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Seek Consistency in Strategy but avoid Complacency.




Marketers often get bored long before consumers do.

 

We tend to switch our brand strategy way too quickly and long before we have embedded consumer behaviour or maximised the growth opportunity.

 

I've had this discussion with a few clients lately, so I wanted to share some thoughts with you.

 

My #1 rule is

 

Seek CONSISTENCY in strategy. But avoid COMPLACENCY

 

I have a few clients where we are in Years 3 and 4 of writing their annual strategic plans together. We now have fantastic momentum.

 

The team understand the process, their situation assessments go deeper, and they make bolder choices more confidently.

 

The best news is that we are seeing CONSISTENCY on the chosen strategic pillars year-on-year.

 

Yes, many of the same big opportunities and issues keep ending up on the Strategy On A Page each year.

 

The teams were worried they weren't getting anywhere. They weren't finding enough new opportunities or solving the challenges ahead of them.

 

But they are tackling BIG, STRATEGIC pillars. Opportunities and Issues that take consistent effort to reap the rewards. Long-term, sustainable change takes time.

 

The issue is we often get bored with our strategies and our tactics way before consumers do. Way before we have exhausted an opportunity or embedded a behaviour change. So CONSISTENCY in strategy is a good thing. But COMPLACENCY is not.

 

Don't chop and change the big opportunities you are chasing. Make a choice and stick to it. Back yourselves and allow time to reap the rewards and embed the changes.

 

But constantly seek new ways to pursue those opportunities and tackle the challenges. Innovate, course correct, refresh, break accepted truths and overcome barriers as you go. Head down your chosen path but be ready to respond to the changing condition along the way with fresh thinking.

 

This doesn't just apply to brand planning.  It also applies to Brand Positioning.

 

You need to be very clear on the signs it is time to evolve your brand positioning.

 

And when do you just need to leave it alone and not fiddle "to make your mark"?

 

Three recent brand positioning projects reinforced one of the signs for my clients - category maturity.

 

Example 1 was a beverage category built on health but had hit a plateau of consumers who would enter for health reasons. The new consumers were entering for taste exploration. Repositioning the brand to hero tate and show the breadth of occasions consumers could experiment within delivered a new demand pool and significant step change in penetration growth

 

Examples 2 & 3 were in the health supplement & transportation categories. Again, consumer adoption rates and growth plateaued within their current addressable markets. They both had to look to adjacent categories to open up new addressable markets and, as a result, had to evolve their brand positioning to compete and attract these new consumers over from their current solutions. What signs have driven you to evolve your brand positioning?

 

Don't be afraid of CONSISTENCY.

 

It is a good thing to have in strategy.  Consumers aren't exposed to your brand nearly as often as you'd like.  It takes time to embed behaviours and maximise growth opportunities.

 

BUT there will be signs when it is time to move the positioning or the plan along.

When growth starts to plateau, and you need to look elsewhere to attract new consumers from a new set of competitors,

when consumer needs change significantly and you risk becoming irrelevant,

when a competitor disrupts or resets the category and you lose your point of difference of distinctiveness.

 

So seek Consistency, but don't settle for Complacency.

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