No consumer ever sees your strategy. No matter how brilliant it may be, the strategic plan you develop is a just piece of paper. It’s the actions and communications you create for your brand that are what your consumer experiences and that drive your results.
But all your brand’s actions need to lead SOMEWHERE. This is where strategy is critical – it provides your destination. All brands are a collection of tactics, actions and experiences – so make damn sure that they are leading the consumer to the destination you intend. When you get dragged down into the executional weeds, your strategy will provide a “narrative compass” (h/t Bernadette Jiwa), ensuring that you don’t end up headed in the wrong direction when you come up for air again.
Nonetheless, your strategy will never give you the roadmap, because the journey is likely to be farther than a turn-by-turn travel route can provide. And, more importantly, the real world is more complex and changing than your strategy paper or the streets of your town. While your strategy may tell you to head “West”, and provide basic directional do’s and don’t’s, be prepared to make some adjustments and u-turns along the way. While your destination remains the same, your approaches and paths will evolve based on contextual and real world changes.
Strategy is a destination. Start your engine and get going.