Who needs brand strategy?

Von Clausewitz, the military thinker, suggested in On War, that strategy doesnot really exist, because in battle it depends upon the intuition, initiative and experience of individual generals to respond to events. In many cases I would agree with that – and it applies equally to brands. Brand communications using digital media and social Internet highlight this. Things move so fast, the world changes and events overtake brands – communications must be constantly under review and evolving in an organic matter.

However, this does not mean that we should not have a brand objective. I always use the analogy of walking using a map and compass: you identify your objective, mark it on the map, but you don’t take a compass bearing and walk in a straight line. There may be lakes or hills you have to skirt around, a farmer may have put a bull in a field, or you may have to make an overnight stop for bad weather, and resume your journey in the morning.

In other words, it is vital to have a strategic objective: this may be the product of extensive analysis and distillation. But far from being a multi-page document, it should be no more than a couple of paragraphs, allowing clarity of objective yet the flexibility to achieve it.


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