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Brand Development,
Digital Marketing

A Brand Marketing Strategy Depends on Knowing Your Game

By Alan McNairn | Feb 17 2021

Rain forced me to seek refuge in a Dublin pub. It was chock-a-block with sports fans watching an intercounty football match. I enthusiastically joined them but it wasn’t long before I realized that the game on the screen was completely foreign to me. I presumed that both teams were trying to win and that this was achieved by scoring more goals than the opposing team — basically, the same as any other team sport. Other than that, my understanding of what was happening on the field looked like this.

At first glance, Gaelic football seemed to lack any rules. Of course, there are rules, but they were a complete mystery to me. At times the game resembled basketball and at other times it was more like soccer. Scoring points was undoubtedly the motive for all the activity — running around and passing the ball by the players on both teams. I was confused about how it all worked. The cheering of the crowd suggested that getting points involved putting the ball over the goalposts or in the goal itself.

Mysteries, by their very nature, beg for solutions. So, I turned to the nearest fan in the Dublin pub and asked for help. I timidly asked one question. How do the players score? I got a straightforward, clear answer. Because my pub mate seemed to enjoy explaining the game, I then asked a whole raft of questions and soon understood some of the rules and began to be able to distinguish the roles of each of the players in this team sport. The game began to make sense.

I occur to me that my approach to Gaelic football was similar to how a brand marketing specialist works.

A brand marketing specialist working for a commercial enterprise is faced with the same challenges as I was in understanding Gaelic football. Before they can do much in the way of helping their clients they must understand the game. They must know everything about the business so that they are familiar with the brand being created and how best to position it in the marketplace.

A brand marketing expert will want to know all about a business before establishing a marketing strategy. They will base their game-plan on the answers to questions such as;​
  • What are the goals of the business?
  • How can it be determined if the goal is scored?
  • What are the rules or regulations (marketing budget and the means of product delivery to the consumer)?
  • What kind of game strategy does a business team already have?
It’s perfectly OK for a spectator to be entertained by a game with inscrutable rules, but it’s a different story for participants in the game — the players and referees. They must know what they are doing and why. It’s the same in business. To be a player, to establish a brand marketing strategy you must know what you are doing and why.

Having a product or service that you are convinced is going to succeed in the marketplace is equivalent to the first step in a game. It’s like fielding a team of players. But just doing this doesn’t mean that victory can be achieved. In the field of marketing, everyone in the game must be on the same page —follow a well, thought-out strategy. They must know what they are doing and why. They must have clearly defined goals and know the best way to score them.

In business, this can be established by working with a brand strategist. Before the opening kickoff, a team must know where the goal is and what constitutes a score. These are often very difficult to define in the kind of simple and clear terms that are the necessary preliminaries to establishing a brand strategy. However tough this may be, knowing a goal and how one score is crucial to the subsequent development of an effective brand marketing strategy, a winning marketing campaign and all the components of both including graphic design, web design, packaging design and so on.

Without doing first things first in developing a commercial enterprise one will certainly be in a position like the one I found myself in at that Dublin pub. What one must avoid is a lot of running around and passing the ball with no clear purpose.
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