In over 20 years of working with brands in a wide range of industries, I have seen the same mistake repeated over and over. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a multi-national organization with a full brand marketing team or a local entrepreneurial enterprise.
There is energy, enthusiasm, and funds invested in the brand strategy. High-level consultants are engaged to uncover brand insights and set the course with vision/mission/values charts, presentation decks on positioning, and even SaaS systems to house intricate brand standards and guidelines. The effort can be considerable, and it is no surprise that once complete, a sense of achievement and satisfaction (and, perhaps, relief) sets in.
But, like any goal, the intention is only half the battle. Without a plan for consistent action, there will be no reward for all of the strategic work. And it is here I see the largest gap. The weak link in the chain.
The actual implementation of brand strategies is often left to mid-level marketing managers with tight budgets and only a vague grasp of what is required for an effective execution.
This more often results in an ill-advised effort to conserve budget by employing the cheapest writers and designers to produce branded assets and materials. Projects are seen as to-do lists to be checked off. There is no brand QA, no measuring or worthwhile data analysis to see if any needles were actually moved.
It is a waste of a solid brand strategy, the investment committed to creating it, and the energies of the people trying to deliver on it.
The goal of branding is to build recognition, understanding, and preference. The most effective method to do so is to start with the desired end result and work backward to the strategy. And that begins with ensuring the investment is carried through to the final customer experience.