them. [Picks up the flashlight]. Let’s try that again. This time, let’s live the brand. Let’s take it with us every step of the way.

[Takes a step along the illuminated path] You can hire the right staff. But let’s immerse them in our brand strategy so they’ll know how to deliver on our brand promise in any situation. After all, our brand promise is our competitive advantage.

[Takes another step] You can create a new visual identity. But let’s make sure our logo is a visual reminder of our brand promise.

[Takes another step] You can develop an appropriate website. But let’s include a blog from our CEO where he provides frequent demonstrations of how we’ve delivered on our brand promise.

[Takes another step] You can start up a new ad campaign. But, again, let’s make sure it communicates our brand promise and how we deliver on it.

[Takes another step] You can hire a public relations firm. But let’s make sure they’re as invested in our brand strategy as we are.

So, when you live the brand, when you carry your brand strategy with you every day and let it illuminate your every step, you will never find yourself in the dark again.

I’m Kevin Walker from Boardwalk. Ask us for a flashlight.

Best Branding Reads – Week of July 31, 2017

This New "Airline For Millennials" Seems Very Confused …
Thanks to reader Aaron H. for this hilarious take on a new brand called Joon.

Ford's ride-share unit Chariot expands to New York
A brand for those who’d rather spend $4 than take the bus?

How Babies R Us plans to reach millennial parents through its biggest ever rebrand
Babies R Us is injecting a hefty dose of realism into the expectations of new parents.

Harley-Davidson Brand Needs to Build New Riders, Not New Bikes
Harley-Davidson reinvented itself once. Time to do it again?

Converse Goes Back in Time For New Logo
Haven’t worn my Converse sneaks in ages. This makes me want to go lace them up.

New Logo and Identity for Nomad Hill
This is a surprisingly fresh visual identity and breaks with all the sameness of its market sector. Kudos!

8 Pillars For Building Trusted Brands
Do your customers trust you to delight them? Or do they trust you to disappoint them?

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Best Branding Reads
Week of October 23, 2017

Coach Inc. Is Dead. Long Live Tapestry.
Coach is not really dead. It has just given birth to its own parent company.

Brandspeak: Rebranding a 100-Year-Old Company
See how Driscoll’s, berry producers for more than 100 years, approached its rebranding process.

The Food Almost Completely Disappears in McDonald’s Latest Minimalist Ads
These very clever ads from McDonalds made me imagine their brand promise. I actually got really hungry looking at them!

Fixing A Poorly Performing Brand Culture
The first sentence says it all: your culture is defined by what you tolerate, no matter what your values statement says.

Netflix Letter To 'Stranger Things' Pop-Up Bar
Who says lawyers are no fun? Best cease-and-desist letter ever. Thanks Netflix.

Top 10 Modern Logo Design Trends
I might have picked a different top 10 but this is still an interesting take on modern-day trends in logo design. 

How Stereotypes Weaken Brands
Stereotypes reinforce the divisions among us. When bridging those divides, brands become more valuable and important to their customers.