The importance of brand strategy and why great ads depend on it.

Brand Stratey
5 mins read

One of the core branding services we offer here at Holdens is brand strategy. It’s the first stage of any branding project we work on and is a complete non-negotiable when we’re working on any creative brief. But what the hell is it and why is it so important? In this blog, we’ll describe what brand strategy is in layman’s terms, why it’s so important for great creative work (ads in particular) and show you an example of a brand strategy from the advertising hall of fame.


Brand strategy is often hard to define

We like to think of brand strategy as brand DNA. It’s the blueprint or roadmap that guides how a company builds and maintains its brand identity. It’s the deliberate plan behind every aspect of a brand’s presence, from its logo and messaging to its market positioning and customer interactions. This strategy defines the brand’s unique values, personality and place in the market, which are all aimed at creating a distinct and memorable impression on customers. Sounds easy, right?

Brand strategists analyse market trends, competition and consumer behaviour to craft strategies that resonate with target audiences and differentiate brands from their competitors. But that’s not all. Really smart strategists then develop cohesive messaging and visual elements (often in partnership with copywriters and designers) that consistently convey a brand’s essence across various channels and touchpoints, including packaging, advertising, social media and websites.

Ultimately, a well-executed brand strategy helps to harness customer loyalty, build trust and drive long-term success by aligning the brand’s identity with the expectations and desires of its target market. In a nutshell, it’s the foundation upon which all branding efforts are built. Pretty important then.


Brand platforms are brand strategy in action

The culmination of the brand strategy process is coming up with the brand platform or idea. A brand platform encapsulates a company’s essence, values and promises in a single short sentence, often no more than three or four words. Sometimes the brand platform is used as the company’s strapline, but not always. It’s usually the hardest part of the brand strategy process, for good reason.

One of the best examples of a brand platform and brand strategy in action is Specsavers’ iconic “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers” line. It’s a masterstroke in brand positioning, blending clever humour with a direct call to action. This simple yet memorable phrase embodies reliability, emphasising the consequences of not choosing Specsavers for eyecare. It creates a distinct identity, fostering brand recall and consumer trust.

More than a slogan, “Should’ve Gone to Specsavers” is a guiding principle, reflecting Specsavers’ commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Ultimately, a brand platform like this becomes the bedrock for consistent messaging, differentiation and enduring brand loyalty. What really sets it apart, though, is how committed Specsavers have been to embodying it time and time again in their amazing campaigns. Here are some of examples.

As you can see from the examples above, Specsavers commits to its brand platform relentlessly to drive home brand recall. It’s immediately evident in every execution, whether it’s a clever outdoor ad or a PR stunt, and so simple to understand that even your gran gets it. It’s also extremely flexible and can be brought to life in lots of different ways – the dream for any copywriter or art director who’s privileged enough to receive a creative brief with those immortal four words at the top.

There are plenty of other brand platforms you will have heard of, from Nike’s “Just Do It” to Kit-Kat’s “Have a Break, Have a Kit-Kat” and probably plenty of others you haven’t heard of but still demonstrate successful brand strategy nonetheless. The important thing is that the brand strategy work is tackled right at the start – without it, you risk saddling your brand with inconsistency, dilution of messaging and ultimately a failure to stand out from the competition.

If you’re looking for an agency to help you define your brand strategy, get in touch and we can talk you through our process and show you some real life examples.

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