Developing Strategy That Surprises

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How do you feel about the brand strategies your agency is producing?

Good?

Comfortable?

If that’s the case, those strategies may not be doing as much for you as they can. Staying in your comfort zone strategically is about as impactful as staying in your comfort zone at the gym. If excellence is your aim, you’ll only get there by feeling the burn.

Of course, a bad strategy will make you uncomfortable too. So how do you know when a strategy is pushing your brand uncomfortably toward excellence?

Here are three components of a feel-the-burn strategy:

Information that surprises

Every company has its own well-socialized story about who it is and what it’s about. Your branding agency needs to respect your story, but also needs to look outside — to broader trends in culture, technology and business; to your competitors; to your customers. It may go looking places you never expected.

At Emotive Brand, we recently discovered that a client’s key rival had withdrawn from an important segment of its market — essentially removing the client’s last direct competitor. As a result, we were able to push the bounds of its positioning and define our client as truly unique — something the client had neither known nor expected.

That’s what you call a good burn — and it comes from the agency being in the marketplace, pushing beyond the obvious and digging for the nuggets that truly differentiate.

Insights that uncover new opportunities

Information is great, but insights can be even more effective at differentiating your brand.

It’s your agency’s job to understand not just your customers’ obvious needs, but also the unmet needs they haven’t yet articulated.

A well-honed insight-finding instinct can both identify emerging opportunities and position you in a unique way to take advantage of them.

Such insights will inevitably be a surprise, and that may send you out of your comfort zone. Emerging opportunities naturally feel riskier than the tried-and-true. But they also provide an opportunity for greater reward. And that makes them a good burn.

Storytelling that propels you into orbit

The factual story that your agency unearths is one thing; how it’s told is another chance for you to either push the bounds or settle for the merely comfortable.

Brand storytelling goes beyond the facts. It should convey the very energy and vitality of your organization. You should be able to feel the truth of it in your heart and your gut. It should make everyone around you feel proud and inspired. Your most valued employees should read it and start auto-deleting headhunter In-mails without a second thought.

And, yes, sometimes it’s uncomfortable to feel your feet lift off the ground and move toward a higher plane. A more predictable word choice, a more pedestrian idea might be easier. But just like at the gym, there will be a rich payoff for feeling the good burn of a truly elevating brand story.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design firm.

Originally published at www.emotivebrand.com on June 13, 2017.

Emotive Brand is a strategy and design firm: We work with executives to drive growth in revenue, brand, and culture #b2b #tech #b2c #product #growth #branding

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