Brand strategy needs to be the “north star” for every employee at an agency, according to Garth McCallum, chief strategy officer at Calcium.
As more roles like McCallum’s focus solely on strategy, he said he fears the ability to build a brand strategy is becoming siloed.
“There is a little cloudiness about what strategy means,” McCallum explained. “One of the things we’ve noticed as we bring in account people is they don’t have strategic chops. In a lot of ways, that responsibility is being shifted over to that particular [strategy] role. Our feeling is that brand strategy, once identified, is something the brand team lives every day, but strategy in itself has become a bit diluted and siloed.”
McCallum, speaking with Calcium president Lou Iovino at MM&M’s Evolution of the Agency Universe event on Wednesday, said the core of brand strategy is hashing out four to six brand positioning tenets at the beginning of a client relationship and sticking to them.
He added that it’s important for everyone at an agency to know the brand strategy, from account people to creatives to digital staff, to ensure everything sticks to that positioning “north star.”
“It’s fun to chase the shiny object, and it’s very tantalizing to go after the newest way of communicating to customers,” Iovino explained. “Our clients are often rewarded for being innovative, so they are incentivized to chase the latest and greatest thing where something as simple as direct mail could be an incredibly effective tool for a brand. I think it’s very hard for people to always hold true to the positioning statement.”