I was very kindly (or rather unkindly depending on how you look at it) given the title strategic marketing as the topic area for my blog this week.

Several mind maps later I have come to the conclusion that you might find it interesting to read about how an agency works on its self.

The starting point – Our Vision

If you’re not careful you can definitely suffer from a severe case of cobblers shoes. We spend our entire lives running visioning and proposition workshops, defining brand strategies and identities and advising on strategic marketing issues, that more often or not you don’t apply that rigor to your own business.

However this year we embarked on the journey ourselves. So we started with our vision. Senior team gathered off site for a thorough review of our offer covering our competitive context, our core strengths, our current offer and as importantly our ambition.

Using the Lafley Model – ‘Playing to win’ we defined:

1. Our winning aspiration – the purpose
2. Where we will play – the right playing field
3. How we will win – our value proposition
4. What capabilities should be in place
5. What management systems are required

Without giving all our secrets away we defined our winning ambition as being ‘the go to agency for seamless shopper thinking and creativity’.

(And despite the fact that we’re currently researching our proposition we’ve lived the last three months making decisions against this vision that has been liberating to say the least.)

Value added proposition

The VAP was more interesting with a breadth of clients in different categories, understanding where you add most value and then creating a unique scalable proposition took a little more wrestling to ground.

Where we netted out, and of course if you’re an interested client feel free to proffer an opinion to sue@themarketcreative.com is a single statement – we drive shoppers to you brand.

It’s supported by the actual value we add to your business – brand equity growth, enabling big decisions and campaign success.

We’ve even gone as far as creating our own brand bag – our strategic brand planning process.

The need for a powerful brand platform

When we build brands we think of them as living beings, they’re not logos/identities/advertising/social campaigns they are so much more. And this thinking has never been truer than when you are trying to build your own brand. Suddenly you’re forced to think about values, employee behaviours, physical expressions, demonstrable activities, products, services and so on. This means that the task of defining brand values & expression has to have so much more depth than a few words on paper.

I truly think we’ve got something special our proposition – driving shoppers to your brand – it’s a platform that gives us access to the magical world of shopping and all the sensual, digital and physical experiences that are a strategic marketers dream.

After 20 years of telling clients I now feel like I really understand the true effort required to build your own brand – so brace yourself all that know me – I’m really going to challenge your brand thinking.

Employee engagement

The last couple of points – Vital to the success of any business is your employee engagement strategy and funnily enough in a small business its crucial that everyone is on board with the plan. So we’ve run a series of events to take our colleagues on the journey. Starting with a visioning session so the team were clear what we are about and had an opportunity to explore what it means to them, we’ve followed that by monthly Sunshine Meetings where we share great agency stories about shopping. And we’ve even taken the whole team to shoppers’ paradise on a London Retail Safari. Check out the blogs here.

Research & testing

Our process is not over yet as we are fundamentally an insight and research based business we thought we better apply that thinking again to our selves.

So as I write our value proposition is out in the field being rigorously reviewed by leading Marketing Directors in the world of retail, home brands and FMCG brands.

So like you my fellow clients I pray that my years of experience and a good dollop of intuition will work out there under interrogation!

Watch this space…

Over the next few months I’ll share our story with you even the ugly bits form the research – there’s always something. But if you like what we’ve done with our own strategic marketing get in-touch in just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we do for clients.

Sue Benson
Managing Director