All too often it feels like the strategy for any brand is recreated a million times over, because everyone who comes into contact with it wants to add their two pence, and show they understand the problem better than everyone else. This means the strategy ends up being a jumble of disconnected thoughts – a noisy mess that achieves little more than to bombard the target audience with meaningless stuff. Instead, the strategy should be something to build and grow, not to periodically scrap and start again. That means it’s hard work – it needs to be more considered from the outset, and more applicable to the endpoint.
Strategy doesn’t stop once the direction is set, we still need to get there. The commonly held belief that delivering against a strategy is somehow the poor cousin of developing one is frustratingly out-dated. What use is a strategy if it isn’t delivered? Delivering against a strategy is often harder than developing one, but so many people are so quick to say ‘that’s not my job’? It’s not about where one job stops and another job starts, it’s about creating seamless understanding and ownership.
For this reason, and because it makes damn good sense, developing the strategy should be much more inclusive, not left to the select few who have permission to be smart. No one has all the answers, but a lot of people have some of them. Then it needs to be focused down, and we need to be strict with it. Once it’s done, everyone needs to believe in it and make it happen. It’s a collaborative process, not a competition.
Of course, it needs to be clever in thought, genuinely well informed with insight, and big enough to cover the whole marketing mix. But it also needs to be meaningful, bringing with it a promise to change things rather than just communicate things. That way the strategy won’t be a piece of academic theory that never sees the light of day, it will readily translate into practice.
In the end, this allows the strategy to achieve what it set out to do in the first place – have a positive impact in the real world. Isn’t that what we’re doing this for?