#10 Strategy like running tights
and other brain failures I experienced this week.
This is Room To Fail, a newsletter about learning strategy and how to let ourselves fail, just to only get things right the next time. Or the next.
I’m Irina. Welcome and buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Hopefully.
Today’s read takes 7 minutes.
Yep, busy weeks passed, busy weeks ahead and I’m struggling to adapt to a new change. Again. First it was freelancing, then this on-going pandemic, then lots of work, then no work at all, then lots of meetings, then lots of work again. I’m grateful for all that’s happening and pushing me to work and learn. At the same time, it feels pretty hard for me to find a proper routine when everything in the schedule changes every two weeks.
I thrive in a routine: I sleep well, I exercise, I read and write, I feel more creative. And I think that’s what I try to find for my clients too - a brand and communication routine that lets everyone be creative and comfortable inside structure. It’s like finding the right running tights for the brands I work on.
I mean, running tights are the definition of comfort, strength, adaptability and coolness. And think about it for a second - that’s exactly what we need from strategy.
Comfort for a brand means the right image - values, personality & tone of voice - all that can feel right for the product or service and can be upheld by the company. If the split is your thing, you must feel comfortable doing it and everyone should see that.
Strength in communication translates to great and ballsy campaigns, holding your ground and those values, not trying to please everyone, fighting for some change in your industry. Wash after wash, you still need to keep up.
Adaptability. Oh, well, you know how much we need it these days. Respond to change in your own way, but search try to always create value. Listen to your peeps, leak humanity. Different types of runs or other occasions, bring your tights, don’t stop running. Being well equipped feels like half of the motivation to go on.
And yeah, coolness. That’s why others want to start running too. And yeah, comfort counts but there’s nothing like comfortable and beauty, together. That’s what makes you distinctive: great materials and awesome pattern - clearly defined brand image and impressive ways of putting your message out there. That’s coolness in a brand - same message beautifully displayed with some great insights behind and awesome executions.
So if you woke up this morning and haven’t thought about strategy like some cool leggings, you’re welcome. This is how some of my brain failures look like. And they happen a lot while running.
🤯 “HOW DID THEY THINK ABOUT THAT?!” SECTION
This is my true failure this week: shitty time management resulting in no time to read or listen to anything. I could find some interesting things for you right now, but I choose to play the honesty card.
And after that, the curiosity one:
Do you have a nice link to share with me this week?
Maybe you’ve read something interesting, maybe you’ve heard some smart stuff on a podcast, maybe you’ve found a really nice song - I would love to read and listen.
Thank you in advance. You are the best!
🍴INTERESTING TOOLS TO GET WRONG
Doing a lot of brand strategy lately, I’ve been opening this website a lot.
This is not all there is about brand strategy, but the 12 archetypes help me a lot in picturing a different positioning for a brand, or a ballsy-er tone of voice. These are always a great way to fuel some ideas, start the brain and an easier way to explain your ideas to a client.
I usually use them in pairs.
The main archetype is defined by the nature of the product or service offered. Let’s say “Caregiver” for a food supplement or an optics clinic. These kind of products are meeting a need of care.
The secondary archetype brings the distinctiveness, the unusual view over the category, a different way of approaching the target. For the same examples - a food supplement can also have a piece of “Outlaw” if the core-target seem to rebel against the status quo in some ways, or an optics clinic can have a piece of “Hero” if there can be a new way to empower the people that get to see better after a visit.
Use them, but don’t abuse them.
As I’ve found, these 12 archetypes can’t always define a brand personality. Sometimes, a brand can get more than one secondary archetype depending on audience segments or moment in consumer journey. Or it can be anchored in a group of people and a personality trait that’s not mentioned among these. That rarely happened to brands I’ve worked on.
Have you used them? What’s a limit you’ve found to these 12?
📚 THE STRATEGY BOOK CLUB
(How not to Plan: 66 ways to screw it up, Les Binet and Sarah Carter -
COMPLETED: Y/N, page 140)
I’m more than happy I got to start a new chapter in this book & read almost 15 pages.
The Talking and Thinking about Strategy chapter is all about strategic thinking mindset and, well, words. Mostly because:
“Great strategies are useless if we can’t express and sell them to creatives and clients with pithy, evocative words that crackle with energy.”
I love the part (it’s because I hear it too much) about the “mine’s different” syndrome. My market is different, my country is different, my users’ generation is different, my culture is different, my brand is different - all and other an image of a human truth: none of us want to be bound by rules. Especially in a creative field. We want to feel special and individual.
And the solution?
Never assume your problem is unique. Learn from others that have dealt with this before. Learn from other categories. Learn from other countries. Don’t assume you are different because it’s hard to break category rules. And don’t assume your buyers are that different.
That’s a wrap. Hope you are well and adapt better to so many changes.
It’s ok to fail at this too, because here we try to become better,