How to use a Brand Strategy Roadmap to align and focus everyone

What is brand strategy? Your brand strategy decisions must answer, “how can we get there?” The strategic choices depend on market opportunities you see with consumers, competitors, or situations. Most importantly, strategies must provide clear marching orders that define the strategic program you are investing in, the focused opportunity, the desired market impact and the payback in a performance result that benefits the branded business. In my opinion, every brand should have a Brand Strategy Roadmap that includes the vision, purpose, values, key issues, strategies, and tactics. Also, it could be called a long-range strategic plan, or even a strat plan. The marketing fundamentals that we show in this article are part of what we use in our marketing training programs

As well, the Brand Strategy Roadmap uses the brand idea to deliver a consistent brand across the five consumer touchpoints. These touchpoints that reach consumers include the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience.

Your brand strategy should help build relationships with all of your stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. I believe branding is an essential part of the business that needs to be aligned with the business goals. Read our story on the five steps to building a brand strategy.

To illustrate, click to zoom in for details. 

We have created a Brand Toolkit that includes every slide you need to run your brand. If you are looking to build out your marketing plan work, you can engage our Marketing Plan presentation template. If you are looking to find the right brand positioning on your brand, we do run consulting workshops with teams to help come up with the ideal solution.

Brand Strategy

A brand strategy statement is the heart of any type of plan

Everyone says they are a strategic thinker, yet few are. Early in my career, I confess that I was more of an instinctual marketer. To learn strategic thinking, we need to slow down and organize our thoughts. We look at five elements of strategic thinking, including the vision, strategic program, focused opportunity, market impact and performance result. This creates a flywheel where the strategy keeps fuelling more power and profit. These five elements serve as a good structure to communicate your brand strategy.

To illustrate, click to zoom in for details. 

What is a brand strategy?

Structuring your strategic statements

Let’s now look at how to turn your smart strategic thinking into writing a strategic objective statement that can provide specific marching orders to everyone who works on the brand.

The process covers all five elements of smart strategic thinking. You can see the brand vision, and key issue statement covers the first strategic element. However, you need the strategic objective statement to cover the remaining four other strategic elements, including the program investment, focused opportunity, market impact, and the performance result.

To illustrate, click to zoom in for details. 

Brand strategy template

Brand strategy statement using our A + B + C + D

 

A) Program investment: 

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  “Communicate Gray’s new “guilt-free” positioning to new consumers.”  

B) Focused opportunity: 

The breakthrough point where the brand will exert pressure to create a market impact. In this example, the focused opportunity is the “changing needs of proactive preventers.”

C) Market impact:

Achieves a specific desired market impact with a stakeholder you will attempt to move, whether it is consumers, sales channels, competitors, or influencers. In this example, the desired impact is to “attract and tempt them to try Gray’s.” 

D) Performance result:

Drive a specific performance result linked to the market impact, either making the brand more powerful or more profitable. In this example, “Drive market share.”

To illustrate, click to zoom in for details. 

This unique A + B + C + D strategic model will force you to pick answers to build a strategy statement with marching orders for those who follow your plan. As you build your brand plan, I recommend you use these four elements of smart strategic objective statements to ensure you structure the thinking. 

Here are some brand strategy examples for some famous brands. 

To illustrate, click to zoom in for details. 

Brand strategy statements video lesson

Watch our video to see how we use our five elements of strategy to structure our thinking and then build the brand strategy statements that we can easily explain to others. These form the foundation of the plan. 

Play Video about Writing Brand Strategies Video

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play or volume buttons 

Strategic Plan

Have you ever noticed people who say, “We need to get everyone on the same page” rarely have anything written down on one page. As a result, the same people who use the term “fewer bigger bets” are fans of little projects that deplete resources. To start, every brand needs a long-range plan everyone can follow. Above all, make sure you can get your brand strategy roadmap on one page. 

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in on our brand strategy process.

Strategic plan template

Vision: 

First, the vision in the brand strategy roadmap should answer the question, “Where could we be?” Put a stake in the ground that describes an ideal state for your future. It should be able to last for five to 10 years. Essentially, the vision gives everyone clear direction. Most importantly, the vision should motivate the team. Write the vision in a way that scares you a little but excites you a lot. The vision steers the long-range strategic plan.

Brand purpose: 

Next, the purpose has to answer the question, “Why does your brand exist?” It’s the underlying personal motivation for why you do what you do. Furthermore, the purpose is a powerful way to connect with employees and consumers, giving your brand a soul.  

Values: 

Then, layer in values that should answer, “What do you stand for?” Your values should guide you and shape the organization’s standards. Values connect your beliefs, behaviors, expectations, and motivations. Above all, the brand must consistently deliver each value.

