Brand strategy still fighting for its own…brand strategy

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Props to BusinessWeek for telling us the story of companies that are placing more stock (pun intended) in emphasizing their strengths relative to the marketplace. Being so immersed in intelligently plied communications, to stick my head up into the strategy-resistant world and see this article feels much like the go-ahead run is on third base in the 9th inning. At the same time, it makes me scratch my head at the cyclical nature of business fads.

The premise of the article is fantastic and correct; the subtext, however, is somewhat amusing. The assertion here is that companies are hip to the freshly coined “reputation management,” which gives them a full assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, where they stand with regard to competitive positioning, and what messages they would do best to go loud about.

Now, as far as I can tell, RM is virtually identical to competitive analysis and Brand Management (I can only assume it never laid claim to an acronym because the obvious was already taken), which was very popular throughout the turn of 2000 but hasn’t been heard from as much lately.

What happened between 2002 and today? Did a new generation of business leaders burst forth, declare all brand management work to be “poppycock” (oh yes, you heard me: poppycock), and then learn five years later that what they really need is the exact same service with a different moniker?

The fact is that whatever you want to call it, competitive analysis and message development are a critical piece and should be included in the first stages of any credible communications program…it already has a perfectly fitting name: “strategic.”

I’ll file this in the “funny because it’s true” category.

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