Strategy: Offerings


Our strategy practice is the foundation of how we help clients build more valuable brands. While every client situation is unique, we find that many of our clients need our help with four specific types of brand strategy questions: 

 

Business Strategy & Brand Strategy alignment

Companies that are serious about creating brand value recognize that their brand strategy must be properly aligned with their business strategy, and vice versa. To ensure that this alignment takes place effectively, we work with cross-functional client teams to refine their focus for product and service offerings. The objective to create brand differentiation, and value by delighting customers in ways that other brands have missed. 

Brand Portfolio Architecture

Many companies have a complex set of relationships between their brands, sub-brands, products and services. Ensuring that you have the right brand hierarchy is a critical component in efficiently creating brand value. We help our clients ensure that their brand hierarchies are clear and that their brands are covering their addressable markets without cannibalizing each other. 


Brand Strategy & Positioning

A truly effective brand strategy must be a blueprint for actions that will grow total brand value, not just a series of talking points and taglines. When we work with our clients on brand strategy, the goal is to create a comprehensive blueprint for action that lays out how an entire organization can rally around a compelling brand idea. What makes our approach superior is the level of seriousness given to ensuring that these plans can and will be executed. With this in mind, we frequently supplement brand positioning projects with a “customer experience design” roadmap project to ensure that it’s clear what actions need to be taken to deliver the strategy. 

Business Model Innovation

Defining your brand in terms of the experiences you want to create for your customers is a fantastic starting point for business model innovation work. As teams become more focused on the customer, and less focused on internal systems and ways of doing things, their minds open up to exciting new possibilities for creating customer value. 

Our innovation practice focuses on helping our clients identify and sort through the many innovation ideas that arise as part of brand experience design and journey mapping exercises. We help our clients understand which ideas are most promising for further development, and provide them with assets, tools, frameworks and support systems to pilot and hone these ideas towards a “fit” with their desired markets. 

Our Philosophy on:

Strategy

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The hardest thing about business strategy is differentiating between ideas that look good on paper and ideas that are actually going to work in the real world. The true test of a strategy comes when you execute it. Even then, it’s too easy to dismiss disconnects between strategic intent and real world accomplishments as being the result of some failure in execution, rather than something that was missed during the strategic planning process.  

Brand value, in particular, is often a casualty in the broader strategy process. Business strategists often equate words like design and creativity with a lack of rigor, potentially hampering serious attempts to adequately integrate brand strategy into broader business strategy. Responsibility for managing brand value often becomes a siloed activity within marketing departments. Absent a shared brand roadmap that involves multiple groups within the company, marketers are often trying to create brand value simply by “talking” to customers. 

By failing to tackle the issue of brand value strategically, organizations forgo many promising opportunities to maximize it. During periods of business model disruption, this problem becomes even more acute. At this point, many organizations start to understand that it’s not just their external markets that are facing disruption, but their approach to strategy development and its relationship to branding may also need a rethink.  

 

Our approach to strategy helps organizations adapt to disrupted markets while harnessing the value-creation power of design: 

Integration

Alignment between business strategy and brand strategy; a process that ensures that the brand value is fully integrated into strategic thinking and planning. For this, we use an adapted version of Blue Ocean Strategy to provide a bridge between brand and design intangibles and business fundamentals.  

Flexibility

In order to be effective, a strategic plan must acknowledge and plan for uncertainty. The more ambitious the plan, the greater the inherent uncertainty, and the greater the need to include room for learning and adaptation along the way. Strategic flexibility in planning means acknowledging unknowns during the planning process, and managing them, not glossing over them. 

Clarity

The most important test of a strategy is its ability to drive successful action. This is particularly challenging when managing brands, because effective brand execution requires the implementation of abstract ideas into tangible, physical manifestations. Our approach is to create robust brand implementation tools, and detailed plans, that ensure that abstract brand ideas are successfully brought to life, without diluting their force and emotional appeal. 

strategy:

Case Studies

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