This work takes time. A lot of it.
It takes information, research and data.
It takes years of experience, learning and intuition.
It takes the perfect blend of critical and creative thinking.
It takes building hypotheses and then deliberately finding the weak spots.
It takes creating actionable items from these hypotheses.
It takes validating the assumptions.
It takes creativity and an appetite for risk.
This work is what separates the companies that go somewhere from the ones that don’t. It’s what underpins the work at our own brand – frank body – a company that continues to grow year on year in multiple international markets.
There should be no pyramids, jargon or hyperbole in strategy. And if you’ve paid for that in the past, I’m sorry our industry peers inflicted that on you. I’ve seen many useless strategy documents in my time; the only thing they enabled me to grow was a hole in my pocket.
But I haven’t lost hope. In fact, quite the opposite. Because when a brand strategy is built properly over time and with careful consideration, it has the ability to propel your business forward like nothing else.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned in all my years as founder and CMO of Willow & Blake and frank body is to view the work that will truly change my business as an investment, not an expense.
If I can pass on any wisdom to you, it is this:
If you expect results, you have to invest in your business.
Cutting corners will simply mean you cut the results.
Like trying to make lemonade, if you use limes instead of lemons, the whole thing is damned.
So, what should you look for in a strategist or agency partner?
- Someone who asks questions: strategy is 100% based on asking questions and find the answer and 0% based on opinion.
- Someone who plays devils advocate: challenging ideas (yes, even yours) in a productive way with the ultimate goal of making them stronger.
- Someone who can think creatively and with a business lens: strategies written by people who never have to execute them doomed for failure.
- Someone with a long term view beyond trends: we’ve written all about the trend of blanding, don’t be yet another notch on an agency’s belt.
Choose wisely. Ask questions. Be smart.