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The Brand Strategy Toolkit Review

The Brand Strategy Toolkit

The Brand Strategy Toolkit will bring focus to your work.

Branding is a big topic. Advice abounds regarding how to build a better brand. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed these days juggling the competing priorities of big data, social media, and employee engagement, get your head on straight with The Brand Strategy Toolkit by Carol Phillips and Judy Hopelain. It’s a great resource to bring focus to your work. This handy primer delivers a step-by-step process for nailing any brand strategy, complete with templates and examples taken from well-respected brands.

Turning Insights Into Action

Right now, big data is a big deal. But it makes a person wonder: how do we translate that ocean of data into meaningful action steps?

The authors argue that it’s important to have a clear process in place to turn insights into brand assets. And Ms. Phillips and Ms. Hopelain have made it so easy. Mercifully short at 80 pages, the book is all muscle, no fat. It’s chock full of no-nonsense explanations:

”There are four main criteria for evaluating positionings. Two pertain to the customer (resonance, credibility) and two to the company (strategic fit and differentiation).”

Tools and Templates that Free Us to Be Creative in the Right Ways

The best brand makers are creative, as well as strategic. But squandering precious creative juices on designing a planning process is foolish. Thankfully, the tools that accompany The Brand Strategy Toolkit provide an invaluable framework for launching or rethinking your brand. For example, the Brand Assessment Framework and the Brand Equity Pyramid are must haves for any marketer’s toolbox.

Throughout the book, the authors make generous use of examples based on actual brands we all know and love. This eliminates guesswork by demonstrating the precise language needed to convey the essence of a brand, even for use in strategic internal documents. Anyone consulting or teaching marketing will want to crib from these examples.

How-Tos for Building a Brand Culture Internally

The chapter on Internal Alignment will be important to marketers grappling to get their internal cultures to click with the brand positioning. Unless you’ve been living on a desert island, you’re clued into how valuable employees can be as credible brand agents. This isn’t new territory for marketers. But it is somewhat unexplained. If all the other chapters in the book are refreshers, this chapter will be enlightening. It provides proven steps for getting employees excited and engaged.

Let’s be honest. The topic of ”branding” is oversaturated with terms and nuances that can clutter our thinking. The book’s explanations are refreshingly clear, delivering a solid process for what to do next. Even the glossary of brand terms will give your team a common language, which can be immensely helpful.

The Brand Strategy Toolkit is a Swiss Army knife of a book that will help busy marketers cut corners without sacrificing rigor. I plan to keep it handy. Authors Carol Phillips (MENG member) and Judy Hopelain teach marketing at the University of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley, respectively. And they are principals at Brand Amplitude, LLC, an insights and strategy consulting firm serving clients in consumer products, healthcare, B2B, not-for-profit, and higher education. You’ll find lots of free stuff at the authors’ website, Brand Amplitude.

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About Patricia Martin

Patricia Martin is an author and cultural analyst who tracks changes in culture that affect consumer attitudes and behaviors. She is the founder and CEO of LitLamp Communications, a Chicago-based consultancy that combines social research with strategic communications to help clients lead change in a digital culture. Sample clients include Discovery Channel, NASA, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems. She is a frequent contributor to Advertising Age magazine and The Huffington Post.

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