Letter

Brand stewardship should focus on what, not who
I read with interest Will Novosedlik's article on the continuing fight for brand stewardship between traditional agencies and business consultants.

Brand stewardship should focus on what, not who

I read with interest Will Novosedlik’s article on the continuing fight for brand stewardship between traditional agencies and business consultants. In it he made a few observations that illustrate the need is not for a clearer understanding of who is best suited to the role of ‘guardian’, but of what that role must encompass.

Firstly, all discussions about branding must start with one, often misunderstood, fact: the brand is the company. The brand is not the advertising campaign or even the larger communications plan; it is the entire organization. Therefore in effective companies, the brand strategy drives the business strategy, not the other way around.

As outside experts we can help a company focus, align, streamline and educate clients (if needed) on what ownership entails. A successful branding approach is to make companies better stewards of their own brands not confuse them by appropriating the term to suit the particular strength of the supplier – something both consultants and agencies are guilty of.

Novosedlik also states that often in the discovery phase of a project the agency encounters business issues beyond its mandate, which it is unable to change. In reality it is more likely that the agency is either unwilling or unable to effect these changes because they lack the expertise and evaluation tools to deal with the complex internal operations of organizations.

Also we cannot forget they also lack the compensation arrangements that would allow for this type of in-depth work.

Lastly, on the points of both brand as an increasingly important competitive driver, and the marketing services industry’s search to provide this solution to clients, I could not agree more. However, given the above, only a new model that spans the gap between these two poles will succeed where, so far, neither party has.

Patrick Dickinson

President,

Storefront Communications

Toronto, Ont.