Brand strategy: Strategic simplicity

Jonathan Cahill

There is no need to make business strategy a complex minefield understood only by experts; curiosity, context and common sense are what's needed for simpler and more successful strategy.

Theodore Levitt summed up the role of strategy when he stated that: "To be successful a strategy must also be simple, clear and expressible in only a few written lines. If it is elaborate and complex and takes a lot of space or time to communicate, few people will understand it or march to its tune."

This simple truth was echoed recently by Bain & Co, who reiterated the essentials of strategy in the customary authoritative and revelatory tone, pronouncing that 'brand owners must pursue strategies which are simple, differentiated and easily repeatable to continually out-perform their competitors'. "The results of your campaign depend less on how we write your advertising than on how your product is positioned," is how David Ogilvy put it.