The Difference Between Business, Brand, and Marketing Strategy
When I was a child, I took a lot of pride in my ability to skip steps as I bounded down the stairs. I did it because it was faster, it was a challenge, and probably because I wanted to show off a little. Surprisingly, I only tumbled down a few times.
Later in school, I took pride in being able to skip steps in art class. My teacher wanted me to lay out the proportions, draw a rough sketch of the skeletal structure but I would jump ahead and just draw what I saw. I thought this proved I was good at drawing. But when I went to college, and when figure drawing class got tough, I was caught off-guard. My professor made me cry a few times as he scolded me for not following the process.
And none of this is to judge. I’m guilty of this type of thinking too. I’m often impatient and want things quickly. We all want to skip the tough or uncomfortable parts.
The desire for shortcuts is widespread. We all want a successful business, but often we don’t want to put in the hard work or experience failures along the way.
One thing I’ve noticed is, we’re willing to jump ahead of the foundations in order to start implementing something sexier.
Instead of thinking about color psychology, a color palette gets pulled from Pinterest
We’ll use the latest trendy font instead of thinking about the personality of the brand
So much emphasis will be put on the visuals of the brand without ever thinking about what the brand actually stands for
Setting the foundations first takes work and it’s not always easy and I think this is why a lot of people skip the business strategy and brand strategy in order to dive headfirst into a marketing strategy.
We hear the word “strategy” a lot these days. And there are a lot of strategies out there but ultimately it just means a plan of action- how you’re going to get something done.
And if you are scratching your head wondering what the difference is between business, brand, and marketing strategy, I totally get it and you are so not alone.⠀
These are all stand-alone strategies but there is some overlap between them. Allow me to break it down for you.
Step One: Business Strategy
This covers things like the business model, sources of revenue, cost structure, and strategic partnerships.
We can find the overlap between business strategy and brand strategy when we take a look at the marketplace and the peers in our space.
Step Two: Brand Strategy
This covers things like the essence of the organization, its characteristics, values, attributes, and positioning. The brand strategy is more of a “pull tactic”, meaning what makes the brand magnetic and why do people come to you?
We can find the overlap between brand and marketing strategy when we think about things like our unique positioning and who our audience is and what their needs are.
Step Three: Marketing Strategy
This is the plan for promoting and selling a product or service. The marketing strategy is more of a “push tactic”, meaning what do we need to do to get in front of people?
The sequence of following these three steps is important.
Business Strategy ➡️ Brand Strategy ➡️ Marketing Strategy
I’m not going to scold you or make you cry like my professor did for skipping a step. We all do it. But when we skip a step we ultimately have to go back to the foundations. What we think is a shortcut will actually end up taking more time.
You have to establish one strategy before you can move on to the other. But when they work together and no steps are skipped – *chef’s kiss*