Your business strategy is obviously confidential. But you can’t keep it a total secret. You must tell the market something about how your strategy benefits them. This is the role of the brand.

Broadly speaking there are two types of business strategies:

  1. Do something that already exists, but do it better.
  2. Do something completely new.

Whatever your strategy is, it is the role of the brand to convincingly tell the market why it should matter to them.

The brand forms a bridge between “secret strategy” and “public marketing”. It is the brand that takes what is happening in your company and publicly communicates it, through marketing, as your point of difference, resulting in sales.
Essentially, it looks like this:

Business strategy —> Brand Strategy —> Marketing Execution —> Sales

Thinking about it this way, a few potential issues arise:

  • Be careful not to be so secretive with your strategy, that you fail to develop a brand. I often find that companies don’t have something special to tell the market because they are too careful to reveal what makes them great.

  • There is an obvious misfit between marketing, which is externally focused, and business, which is internally focused. For the connection to work you need a proverbial “third person in the room” in the form of the brand. A solid understanding of the brand is an essential lubricant for business people and marketing people to get along.

  • If you have a great brand, but it is not backed up by a solid business, your marketing will be nothing but empty promises and revealed as such in due course. Over time you can’t fool the market.

  • The only way to secure sustainable, profitable sales is through a painstaking process whereby a powerful business strategy translates into a compelling brand promise and is communicated through effective marketing.

Think of it as a game of soccer. Everyone can appreciate the quick passing style of a team such as Barcelona. We say “they play an attractive brand of soccer”. But this is based on secret team meetings and practice sessions – the behind the scenes strategy.

Be careful not to be so confidential with your business, that you end up not saying anything to the market. You’ll end up looking like everyone else, even though you’re not.

Don’t keep your brand a secret.

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