In an allegedly customer-centric, consumer-controlled marketplace, the external representations of a brand – identity, messaging, and especially experience – get the most attention. But what’s underneath all that carefully crafted (or barely controllable) brand exterior? Strategy.

In our series “What the Leading Brand Thinkers Really Think,” we’ve explored (and will continue to explore) various strategic philosophies from simplicity to agility to the four pillars of “relentless relevance.”  But we also wanted to look at the place and practice of strategy in this time of considerable change, so I reached out to:

Matt Biespiel, who has deep experience defining and shaping brands on both the client and agency sides, most recently as the worldwide brand lead at McDonald’s.

Jonathan Copulsky, Principal and CMO of Deloitte, and author of Brand Resilience

Garret Putnam, Principal Marketing Consultant for SAS

(Regrettably, our European participant had to drop out last minute, leaving this an unintentionally American discussion).

Download and read the full Roundtable, in which our experts answer:

  1. How do you define “brand strategy” today, both in terms of its purpose and its activity (the key functional components or process deliverables)?
  2. Do you consider brand strategy to be a core business strategy — and do you see it generally being embraced as such by top business leaders?
  3. What do you see as the greatest challenges, and opportunities, in brand strategy today?
  4. Is the obsession with big data and all things digital, underlying so many of the tactical advances in marketing, having a similar impact on branding?
  5. Which of the following do you see as the more appropriate partners for organizations in the development of their brand strategies: brand consultancies, marketing agencies or internal resources.
  6. What expertise and talents are required to be a good brand strategist?
  7. If you can, please describe an “Aha!” moment, strategic breakthrough or simply a favorite strategy development example from your own experience.

Download and read the full Branding Roundtable as a free eBook