The Strategic Foundation Is the Underpinning of All Great Brands

  • Categories:

    Marketing Insights, Strategy

  • Date:

    October 31, 2019

The Strategic Foundation Is the Underpinning of All Great Brands



Marketing Insights, Strategy

I’ve worked in marketing and branding for more than 35 years, building brands with Madison Avenue ad agencies and my own Charlotte firm and, for the past 13 years, with Wray Ward. I could talk about everything that’s changed in that time. Analog to digital to streaming. Cold calls to content. WOM to KPIs.

Even though it’s a vastly different landscape today, a strong strategic foundation is still the underpinning of all great brands.

The Mindset

Every company or brand could potentially use insights and strategy from an alternative perspective.

This is where we come in, forging a strategic foundation as a trusted, informed ally. We engage in this important creative work with our clients as teammates — as a group. Imagine a bunch of really smart people being smart together. It’s powerful. It’s the key to work that doesn’t just stand out but stands for something. It’s the key to marketplace success.

It’s why the strategic foundation comes to life within a quasi-testing ground, where the challenging of ideas and existing belief sets is not only allowed but encouraged. Going through this exercise enables us all to view the problem at hand through the crystal lens of marketplace realities.

The Process

It’s a disciplined, collaborative process, deliberately designed and incorporating a deep dive into market analytics. This leads to discoveries that lay the foundation for brand performance.

Early humans were hunter-gatherers. Sound marketing strategy starts with gathering, too, only we’re gathering insights. At Wray Ward, we also include “convening” — and the interplay between gathering and convening is critical. Combined, it’s:

  1. Gathering information, understanding and insights and building a unique perspective of these items collectively. The gathering stage can include exercises such as brand immersion, audience personas and experience maps.
  2. Convening and collaborating to better understand how information sheds light onto the problem and opportunity, how it drives new thinking, and how goals can be reframed or more clearly articulated. This stage produces a central, focused strategy for how a brand will achieve its desired objectives.

These steps are built to scale up or down, speed up or slow down. The process can be complex and intensive for brands that don’t have a lot of material to work with, especially if primary marketplace research is needed and/or multiple target audiences are involved.

You can’t expect to build a strong strategic foundation overnight. Trust the process, and you’ll uncover truths that become integral to the company’s operations for years to come.

The Goals

We’re always thinking in stereo, because success is equally dependent on your business goals and brand goals.

Business goals are crisply defined and measured along the way. Do you want to introduce a new product? Displace your more established competition in a high-stakes home improvement retail space? Increase your sales revenue by X%?

On the flip side, brand goals are no less critical but hinge on things such as growing customer devotion and loyalty and building strong brand connections.

No matter what’s happening in your own landscape or the goals you want to achieve, a strong strategic foundation is the key to brand performance. We have the raw material to build yours — let’s build it together.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.