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Look at the legs of this strategy

The term “strategy” in everyday advertising is used as loosely as “loot” in modern hip-hop. And while the two are constantly mentioned, no one can really tell what a good one looks like.

To add to that inappropriate and barely warranted comparison, as with “booty,” it’s not so much about having one, but more about the quality of the one you have.

Howell J Malham Jr, in his book “I have a strategy (No you don’t)“, does an excellent job of explaining what a good strategy requires. He explains that a strategy should have:

When applying the four elements, Malham suggested it becomes clear how comprehensive your strategy needs to be, and rightly so. It should be the point of reference, which will provide guidelines on what’s in and what’s out, when it comes to your brand and your brand extensions.

Besides a targeted approach and the obvious benefits that will result from a rigorous strategy, your strategy should also serve as the catalyst for your creation. It should be the genesis of all your tactics and be your point of call as you develop ideas and implement those ideas. Your strategy must have legs.

The playground of creativity

Here’s a sports analogy to help explain what I’m trying to understand: your strategy should become the playground for your creative executions. When the game is governed by the framework defined in your strategy, it must at all times respect the agreed parameters. And just as the rules and regulations of any sport help spark moments of sporting brilliance, your strategy must also have the ability to leave your creations inspired.

It’s common knowledge that creativity is fueled by restrictions and limitations, so it’s up to your strategy to set the environment that will allow the beauty of this game to unfold and unfold in a way that aims achieve your strategic goals. Creative Director, Norman Berry wrote “Vague strategies inhibit. Precise strategies liberate.”

A good strategy must have legs!

In my experience, I have found that due to the “always on” nature of digital and the extent and frequency with which a strategy must be applied, the fundamentals of a strategy are truly tested when it is applied in the digital space. Its legs, for example, will show in the brand’s core daily extensions, such as its ability to guide how your community managers engage with their responses and its ability to shape social content generated daily.

Your strategy should be reflected in all your brand extensions and tactics, not just the big and flashy ones. It will therefore be in the ability of your strategy to be applied throughout your value chain that its quality will be revealed. Sun Tzu, Chinese military general, strategist, philosopher and author of art of warexplained it thus: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest path to victory. Tactics without strategy is the sound before defeat.”

Insist on a tight strategy; one that contains a clear goal and a plan that will ensure that goal is achieved. Make sure the goal and plan are clearly established, as they will serve as the catalysts behind all your executions, providing the framework for your creation and ensuring that a focused approach is maintained. Therefore, don’t orphan your strategy after presenting it to the client – come back to it and let it run.

“All men can see these tactics by which I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy from which victory is built,” Sun Tzu.