Finding brand harmony: the magical duet of business and brand strategy
(Side note to this article: I think we’ve been hitting Spotify a little too hard lately!)
In the realm of commerce, business strategy and brand strategy are often seen as independent entities and therefore usually created as such – separately, by different teams in silos. They are then often post-rationalised further down the track to create at least a semblance of everybody ‘being on the same page’.
At Sherry, we believe these are simply two halves of the whole. Like a song being written by one of the great musical duos.
And if that means the marriage of some wildly differing opinions and views then so be it. Jagger often hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with Richards, Simon and Garfunkel are very different people and let’s not even start about Morrisey and Marr from The Smiths!
But look a little deeper and as with business, it’s the core differences at the heart of these iconic musical partnerships that made the joint magic happen.
A business and brand strategy are dynamic halves of the same commercial song. A finely-tuned business strategy acts as the catchy melody, outlining attributes, competitive positioning and targeting the audience at a ‘head’ level.
On the other hand, the brand strategy enhances the tune, amplifying the brand experience, messaging, storytelling and bringing the emotional resonance.
It’s like the combination of Axl Rose’s searing vocals and Slash’s ferocious guitar riffs. On their own they’re kind of OK. Together, they create something iconic that carries lasting impact.
A powerful tune emerges when business and brand are intertwined from the very beginning – one that moves the audience and beats the drum of revenue.
To drop the contrived musical analogy for a second (in place of a sporting one), take Nike. Their business strategy revolves around being a leading athletic brand globally, with cutting-edge products and a focus on innovation. Meanwhile, their brand strategy centers around the empowerment of (all) athletes with a bold motivational narrative. The synergy they create between their business and brand strategies is a key reason why they continue to achieve such global dominance.
Just like the hallowed combo of Lennon and McCartney (back to the music), both strategies must strike a balance, wherein one doesn’t outshine the other. A well-executed business strategy may be perfectly acceptable to the corporate world and those with a deep understanding of operational requirements, but without a strong brand story to back it, the finished song will most likely be a bit tuneless.
Similarly, a captivating brand strategy may initially bring in some waves of superficial love and fanboying but it must be grounded by an effective business strategy to ensure there is commercial rubber hitting the road.
Without that there will be no encores. And I think we’ve all seen enough one-hit wonders in the business world.
Look at it this way – imagine your business strategy as a rock band ready to perform. You’re the singer and lead guitarist (I’m seeing you as either a Chrissie Hynde or Dave Grohl type figure – am I right?) – the face and ‘brand’ of the group. Your rhythm section is your business plan – the drummer is your financial manager and the bass guitarist is in charge of supply chain management and operations.
Sounds good? Maybe. You see, without coordination, your band will simply produce a torrent of cacophonous dross that even the most devoted fans won’t appreciate.
It’s easy to see the brand strategy as what really moves your fans. But in reality it’s what draws them to the rhythm of your business strategy.
And if there’s no obvious connection between both, it’s going to be like shuffling on stage and playing a tuneless kazoo to a stadium audience expecting U2.
So as we arrive at the final verse of this torturous music-infused journey, just remember that when business strategy and brand strategy combine seamlessly, a symphony of commercial success is possible. Just like musical harmony, the interplay between the two, when done skillfully, forms a bond that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Calling entrepreneurs of all walks of life, make sure your business and brand strategies are in sync, and ‘a kind of magic’ will unfold.