Tuesday 7 April 2009

When is the right time to call in the strategists?

Circulated this morning under cover of BrandChannel is a short paper (5 pages, of which pages 2 to 4 carry the meat) entitled "Your Brand is an Asset? Show me the money" by Stuart Leo, Director of a "boutique strategic marketing company" in Australia with the splendidly attention-grabbing name of Blirt! The thesis is that, in a downturn, your brand can bring you money.

Hoping for the revelation of some deep truths, I opened the document and was, as ever, a little disappointed. Literature such as this is part-exhortatory and part promotional. It seeks to goad the brand owner into action. There seems to be a huge disconnect between this sort of material and the usual reality, when the exciting idea (in this case (i) sell, (ii) license, (iii) co-brand or (iv) promote) hits the buffers. In most cases the medicine is better than the patient: the brand is poor, the goods or services to which it is attached are not thriving, and so on. By the time the brand owner starts seeking external advice, he has often tried and failed to do one or more of the four things which the author suggests, which narrows options still further.

If there is a moral to all this, it's that the best time to call in anyone -- brand gurus, marketing and advertising experts, business consultants -- is early, when the going is good and a business can afford what many regard as a luxury. It's also the time when the most options remain open.

No comments: