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What Kind of Strategist Are You?

March 31, 2021


What Kind of Strategist Are You?

This is a question that comes up every now and then. Sometimes, it comes from a client. Sometimes, it comes from a colleague. And sometimes, it’s me asking myself: what kind of strategist are you?

It’s often hard for Marketers to identify themselves. Even if we think we know, we might be using a bunch of different strategies. But we often have one approach that feels more natural for us. We prefer it over the others, even if we can use almost any strategy.

This kind of thing speaks to those of us looking at individual campaigns or working within an agency. Like I said, we might be most comfortable or most attracted to one kind of strategy, but we can usually use more than one. But figuring out where our strengths lie can help us find the right job or collaborate with the right clients.

Recognizing Yourself in Strategy Descriptions

The question came up again for me recently. I was googling around and was shocked at the long, long list of strategists. Here is a few…

·      Experience strategist

·      Visionary strategist

·      Political strategist

·      Tactical strategist

·      Cross channel strategist

·      Cross channel adept to all touch points

·      Culture x commerce?

·      Barroom brawler (checking if you are reading this 😊)

·      Futurist – wordplay strategy

·      Real customer strategist……

·      Brand strategist 

·      Content Strategist

·      And the list could go on and on….

And I was trying to figure out where I fit on it. Am I a brand strategist? An experience strategist? Maybe a Visionary Strategist. I talk a lot about futurespective of a brand, so maybe

But I also looked at “real customer strategist.” I am very much about talking to loyal vested customers and understanding the why that they are loyal to. So, when I develop a strategy, it is always rooted in the unique “why” consumers buy at the subconscious level, where competitive differences are crystal clear.

I felt less connection with some of the other descriptions. I don’t think I’m a “barroom brawler,” at least not since University and a few long island ice teas at “Taps”. “Wordplay strategy” didn’t speak to me either. 

Cross channel strategy and being adept to all touch points – I feel like that comes out in the work we do. Cross-channel means you’re creating campaigns across channels. That means you must understand the channel and how people interact with your brand across different ones. That can play back into the experience, for sure. Or you might be a cross-channel strategist that uses wordplay. But you know you must “translate” the campaign across channels and audiences.

Seems like a lot of us would be wearing a lot of those hats depending on the ask. Or perhaps there is one that lends itself to our operating style…“our” thing or our strength.

What kind of strategist are you?

I think this is a great question for every Marketer to ask. What do you do? Where do you feel like you’re connecting with the brand the most? Is it envisioning the customer experience? Is it crafting clever wordplay? Or is it connecting with real customers and turning their insights into the basis of your strategy?

Marketing is a sprawling field, and there are a ton of different approaches to it. So, asking ourselves what our specialties, our talents are, is key. That lets us team up with brand cultures that are open to our style, the way we want to approach a strategy or campaign. 

Brand culture is an interesting term. There are corporate cultures but within that there is definitely sub-cultures within brands or brand cultures that can take on the character of the brand they work on. Depending on the culture can be a thrill for a strategist to bring new ideas and ripple it through the brand out to the consumer or can be roadblocked when what is needed is more of a block and tackle kind of strategist. The kind that can develop and execute a strategy that works within the lines. And for a Marketer, it is important to know your style to know if the value you provide from your soul will build you up or tear you down! Right?

Thinking Holistically about Brands

For me, I can be a lot of the types of strategists above, depending on the needs of the brand or business. As I synthesize definitions and think of examples I am wondering if my operating style is an Impact Strategist. My operating style is to focus always on the end game, can we put more product in people’s hands so they feel the benefit or higher purpose of what this company or brand does? It also works as part of the strategy and must include  company culture and your team members. Specifically, how those team members embody the brand, how they deliver it to customers. It starts with the why!

I think, at the core of it, what I do is think about brands in a more holistic way. In sales, we’re always asking, “How do we create the impact with the retailers to get product on the shelf for our consumers?” and in marketing, we’re thinking about making impact, getting consumers to engage, consider and purchase the brand experience. 

An impact strategist (I am writing a definition now) develops a strategy that ensures that the higher purpose of a brand is understood and felt by the end consumer and together (employees and consumers) work to share that benefit with more and more people. That is impact! When you can develop product/package it/communicate it/shelve it/promote the message real time…so consumers feel that your brand has them at the center of everything they do and when you buy and try, it will change your world even just for a moment. You have achieved impact!

An impact strategist aligns the entire organization and chain to one outcome….changing a consumer’s world in some way!

How do you do that? It is a holistic approach with a razor sharp lens on your best customers and then understanding that your brand is the living vehicle to deliver that benefit. It is powerful, unique and feels so damn good when you get it right!! 

Look at the iconic and sustainable brands! Every single touchpoint vibrates that an impact strategist worked hard to deliver the right strategy.

So start with the why!


Here to inspire and create conversation!

I am a business person who has excelled in driving a competitive edge through marketing, strategy, innovation, building irresistible brands and unlocking the genius that exists. I am writing to inspire or create new consideration. If you have ideas or questions that you would like me to put a pen too, I would be delighted.

I would also be grateful if you shared this or any of the articles I have written to inspire others

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