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How is brand strategy like other forms of strategy?


Strategy itself is the encapsulation of how you’re going to achieve a given aim. It’s your competitive advantage in a given scenario. It is an articulation of how you’re going to win.

  • When it’s a military strategy, it might be, “How will we successfully establish a beachhead in France?”
  • When it’s a business strategy, it might be, “How will we win in this category that we’re trying to disrupt?”
  • And when it’s a brand strategy, it’s “How will we win the hearts and minds of our target customer?”

Whether it’s military strategy, or business strategy, or brand strategy, or evolutionary strategy, or patent strategy, or political strategy, any effective strategy identifies the asymmetric strength that you have in a given scenario that will enable you to win.

When you and your peers have a given strength, that is not an asymmetric advantage, so you need to identify where you alone shine. This helps you to avoid petty one-upmanship in favor of big, meaningful strides.

World-class brands identify the thing that will bring them disproportionate strides toward their desired end. Some examples:

  • Gore-Tex has an asymmetric strength with waterproofing.
  • Chanel has an asymmetric strength with its heritage of luxury goods.
  • Sephora has an asymmetric strength with is immersive store experience.

So, what is your asymmetric strength that far exceeds the rest of the market? Where do you alone shine? The way to achieve your business goals is to identify your asymmetric strength and then to nurture it and to embrace it – and to use it to grow in the way that only you can.

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