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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 examines how the marketing industry has been affected by digital technologies, and particularly how social has been employed.

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

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

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 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 addresses how Diageo, the alcoholic drinks group, has learned from failure in building brand strategies that truly connect with consumers.


This article outlines the principles behind innovation at Goodman Fielder, which owns 33 well-known brands in the bread, dairy, poultry and grocery categories across Australia and New Zealand.


This article looks at how global brands should be appealing to wealthy consumers who continually migrate around the globe.


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.
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  1. Article

    This article explores how brand strategy should be retooled for the digital age, without devolving into a purely tactical dispute.

  2. Article

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

  3. Article

    This article covers how Lush Cosmetics uses its strong brand purpose to create relevant and engaging social media content – all while spending zero dollars on advertising.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Article

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

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