I want to show you a simple way to turn your smart strategic thinking into writing a strategic objective statement that can provide explicit marching orders to everyone who works on the brand. A strategic objective statement lays out an investment of a program against a focused opportunity, impacts the marketplace and pays back to the brand. The problem for most brand plans, is people don’t know how to write these statements.
Start with your strategic thinking first
The process starts off with the five elements of smart strategic thinking. And once you do that, it helps organize that thinking into a statement.
- You need to set a vision of what you want
- Invest resources in a strategic program
- Focus on an identified opportunity
- Leverage a breakthrough market impact
- Performance result that pays back
Use that tool to map out your thinking.
Let’s look at the fictional Gray’s Cookies as a case study. Gray’s Cookies are the ultimate healthy cookie, which is excellent tasting, low fat, low calorie and made from the best ingredients. I did mention it was fictional. This cookie is battling the major mainstream competitors, starting from a small niche with a core target market of fans who are beginning to love the brand.
Here are the five elements of smart strategic thinking for Gray’s Cookies:
1. Set a vision of what you want
Gray’s wants to be the first healthy cookie to generate the craving, popularity, and sales of a mainstream cookie. Make Gray’s a $100 million brand by 2020. The most significant issue in the way, like many new brands, is how to drive trial while closing gaps.
2. Invest resources in a strategic program
At the rapid growth stage, Gray’s needs to build a strong bond with consumers, address the distribution gaps while battling any mainstream brands who could enter the healthy cookie segment.
3. Focus on an identified opportunity
Gray’s Cookies recognizes the opportunity created by the consumer shift to healthy choices. If they can take the dominant power player role in the healthy cookie segment, they can drive high market share in a rapid growth category segment.
4. Leverage a breakthrough market impact
Gray’s Cookies is the dominant power player role in driving high trial, and significant market share results to gain additional shelf space in the retail stores.
5. Performance result that pays back
Gray’s will bring mainstream cookie users over to drive higher sales and establish itself as the dominant “healthy cookie” brand.
Now let’s translate that into a statement you can use in your plan.
We need to reorganize the thinking a little bit.
Write the brand vision as thinking of what the ideal state of your brand would look like 5-10 years from now. Next, think of the key issue statement as the challenge to that vision statement, based on what might be the biggest obstacle in the way of your vision. Phrase it as a question, so the answer becomes the strategic objective statement.
And now, the strategic objective statement has to cover off the remaining four other strategic elements including the program investment, focused opportunity, market impact and the performance result. I’m going to show you a way to organize it into an a, b, c, d approach.
Here’s how that strategic objective statement breaks down:
a) The statement calls out the investment in a strategic program, with crystal clear marching orders to the team, leaving no room for doubt, confusion or hesitation. In this example, the strategic program is to “Create an elevated VIP consumer experience.”
b) You should provide a focused opportunity, which is the breakthrough point where the brand will exert pressure to create a market impact. In this example, the focused opportunity is to “Reward our most loyal consumers.”
c) You must have a specific desired market impact to outline the market stakeholder you will attempt to move, whether it is consumers, sales channels, competitors or influencers. In this example, the desired impact is to “Turn the consumer’s regular usage into a higher frequency ritual.”
d) And finally, you need a specific performance result, linking the market impact to a specific result on the brand, either making the brand more powerful or more profitable. In this example, you are “Tightening their bond with our brand.”
This unique strategic model will force you to pick answers to build a strategy statement with marching orders for those who follow your plan. As you move to building your brand plan, I recommend you use these four elements of smart strategic objective statements to ensure you structure the thinking.
A few more examples:
- Rebuild the consumer experience (a) by training all the Starbucks baristas (b) to emphasize how our people make the difference (c) to bring frustrated brand lovers back to Starbucks (d)
- Enhance the Starbucks experience at lunch (a) with innovative sandwiches and snacks (b), that reinforce the quality difference at Starbucks (c) to successfully enter the lunchtime market (d).
- Advertise Special K’s brand idea of “empowering women” (a) focused on women who are frustrated by “lose and gain” diet fads (b), to move new consumers from awareness to trial (c) and gain share (d).
- Build a low-calorie innovation plan across the entire grocery store (a) focused on our most loyal Special K lovers (b), to drive trial of new items (c) and successfully enter new markets (d).
- Apple will launch a full communications assault (a) to challenge the PC/Microsoft Windows dominant position (b) by finding flaws in the PC to contrast with Mac computers’ simplicity (c) to steal significant market share by enticing frustrated consumers to buy a Mac (d).
- Apple will launch a full assault against the entire music industry (a) with a disruptive innovator stance (b) to show how iTunes provides higher quality digital music on your iPod, much cheaper, faster and smarter than CDs (c) to gain an entry point into the music industry (d).
How this translates into your Brand Plan
What you will notice is these statements are rather chunky. They end up kinda long-winded and hard to rally a team around. They are the sub-heading to a great heading. The first thing you want to do now is summarize it into a bold statement.
But all this thinking will not go without value as the strategic objective statement should be the first line under the headline of your brand strategy.
To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.
With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.
You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.
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Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.
The best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique engagement tools are the backbone of our strategy workshops. These tools will force you to think differently so you can freely generate many new ideas. At Beloved Brands, we bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.
We help brands find growth
We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a big idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand. Finally, the big idea must influence employees to personally deliver an outstanding consumer experience, to help move consumers along the journey to loving your brand.
We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources. We work with your team to build out project plans, creative briefs and provide advice on marketing execution.
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We make Brand Leaders smarter
We believe that investing in your marketing people will pay off. With smarter people behind your brands will drive higher revenue growth and profits. With our brand management training program, you will see smarter strategic thinking, more focused brand plans, brand positioning, better creative briefs that steer your agencies, improved decision-making on marketing execution, smarter analytical skills to assess your brand’s performance and a better management of the profitability of the brand.
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If you need our help, email me at email@example.com or call me at 416 885 3911