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If I remember correctly, the first book I was assigned to read in high school is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Arguably a relatively inaccessible piece of literature to expect a 14-year-old to rightly apply to life, it is one that I can now, years later, recognize as applicable to the workplace, particularly when it comes to branding.

At MarketPlace, our mantra is “strategy first, production second,” which is essentially a descendant of a lesson from Tzu: “If you will not begin with stratagem but rely on brute strength alone, victory will no longer be assured.” Simply put, a brand without a strategy is setting itself up for failure.

Since a marketing blog that fails to mention the Super Bowl in the days immediately following is probably not doing its job, I’m taking this as an opportunity to highlight one of the brands that I think did things right: Tide.
The idea behind the Tide ads themselves is a simple one: any clothes in any commercial that are clean are assets in a Tide ad. Every step of the strategy (that I can deduce) behind the commercials seems clearly thought through. From the decision to purchase ads in every quarter of the game (to communicate the ubiquity of Tide) to the campaign tone to the concurrent Twitter campaign using the hashtag #TideAd to distracting some from the Tide Pod PR fiasco, the brand strategy shined during the biggest night of the year for commercials.
 
The obvious lesson: we can’t jump the gun on creating things (logos, websites, trade show booths, media plans, ad campaigns) without a sound strategy to inform them. Doing so takes time and money and often feats of patience from stakeholders, but it’s always worth it in our experience.

Our team is made up of academics, writers, designers, foodies, videographers, pet lovers, and more, all of whom collaborate with our clients to develop strategies that guide all marketing and business decisions. We know your industry and we know how your brand fits into it. We recommend and execute tactics that work in tandem based on this knowledge and our unique perspectives.

Let Tide and some of our case studies be a few of a countless number of examples that prove the value of “strategy first, production second.”
We practice what we preach every day, helping our clients assess the market that they’re competing in and developing a strategy that helps them stand out. Looking for some help? We hope you’ll get in touch.

Author
Hibsch develops strategies for our partners across industries, and what every one of those partners will tell you about Jim is that he’s as interested in the people as he is the products.

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