10 Keys to Developing an Agile Brand Strategy

We live in uniquely uncertain times for brands. According to brand strategist Rod Parkes, in a discussion on The Evolving Meaning of Brands, “The meaning of a brand literally depends on how you look at it.” He cites a number of brands as examples, including Google. He says,

“Internet users see Google as a search engine company, but from a business perspective it is at heart an advertising company… So the meaning of the Google brand differs depending on whether you are a search engine user or a potential advertiser.”

The point is, the consumer defines the brand. This means brand strategy must account for constantly altering perspectives—a high level of uncertainty.

In military strategy, if you are unsure of the terrain ahead, then mobility is your key strategy. In volatile market conditions, branding is no different. Agility and responsiveness, adaptability and rapid reactivity are essential traits for market survival. Consequently, the brand strategy process must become faster, less linear, more flexible, and more collaborative.

  1. 1+1>2 = Working in Parallel

All parts of the brand strategy process should proceed in parallel rather than in series; this delivers results greater than the sum of their parts

Agile thinking rejects the overly linear step-by-step framework in favour of combining tasks or performing them in parallel whenever possible to accelerate the branding process. Ideas can come from anywhere.

Whereas traditional brand strategies will say that the process starts with research which informs the strategy which in turn informs creative development, agile thinking turns this on its head and says that any part can inform any other part.

A great visual can inspire the brand strategy. An idea in the brand strategy can lead to a breakthrough in the research. Working in parallel is a core tenet that underlies all of the other keys below.

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