The Opinions

Do the basics right

A simple strategy abets simple execution. The focus can therefore be on the audience and outcomes. Communication levers are many but the choice should be easy and objective.


What is a brand? 
A brand isn’t what the company says it is, but it is what the customers say it is.
What do you need to build the correct perception of your brand? 
A simple brand strategy
How to develop a simple brand strategy?
A simple brand strategy is hard to define, but it should answer these questions – 
Who is it for?
What is it for?
What difference does it make?
What value does it create?
But is it that simple to answer these questions? 

A straightforward response to these questions will get you nowhere, and you’ll just be another faceless player in the category. Hence it is vital to ensure you have the essential elements covered.

Key elements required to build a simple strategy:

A brand story:
We need to think of our brand strategy as a story we are telling. A good brand narrative/story is not just something you read in an article or a book; it needs to catch the right pulse and connect to the right audience. It also needs to identify and promote a problem.

How is this relevant for a B2B brand? 
Well, the more complex or techy your brand is, the more you need storytelling. Else you will keep focusing on features or services rather than invoking the right emotion in your audience to believe in your brand.

A purpose:
A brand’s purpose is the reason it exists beyond making money. No, it goes beyond figuring out your CSR plan to coin your purpose. It’s for consumers to believe in more and come back for more! Every marketing activity, HR process, stakeholder communication, company culture, or CSR plan will revolve around that purpose. 

The personas:
You can only have an impact if you know who you are trying to connect to. Your target audience’s fears, triggers, motivations, and medium usage will help you send the right message at the right time and place.

Once the key elements are covered, it is easier to define the brand – vision, mission, values, positioning, archetypes, and tonality. And when this is set, it becomes a guide for every decision you make for the brand – whether it is launching a new website, brainstorming on a tagline, releasing a commercial ad or entering the media.

PaperBoat is one of the brands that caught my attention with their clear, authentic and effective strategy. Their tagline is ‘Drinks and memories,’ which tells you that this drink will take you on a trip down memory lane. You don’t need more than three words to convey your brand message. 

What are they essentially selling? 
Memories in a juice pack! 

They built the brand around their philosophy – Life is still beautiful. Everything from flying kites to trying to reach for a jar full of treats from a high cupboard to making paper boats became a point of conversation. Games from one’s younger days, such as the desi versions of cops and robbers in the form of Raja, Mantri, Chor, Sipahi, hopscotch and the all-time favorite classroom game, Flames became a point of fond memories. 

Indirectly, Paper Boat let the boat sail on the waters of nostalgia, encouraging sharing and exchange on bygone eras. And this wasn’t just limited to their marketing campaigns. It was carried across their product range, packaging, website, and games. The brand had a solid story to tell, it had a purpose of reconnecting people to their childhood, and it tapped consumers born in the 80s & 90s when they were bored of the usual futuristic non-insightful communication. This was a refresher, and this simple strategy made them the category disruptor.

Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple Inc., said it best: “Simple can be harder than complex. You must work hard to keep your thinking clean and simple. But it’s worth it in the end.”

Reema Desai, Ideosphere.