Do You Need Advanced Brand Strategy?

Ever opened a head? Like, a human head. With a bonesaw. Then gone in and fixed that brain inside the head? No? Probably because it sounds hard, like brain surgery. It is hard. It's, you know, brain surgery.

Do you know what isn’t brain surgery? Branding. Not that you’d know if you looked about it. I got an email the other day from someone trying to work with us saying that he specialised in advanced brand strategy. Advanced! I mean. Sake. Elevating something straightforward into brain surgery. Do you need advanced? Let me smack you with three thoughts I’ve got on this.

Branding is not difficult

But it is complicated. The fundamentals of branding a business are not hard. We believe that these fundamentals break into four pieces.

  1. Clarity of message
  2. Customer understanding
  3. Strong creative
  4. Disciplined execution

This is what builds a brand. Easy. What makes it complicated is people. Bringing together disparate views from people in all business areas, views that are usually more emotional than you would imagine, and bringing alignment to that can be... well, interesting. But this isn’t brain surgery; it’s empathy, understanding, tact, and appreciation that people can be more attached to a logo for reasons that may seem illogical but can be understandable. You don’t need to be advanced to do this; bring objectivity, understanding and pragmatism.

No one cares about your brand

Heretical. I suggest that those in an advanced brand place believe that your brand is the nexus of our civilisation. It is not. People do not care about your brand. They do not want a relationship with your brand. They want their child to go to sleep. But if your brand helps their child go to sleep, they may then be interested in you. This is the truth; no one cares about your brand until they care about your brand. And that is a one-way relationship; they want something you got, and you give them it at a fair price with good service and a reliable outcome.

Before that, all you can do is remind people that you have a thing that can make their child go to sleep. Until then, you'll be over in that corner, just waiting. Just keep repeating that message creatively and memorably. That's it. It's not that hard. What makes it hard is the expectation that a brand campaign will yield immediate results; it may not, but if applied consistently, it will over time. It will also help any activation activity you've got. But really, be useful and be there when you're needed.

Brand is not performance, but performance is brand

We've written about brand marketing vs. performance marketing before. Brand marketing, a marathon of building long-term value and customer loyalty, contrasts with performance marketing's sprint for immediate revenue. However, recent insights, including those from Analytic Partners, reveal a critical truth: brand marketing, by building foundational strength, not only enhances but is necessary for the success of performance marketing, outperforming it in terms of sales and ROI 80% of the time.

This underscores the craziness of choosing one over the other; instead, a balanced approach maximises immediate outcomes and sustained growth. It's the peanut butter and chocolate of promotion. The complementary roles of brand and performance marketing: helping people know who you are when they are looking for you, ensuring the full potential of each, and avoiding the trap of short-termism for holistic, long-term success. So, if you're handed £100,000 for a performance boost in the short term, you're only going to be able to maximise the effectiveness by spending on your brand in the long term. It's not difficult to do, but given financial constraints, it can be complicated to implement.

None of this is difficult, but we, of course, accept that it is hard. It's hard to maintain consistency, and it's hard to get a budget for a campaign that doesn't immediately seem intimately connected to business performance. But these are all brand fundamentals and certainly not "Advanced." If you're looking to build a brand that lasts and performs, we're here to simplify what is considered complicated and align your strategy for long-term success.