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Setting the strategy

Setting the strategy means making the longer-term choices by which, over time, a brand hopes to achieve its predefined, clearly stated business goals. It is a process that involves understanding the brand history and target consumer, analysing the competition and market, and using modelling and forecasting to evaluate the business impact of different choices. The strategy should ideally encompass the four Ps: product, price, place (or distribution) and promotion.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

Guidance on setting strategy maps, which provide a visual representation of a company's critical objectives and the crucial relationships among them that drive organisational performance. Strategy maps show how an organisation can convert its initiatives and resources, including intangible assets such as employee knowledge, into tangible outcomes.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter on why many marketing objectives fail to be specific, measurable and realistic.
Discussing the brand planning cycle, a rational analytic approach to the strategy development process.
Why getting a price premium is the best strategy for growth – and why reliance on promotions kills brands.
Best Practice paper on how to maintaining brand equity when markets become dependent on promotions.

Case Study

This article explains research by eBay, the online retailer, which sought to learn from a Christmas campaign and understand consumer needs at Christmas in the UK and Germany.

Case Study

Médiaunió is a Hungarian NGO that aims to influence public opinion on a variety of social matters. It wanted to launch a campaign focusing on the social integration of people living with disabilities aimed at Hungarians aged 15 and over.

Case Study

In a recession, diamonds are not forever. During the early 1990s, sales slumped and diamond sellers were increasingly competing against a range of alternative luxury expenditure.

Case Study

1987-95 brand-building TV campaign for Ribena, using the `Ribenaberries'. Results: short-term: decline in perceptions of core Ribena brand strengths arrested (Millward Brown tracking); build in volume and price premium (Nielsen); long-term: overall volume growth1987-91 sustained at higher level 1991-5 (Nielsen); higher share maintained, of blackcurrant health drinks, of the wider dilutables market (volume and value); price premium sustained.

Case Study

This paper details how a new advertising campaign (1987–95) reversed the fortunes of Gold Blend, a premium instant coffee.

Case Study

This case study looks at how British Airways tapped into business-related social media to attract its target audience with carefully selected content.
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This event report looks at the lessons learned in the course of developing the award-winning The Fixer campaign for Direct Line insurance.


This research explores the impact of price on consumer behaviours in India, including price elasticity and the price-value equation as perceived by shoppers on a category by category basis.


This event report looks at how drinks brand Guinness reacted to a changed marketing environment, developing its global brand purpose and successfully tweaking creative when necessary.

Research Paper

This paper reports the results of a systematic review of recent literature on the use of mathematical models in the marketing field to identify the main aims of model adoption in various functional areas of marketing.


This event report addresses how Nescafé, the coffee brand, has sought to enhance its digital presence.


This short article looks at Javier Sánchez Lamelas' 'MARTKeting', which explains why and how marketing works through a combination of research, theory and experience, and offers a framework for marketers to master their own strategy.


This article examines what has changed in the car industry as the advent of leasing and renting deals has made consumers less attached to their cars, and technology has shifted focus from mechanics to in-car experiences.
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  1. Article

    This article argues that planning, creating, distributing and optimising valuable content can drive brand awareness, spark lead generation and deliver business value.

  2. Article

    This article provides an overview of the longer term effects of marketing actions and argues that strategic marketing decision making needs to account for both the short-term and long-term effects of marketing.

  3. Article

    This article seeks to set a new way of thinking about marketing to women as old definitions and associations such as motherhood, achievement in work, and age have shifted to near irrelevance; women are individuals with new priorities and desires.

  4. Article

    This article summarises Warc's Toolkit 2016, a guide to six key challenges for brands in the coming year.

  5. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2016 report, looks at growing interest by marketers in identifying and targeting 'moments'.

  6. Article

    This important paper presents the case that marketing evolves through a number of stages, and that what may appear to be cultural differences between countries, hindering global marketing, may not be cultural at all but rather due to a country being at a different stage of marketing development.
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