Brand Ideals: connecting content strategy to relational strategy and brand strategy

February 17 2015

According to Stengel (2011), brand managers should be conceived as “business artists”, leaders whose primary medium is brand ideals. 

The scope of these business artists is to discover (or rediscover) a brand ideal in one of the five fields of fundamental human values, to build a business culture around the ideal, to communicate the ideal across the organization and outside of it, to deliver a near-ideal customer experience, and to evaluate business performance against this ideal. 

Once a brand manager is clear on the brand ideals (that is, what the brand stands for), the next step is to create communication assets (and a campaign) to guarantee customer experience that supports the chosen ideal that will drive the business. 

An example is how Coca-Cola, which has long been associated with happiness, has transformed for a recent partnership with the James Bond movie “Skyfall” in a smart viral campaign. Instead of focusing on the classic movie franchise’s characteristics, Coke Zero challenged unsuspecting train passengers to “unlock the 007” in them for their chance to win exclusive tickets to the new film. However, the exclusive tickets were not free. Contestants had to go the extra mile and unlock their inner James Bond in less than 70 seconds to win. The humorous video spread across the web, showing Coca-Cola’s need to share happiness around the world.

Coca-Cola ‘007 Campaign’

This is a good example of how brand ideals can be the focus of a marketing campaign, even if the link with the campaign’s theme is not immediately apparent. 

Thinking in terms of brand ideals enables managers to create consistency in their actions and make their message easy to communicate. 

I agree that:

in order to deliver brand essence consistently over time, the content strategy should be deeply linked to brand strategy and viewed through the lens of an overall relational strategy. 

This alignment between content, brand, and relational strategies must be considered in any channel and in any platform, whether online or offline.

Alex Mari

Founder & Creative Director of BrandMate