At its simplest and most powerful, Kirsten Ogden of Woods Agency says brand strategy is the acknowledgement that you’re in a relationship with your customer. Here, she explains how marketers should be working with their agency partners to grow this relationship.
What does the word strategy mean to you?
Strategy means many things, but when talk about brand strategy it’s the articulation of your brand’s unique DNA. It’s a living document that defines who you are, why you exist, and what you bring to the world.
I think the biggest difference in its interpretation is that a client-side understanding is often more functional – it’s about ROI and deliverables. Whereas an agency perspective is more about creating authentic brands that put purpose first and profit second. Profit comes from keeping it real. You can’t fake purpose.
How do brands ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to strategy?
Culture is key to any organisation. It’s about having a clear vision and values that resonate as much with customers as staff.
A strategy is only as strong as the insights it’s built upon – and the insights are only as strong as the questions we ask. It’s important as a marketer to utilise customer research effectively, removing assumptions and ensuring every hunch is well-informed.
How does effective brand strategy translate to good creative output?
Effective brand strategy allows for creative freedom by finding a unique proposition and voice, which then becomes part of the brief for any creative output.
We’ve seen more creative and media agencies bolster their strategy teams, why do you think this is?
Marketing has matured to the point where strategy is the foundation for success. It provides the critical thinking needed for creative ideas to go beyond ‘quirky’ or ‘memorable’ into something that grows the relationship between customer and brand.
Brand strategy is extremely specialised and multidisciplinary. Marketers should not be expected to deliver brand strategy alone. It requires a team of experts that can take the brief and the key outputs – and develop a brand strategy that truly connects with your customer at a human level.