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Strategy v Plan - what's the difference?

Updated: May 3

So often I hear people discussing the importance of the Brand Marketing Strategy, but when I analyse what they have produced it is actually a Brand Marketing Plan, with very little strategic thinking.

Many confuse the two and often overlap elements without clarity, sometimes getting them the wrong way round, or a best, having the titles with no depth of approach.

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So, what's the difference between them and how do you ensure you get it right?

A Brand Marketing Strategy is the WHAT you are going to do. It comprises of the strategic steps required to achieve your end results. Whereas a Brand Marketing Plan is the HOW you will do it, including the tactics that you plan to use.

The Brand Marketing Strategy should align with the business intentions and include the following:

  • S.M.A.R.T goals that drive the business objectives across customer retention, new client acquisitions, enhanced brand equity, increased brand awareness or effective brand repositioning.

  • The goals broken down into targets with clear metrics and KPIs.

  • The ICP pain-points', with a focus on how these feed into the brand marketing messages.

  • The messaging broken down into sub-messages across the six different Channels of Communication.

  • Researched data and insights that drives the creative decisions and brand development options.

  • Internal and external adaption to support the execution of the strategic thinking.

On the other hand, the Brand Marketing Plan is the tactical approach needed to deliver on the strategic thinking. This includes the following:

  • Channels of Communications being used including ATL, BTL, PR, Digital, Events and Partnerships.

  • Creative concepts to enhance key messaging.

  • Commercial and non-commercial partnerships being developed to elevate budgetary constraints.

  • Execution timelines, resource allocation and budgets.

  • Evaluations methodologies to showcase ROI.

Below is a overview of how both the strategy and the plan work together.

Hope this has helped!

This article is written by - Kubi Springer


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