How do you determine who is an ideal brand team partner? For me, it’s someone who believes in strategy, is a great collaborator and contributor, and appreciates the value of communications that are developed from a well-crafted and planned brand platform. When you have a team who is on board with this philosophy, you’re headed for success.

What’s nice about working this way is the reduction of ambiguity, subjectivity and those discouraging opinion skirmishes. With a strategy, it’s so much easier to decide and agree if an idea is on or off-strategy. Comments have context, the approval process is faster and the work is so much more effective.

In my experience, the greatest value a strategy provides is not – as we’ve been taught – in creating communications consistency. It’s the ability to create alignment among the brand’s many stakeholders.

Allow me to explain.

In the absence of strategy, brand teams will often waste time and money considering and debating ideas that should have never been brought up in the first place. And for the nonprofit, startup and small business clients we work with, wasting time or money is an essential stewardship issue.

With an approved strategy as the benchmark, individuals can and will self-police. They will learn that wasting other people’s time with off-strategy ideas and discussions are self-defeating behaviors.

So the next time you’re in a meeting “decorating” a brand, please remember the value of this hard-learned wisdom, and ask everyone to refocus on the brand strategy.

— Melinda Kaiser, President