It’s hard to ‘see’ strategy in action, as it’s usually expressed across many different bits of creative communication, and often spanning multiple campaigns over many years. So, the best way to consider strategy is to look at a brand’s output over the long-term.
One of the most important elements of brand’s strategy is its ‘positioning’, which is a statement describing what the brand stands for. Consumers don’t see this statement – what they might see is the brand’s creative platform, which is the articulation of that positioning to the outside world.
So, for example, Nike’s positioning is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’ and Nike’s creative platform is ‘Just do it’. You might then see a series of creative tactics from Nike – TV ads, PR, social – all of which land that positioning, all under the banner of ‘Just do it’.
Technical definitions aside, perhaps this quote sums it up best is from writer Jef I. Richards, who said, “creativity without strategy is called art, creativity with strategy is called advertising.”