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Why brand strategy is so difficult these days

Information is moving at breakneck speed. Organizations are trying to define where they stand while the ground underneath them is shifting. Studied examinations of our brand’s strategy are being replaced with “just trying to keep up”.

Here’s the danger of that. The first step to defining a winning brand strategy is knowing who you are. Unfortunately, the speed of change in the market has organizations failing to get past this step. So we get brands talking to us about themselves. Very few get to why we should care. And an even rarer few get to the magical reason for going beyond caring to becoming true believers.

“Agile” has gotten bastardized. It started out as a way to counter the old, siloed ways of. That was a good thing. But now too many use it as an excuse to avoid the work of examining a market. Or gathering the insight in order to find the truth that leads to brilliant brand strategy.

Don’t get me wrong. We should still have collaboration. But if everyone in the room only has a cursory knowledge, how can we realistically expect that truth to emerge? More often than not, the session ends up being driven by the bias we all bring. And there is no study to keep us from chasing a false assumption put forth by the strongest personality in the room. Or worse yet, we simply end up talking about what we want to say as an organization instead of what our prospects want to hear.

We need a process that builds in this examination. And we need someone (if not all of us) to be the voice of the prospect. Yes, we should collaborate and be agile. But not at the expense of creating a brand strategy that is meaningful and compelling.

Is that difficult today? Yes — because we’ve been conditioned by a let’s-go-fast-because-we-can environment. This is not a plea to go back to the old ways. We all agree the speed is awesome. Right up to the point it asks us to sacrifice greatness.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the forthcoming book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

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Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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