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By Inqova

According to the 2020 Gartner Annual CMO Spend Survey Research, more than one-third of CMOs are making brand strategy their first priority. Last year, it was placed at the bottom of that list – what changed?

As a result from COVID-19 and various global social movements, consumer behaviour is changing, and companies are cutting back from traditional paid advertising. Uncertainties make people hesitant in making non-essential purchases, so it’s less effective for companies to advertise when people aren’t willing to pay.

This leads up to what we want to focus on today

how do you stay relevant during turbulent times?

By adopting brand-driven advertising and campaigns as your brand strategy.

As a company, you can do this by communicating what your brand stands for, and your commitments that are related to the current situation.

A great example of how this type of balance between staying relevant and reinforcing brand identity is achieved is by Apple. They released a video during the midst of the pandemic, and called it “Apple at Work from Home”.

It resonated with a lot of people and became super relevant, as people can relate their own work from home experiences as a result from the pandemic.

The video highlights the frustrations of Work from Home (WFH), but also largely on how everyone made use of Apple products, and was still able to get their work done from home, encouraging seamless work between devices and people.

This is the epitome of a brand-driven action.

Because it is not only relevant to the current situation, but also successfully delivers their core values and positioning as a reliable consumer technology product in the eyes of their target consumers.

One thing to keep in mind is that Apple didn’t build this brand identity over night, it took them 44 years of continuously delivering their core values and believes to their audience to reach this positioning the market.

This is the result of having a solid brand strategy.

So what is brand strategy? Why are the CMOs so crazy about it, and how did Apple manage to get it right?

In its core, brand strategy is having a plan to manage your brand reputation, manoeuvring from the existing perceptions that people have about your brand (your Brand Image), to the most ideal state (your Brand Identity).

It focuses on the long-term vision.

Try asking yourself this question:

How are we going to position ourselves in people’s minds?

It sounds like a simple task, but in reality, it’s tedious work.

Solidifying your Brand Strategy requires timeeffortpatience, and a deep understanding of your business.

So what are the 3 pillars in establishing your Brand Strategy?

1. Developing your Brand Essence

This is the soul, the spirit, the purpose of your brand.

It is made up of three elements: Why, How & What.

Ask yourself this with your business in your mind:

1. Why do you do what you do?

2. How do you achieve your why?

3. What value are you offering?

Your answers to these will become the foundation of your Brand Essence

2. Find Your Discriminator

Here’s where you figure out your edge, how your values and positioning are different from your competitors, and where you define the personality of your brand.

Consumers are surrounded by so many choices, so what will make them choose your brand versus your competitors?

Brand Strategy

3. Know your audience

When communicating to your consumers, try to communicate more than your product or services functions.

Brand Strategy

Imagine how they will feel when they use your product or services.

Communicate emotionally what your products and services will say about your consumers when they use it, you should aim to touch their hearts!

Brand Strategy

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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READ MORE: 4 Important things to note when scaling your online marketplace

FURTHER READING: 5 branding lessons for those who know nothing about branding

Article syndicated with permission from

Inqova is the Digital Growth Partner for Manufacturers.

They partner with progressive manufacturers in global supply chains to leverage digitalization for positive social and environmental impact.