Goals: 

Your goals in the brand strategy roadmap should answer, “What will you achieve?” For example, the specific measures can include consumer behavioral changes, metrics of crucial programs, in-market performance targets, financial results, or milestones on the pathway to the vision. Accordingly, your goals set up a brand dashboard or scoreboard.

Situation analysis: 

Use your deep-dive business review to answer, “Where are we?” Your analysis must summarize the drivers and inhibitors currently facing the brand. And, the analysis must discover future threats and untapped opportunities. 

Key issues: 

The key issues answer the question, “Why are we here?” Look at what is getting in your way of achieving your brand vision. Then, ask the issues as questions. The strategies are the answer to each issue.

Brand Strategy: 

Next, use your brand strategy decisions to answer, “How can we get there?” Your choices depend on market opportunities you see with consumers, competitors, or situations. Most importantly, the strategies must provide clear marching orders. Above all, the brand strategy define the strategic program you are investing in, the focused opportunity, the desired market impact and the payback in a performance result that benefits the branded business.

Tactics: 

Finally, the tactics answer, “What do we need to do?” Framed entirely by strategy, tactics turn into action plans with clear marching orders to your teams. Decide on which activities to invest in to stay on track with your vision. Most importantly, the best ideas must deliver the highest ROI (return on investment) and the highest ROE (return on effort). With a long-range strategic plan, you don’t have to get too specific with the tactics. 

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in.

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in.

Managing the brand

Your brand idea is at the heart of your brand strategy

When we help find your brand strategy, we use a brand idea to represent the inner brand soul of everyone who works on the brand, inspiring employees to deliver the brand promise and amazing experiences. Most importantly, the brand strategy must be ownable, so no other competitor can infringe on your space, and you can confidently build your brand reputation over time. Make sure this work is based on your brand positioning statement

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand idea 

Brand Strategy brainstorm

In stage one of finding your brand strategy, we hold a keywords brainstorm for each of the five areas. Start by brainstorming 20-30 words that describe each of the five elements of the brand idea. 

Then in stage two, we turn keywords into key phrases for each of the five areas. Next, get the team to vote to narrow down the list to the best 3-5 words for each section. You will begin to see certain themes and keywords. Take those selected words and build phrases to summarize each section.

In stage three of our brand strategy workshops, summarize everything to create a brand idea. Once you have phrases for all five areas of our brand strategy model, the team should feel inspired to use their creative energy to come up with the brand idea. Find a summary statement that captures everything around the circle. Try to get a few different options you can test with both consumers and employees.

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand idea tool.

Brand management

Align the brand idea across five consumer touchpoints

Today’s market is a cluttered mess. The consumer is bombarded with brand messages all day, and inundated with more information from influencers, friends, experts, critics, and competitors. While the internet makes shopping easier, consumers must now filter out tons of information daily. I believe the consumer’s shopping patterns have gone from a simple, linear purchase pattern into complex, cluttered chaos.

Brands are more than a name or logo. In today’s age, brand strategy is a business strategy. They provide an identity for some specific products and services, as well as the company that offers those products and services. Your brand strategy should help build trust among customers by conveying a message, a promise of quality and consistency.

Use the brand idea as an organizing tool

Brands must be consistent. There are five main touchpoints that reach consumers, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience. If the brand does not deliver a consistent message, the consumer will be confused and likely shut out that brand.strategic plan. Brands cannot control what order each touchpoint reaches the consumer. And, they can undoubtedly align each of those touchpoints under the brand idea. The consumer will start to see the brand as consistent.

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in.

Brand promise: 

When you use the brand idea to inspire a simple brand promise it separates your brand from competitors. Essentially, make sure you position your brand as better, different, or cheaper.

Brand story: 

When you use a brand story to bring the brand idea to life it helps motivate consumers to think, feel, or act while it works establishes the ideal brand’s reputation to be held in the minds and hearts of the consumer. Above all, the brand story aligns all brand communications across all media options.

Innovation: 

When you use the brand idea to build a fundamentally sound product, it helps stay at the forefront of trends and technology to deliver innovation. Furthermore, steer the product development teams to ensure they remain true to the brand idea.

Purchase moment: 

When you use the brand idea to move consumers along the purchase journey to the final purchase decision, it helps align the sales team and set up retail channels. 

Consumer experience: 

Finally, turn the usage into a consumer experience that becomes a ritual and favorite part of the consumer’s day. And, the brand idea guides the culture of everyone behind the brand who deliver the experience.

