A Question to Marketers in APAC: Is Your Brand Strategy Aligned with your Business Strategy?
I recently wrote for M&M Global where I discussed the importance of aligning business strategy with brand strategy. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re a curious, committed marketer who fully understands that a well-conceived brand strategy is a powerful asset to any business. Problem is, there’s a pernicious perception among many company executives that brand strategy is simply a marketing tool, the sole concern of the marketing department.
This disconnect often means that for many organizations, the brand strategy doesn’t align with the business strategy, no matter how hard marketers try to make this happen. But reality is that strategy is a comprehensive plan that encompasses the entire company, and as such, requires buy-in and action from all departments if it is to be successful and profitable. Strategic execution is about grabbing relevant opportunities as they arise that will support the overall business plan, while working across departments on a continuous basis.
Marketers understand better than most other disciplines the importance of culture in supporting a brand and its business strategy. It’s widely recognized in the industry that siloes are the enemy of modern day marketing, getting in the way of social media strategies or efforts at the front line to “live the brand.” For brand strategies to truly be effective, all employees need to behave in a consistent way, guided by the marketing department.
In the M&M Global article I focused specifically on the APAC market, highlighting that for organizations that want to expand into APAC, destroying siloes and aligning brand and business goals is vital. APAC is such a diverse market, full of many different types of customers, channels, business cultures and possible brand strategies, all which make it an easy temptation to stray from the strategic focus.
To be successful in APAC in particular, companies must be able to carry their brand out of their home region and re-align it in new markets. This means that, while thinking global, they must have a solid understanding of why they have excelled locally, then use that as the platform for setting brand and business strategy across new regions.
Somewhat paradoxically, this rigidity actually allows brands expanding into APAC more freedom to experiment with brand and business strategy, within the boundaries of the larger, long-term company goals. It means that you can move quicker through innovation cycles (essential in the fast-paced, constantly-changing APAC market), fail faster and incorporate learnings in real time.
Without these boundaries and the ability to monitor business and brand strategy against opportunities, marketers waste time, effort and precious resources. As author and brand strategist Robert Passikoff says, “predictability, it turns out, is what makes a brand fit with consumer expectations and keeps it profitable.”