Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is not about visuals. It’s not about getting a new website, a trendier logo or eye-catching packaging. If anything, it is about getting rid of things—abandoning audiences that are off-target, stories that are off-brand, projects that are not central to your mission as an organization. This allows you to unequivocally express who you are, separate yourself from any competition, and make a lasting impression to build and nurture your brand.

The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

In a recent conversation with a very senior person at a financial institution, my colleague was told, "I think private wealth managers will have a hard time seeing the value of branding—they see marketing as a cost center, not a driver of sales."

Hold it. How did we go from branding to marketing in one sentence like that?

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Why Rebrand?

Why rebrand? Thoughts prepared for the Chicago Museum Exhibitors Group on the topic of Rethink, Rebrand: Why, When and How Museums Reinvent Themselves

This article is written with museum examples in mind, but the principles apply much more broadly. Experience shows us that the sequence of these three questions is important. Only initiate a rebrand with a solid why. Then explore when and how.

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What Is a Brand?

Brands are often thought about in very limited terms but in reality, they exercise tremendous power in every kind of business or organization.

Watch an excerpt of our workshop at the Tenement Museum in New York City in which James Heaton poses the question, "What is a brand?"

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What is strategy?

To paraphrase Michael Porter, strategy is a meaningfully differentiated market position backed up by operational practice. Strategy is making the right choices based on a clear understanding of your environment, your organizational strengths and your customers. Our task is to facilitate your ability to fill in everything that you need in order to make the right strategic choices and then give you the tools to carry out those choices behaviorally, operationally and in your communication with the customer. We do this through a proven process that includes brand strategy, marketing strategy, organizational alignment and some forms of creative execution (such as identity, naming and advertising).

What is brand strategy?

It is having everyone in your organization and all your offers and communications align in support of your differentiated position. The first tools we use to sort this out are the Brand Pyramid and Brand Value Map.

Brand strategy applied through marketing tactics can prevent you from spending a lot of time and money on things that are essentially just tactical experiments. Instead, you will be able to test the market in the context of a coherent strategic hypothesis, spending your limited marketing budget in ways that are most likely to move the needle with your selected audience.

Building a strong brand is crucial as it is a key factor in the success and prosperity of all businesses and nonprofits, regardless of their revenues. The brand will have a significant impact on the consumer awareness of your offer and your bottom line, directly affecting your ability to sell, to fundraise, to hire the best employees, and to grow.

If you need help with your strategy, review our process or if you are unsure and on a limited budget look at our Brand Pyramid Tutorial.

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