Strategy Tourist or Brand CEO? (Brand Vision – Part 1)

Here is the first of a series of posts with key headlines from the new book, Brand Vision: How to energize your team to drive business growth. This one is about the risks of "strategy tourism".

Strategy tourism is an explanation for the poor success rates of brand visioning exercises. In research for the book with marketing directors only 9% of them said that most/all such exercises added value to the business. Put another way, 91% said that most/all were a waste of time, effort and money! Ow. And hands up, I’ve been involved in some of those types of projects, even though I’m now obsessed with trying to ensure a vision drives business-building actions.

The summary of strategy tourism is shown below, though most people have a pretty vivid picture in their minds of what it is from the name alone. Its an intellectual process that is heavy on debate and light on action. People try and fill in the boxes on a complex positioning pyramid/diamond/donut, and then agonizing over specific words. And when they do get onto action, they only discuss communication and not the bigger challenge of fixing the product or service.

In contrast, "Brand CEO’s" are the leaders who successfully create a vision for their brand that energizes the team to drive growth. They  lead through their actions more than their words, saying less and doing more. They have a passionate belief in the brand vision to the point of being evangelical. And they earn the respect of the whole business, not just marketing, by having a deep understanding of what creates value in the business. In some cases they are literally the CEO (Steve Jobs, Michael Dell) but they also exist in consumer goods companies in the form of the very best brand or marketing directors. One example is Silvia Lagnado, the architect of much of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, and now leading the Knorr brand for Unilever.

Any good examples of other brand CEOs? Or strategy tourists!?

The next highlight from Brand Vision will introduce the idea of a "visioning journey" that you can take a team on to create an inspiring vision and, just as importantly, an action plan to drive growth.