Brand Strategy Template

The brand strategy roadmap aligns and focuses everyone

Always look at a long-range strategic plan as an opportunity to make decisions on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources. Apply those resources to the smartest ideas that will drive the highest return. Make the best financial investment choices. Furthermore, the long-range strategic plan forces you to make the best decisions on how to deploy your people.

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand strategy roadmap which our strategic plan template.

We include our Brand Strategy Roadmap in our Brand Toolkit, which you can get access to by clicking on the link below.

We can turn these your brand strategy into a brand brief to help you run your brand

When you are beginning to execute the macro elements to set up your brand including the logo, packaging, launch communication, etc, you can use a brand brief to steer those coming up with the ideas. 

Example of brand strategy

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a Consumer Healthcare brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our consumer healthcare strategic plan.

Example of B2B Brand Strategy Roadmap template

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a B2B Stage Lighting business

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our B2B strategic plan.

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a B2B tool brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our B2B strategic plan.

Our healthcare Brand Strategy Roadmap template

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a Prescription Healthcare brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our healthcare strategic plan

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a medical equipment brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our healthcare strategic plan

To illustrate, click on the strategic thinking skills above.

Use the brand strategy to steer everyone who works on the brand

The best brands consistently deliver. Use a cross-functional team, including salespeople, R&D, human resources, finance, and operations. Their participation is one way to gain their buy-in. But that’s not where it stops. 

Use your internal brand communications tools to drive a shared definition. Get everyone to articulate how their role delivers the idea. Give the external and internal brand story equal importance to the consumer experience you create for your brand.

 

Everyone needs a common understanding of and talking points for the brand

When you work on a brand that leads to the customer experience, your operations people will be responsible for the face-to-face delivery of your brand to the consumer. Most importantly, develop a list of service values, behaviors, and processes to deliver the brand idea throughout your organization. 

Everyone who works on the brand should use the idea as inspiration, and to guide decisions and activities across every function of your organization. Essentially, it is the people within the brand organization who will deliver the brand idea to the consumer. Everyone needs a common understanding of and talking points for the brand.

When you work on a brand that leads to the customer experience, your operations people will be responsible for the face-to-face delivery of your brand to the consumer. Most importantly, develop a list of service values, behaviors, and processes to deliver the brand idea throughout your organization. 

Explaining your brand strategy through a brand credo

Having spent time at Johnson & Johnson, I was lucky to see how their credo document has become an essential part of the culture of the organization. Not only does it permeate throughout the company but you will also likely hear it quoted in meetings on a daily basis. Essentially, it is a beautifully written document and ahead of its time.

Brand Credo brand strategy

To illustrate, click on the Credo document above.

What is brand strategy

Learn how to write a brand strategy statement

Our unique model will force you to pick answers to build a brand strategy statement with marching orders for those who follow your plan. Most importantly, as you build your brand plan, I recommend you use these four elements of smart brand strategy statements to ensure you structure the thinking.

brand strategy statement

To illustrate, click on the strategic plan statements above.

A: Strategic program

First, the brand strategy 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. For example, the strategic program is to “Create an elevated VIP consumer experience.” 

B: Focused opportunity

 Second, the brand strategy uses a breakthrough point where the brand will exert pressure to create a market impact. For example, the focused opportunity is to “Reward our most loyal consumers.” 

C: Market impact

Third, the brand strategy should achieve a specific desired market impact with a stakeholder you will attempt to move, whether it is consumers, sales channels, competitors, or influencers. For example, the desired impact is to “Turn the consumer’s regular usage into a higher frequency ritual.” 

D: Performance result

 Finally, the brand strategy statement must drive a specific performance result linked to the market impact, either making the brand more powerful or more profitable. For example, “Tightening their bond with our brand.”

Brand plan template

If you are running a consumer-driven brand or a consultant helping your clients, our Brand Plan template includes ideal slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, brand positioning statement, and execution plans. Our Brand Plan template provides formatted blank slides with key marketing definitions where you can insert your own brand plan. And, we include a fully completed Brand Plan for Gray’s Cookies. You will also get our one-page Brand Plan and our one-page Brand Strategy Roadmap.

brand plan template

Brand Management Mini MBA

Invest in your future. If you are an ambitious marketer, looking to solidify your marketing skills, our Brand Management Mini MBA will teach you about strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, advertising decisions, and marketing analytics. 

Have a look at our brochure on our Mini MBA program

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You get 36 training videos and our Brand Toolkit ($200 value) that has over 120 PowerPoint slides you can use for presentations on brand plans, brand positioning, and business reviews. We provide key chapters from our Beloved Brands Playbook, and a Brand Management Workbook with exercises to try in real-time. Earn a certificate you can use on your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

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Contact Information

Graham Robertson

Email: graham@beloved-brands.com

Phone: 416–885–3911

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