Friday, May 22, 2015

Brand Strategy– A CEO’s Favorite Organization Alignment Tool

When we help organizations craft strategy for their organization brand, the chief marketing officer or another senior level marketer in the organization usually hires us. However, when we facilitate discussions and decisions regarding the organization’s mission, vision, values, essence, archetype, personality and unique value proposition, it is the CEO who gets excited because he or she knows that it is a mechanism to align and rally the leadership team and the entire organization around strategic direction.

We conduct these sessions with the CEO and his or her leadership team. When we conduct these sessions, we talk about business model, competitive environment and competitive strategy. We explore industry structure and sustainable competitive advantages. We also explore target markets and revenue sources. This is often informed by significant marketing research. The organization brand is synonymous with the organization itself so the organization brand strategy largely overlaps the organization’s business and competitive strategy. Having been schooled in Michael Porter’s competitive strategy frameworks at Harvard Business School, we integrate these into our process.

Brand strategy is not marketing strategy, and it is especially not marketing communications strategy. Yes, brand stories and marketing communications can result from the strategic process, but that is downstream. The purpose of brand strategy is to create a unique value proposition and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This provides direction for corporate culture, organization design, systems, processes and other organization-wide decisions including investment decisions.  That is why CEOs love this process. It is a tool for them to explore, align and motivate their organizations around well thought through competitive strategies.

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  1. Great post! I know firsthand the power of a clearly defined brand when merging two non-profit organizations. We have used our brand platform as a guide for all types of decisions and as a foundation for building a new culture. It sure does go way beyond marketing and communications!
    Allyn Stelljes

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