Analysis paralysis or creative whimsy? The better approach to brand strategy

3 brand strategists meet at a bar – one from an advertising agency, one from a consulting firm and the third from a brand design firm.

The advertising strategist says we create brands to be distinctive and disruptive, the consulting strategist says we create brands that are grounded in market and business realities, the brand design strategist says that they agree with both perspectives.

Advertising is generally known for creativity, disruption, whimsy. Therefore, the advertising approach to strategy is more often than not, talkworthy, creative and right brained. Where the strategist is building the brand in its most outward sense for the consumer or external audience.

Consulting firms focus on the innermost layers of the onion. Where every brand is studied first as a business. Meticulously unpeeling various organizational metrics and processes to develop a strategic roadmap for clients. An analytical approach where the left brain is shooting signals for brand solutioning.

Brand Design firms look at the foundational or innermost aspects, studying them for outermost, creative manifestations. Embracing both left and right brain thinking to combine them into a whole brain approach to building brands. Perhaps a best of both worlds approach where advertising creative whimsy & consulting analytical muscle come together and cater to all potential stakeholders.

However, despite these differences in approach, each firm delivers effectively to brand objectives. Each disparate approach somehow can lead to similar, favourable outcomes for businesses and brands. The reason behind this is a simple one – we are all building solutions for the human at the heart of it.

Having said that, arguably the best work we do in brand strategy is when we recognize the human in ourselves as well – not forcing oneself to disproportionately be left or right brained. Offering a whole brained and whole hearted solution to the clients we partner.

The move by Accenture to acquire Droga5 speaks to this shift. When crafting a purpose for their client Huggies, they rooted it in an analytical opportunity of parents having to navigate an overwhelming amount of information (often misinformation) and a creative opportunity realizing that being born is new for babies too. Birthing the purpose (pun intended) ‘Helping Navigate The Unknowns of Babyhood.’

At DY Works, immersing myself in case studies had me wide-eyed in my initial days. Whether premiumization of ACC Cement which focussed heavily on the cement bag – tracking its journey and watching it change hands to devise a creative solution.

Or the brand redefinition work for Safal Stores. Safal Stores, one of the largest fruit and vegetable chain stores in Delhi NCR wanted to change perceptions and associations with the brand. The analysis for them was approached creatively too – decoding semiotics, watching trucks deliver produce one after another, studying levels of motivation, among many other aspects.

Leading the team to the big shift from ‘price’ to ‘provenance’ and the brand core of ‘Protecting Natural Goodness.’ But our work here wasn’t done, the information was packaged for various stakeholders and cascaded through multiple workshops across the value chain, leaving no stone unturned and rocketing sales from 200kg/day to 650kg/day at the pilot store. As brand strategists, embracing our natural instinct to freely operate and express in multiple ways creates effective work but also fulfilling work. And, in creating work that embraces our logical thinking as well as our emotional response, we create work that is meaningful, that each individual involved can take pride in and that attracts a positive emotional response from our audiences.