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9 August

Thinking about ... Well deserved victories

Arsenal’s win against Manchester City in the Community Shield on Saturday afternoon (5 August 2023) reminded me how solid foundations and taking your time can be the key to winning against even the strongest opponents.

Thinking about… the times I’ve explained to clients why we must consolidate brand foundations before investing in marketing materials or campaigns; it was rarely an easy conversation. It can take a while to convince busy decision-makers to take a step back before accelerating their marketing.

Why do we do it? Because going back to marketing basics with vision, values, mission statements, and key messages helps us define the brand and guides our marketing efforts. We must take the time to clarify what the brand stands for and how we can best communicate its message before we start mapping intricate marketing strategies. Without this step, marketing begins from chaos and leads nowhere.

A solid foundation in marketing is like a great defence in football. It provides that stable base that the team needs to withstand pressure from the opposition, leaving it with few opportunities to score.

“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” — Sir Alex Ferguson

Several crucial things happen when you know what you stand for and why you exist as a brand.

  • You create a strong brand message that resonates with your target audience.
  • You find what differentiates you from competitors to stand out in a crowded market.
  • You develop a consistent brand identity and build recognition and loyalty.
  • You gain your customer’s trust with transparency and purpose.
  • You create compelling marketing campaigns to stand out and generate demand for your products.

Thinking about…
simplicity and clarity. In football and in marketing, you need to be clinical. Instead of chasing shiny objects or leaving things to chance, you must declutter and focus on what truly matters.

Define your company’s mission and vision as the foundation of its identity. This way, all your marketing efforts are aligned and create a consistent message that customers will appreciate. Write down a brand purpose statement to define the reason for your company’s existence beyond making a profit. It should be a clear, memorable, short message.

You also want to clarify your values and share them at every opportunity. This way, you ensure that your brand values are correctly and consistently represented to customers whenever they interact with your company.

Finally, list your brand’s key messages — what potential and current customers should understand whenever they come across your collateral. Keep these messages clear and concise and make it easy for customers to understand what your company is all about.

Thinking about… differentiators and knowing who you compete against is essential to long-term success. I keep returning to football because marketing and football have many similarities.

In football, winning the game requires understanding competitors and analysing their tactics. And all teams follow this practice. Back to Saturday’s game - Arsenal took a l-o-n-g time with their penalty kicks; averaging 7.05 seconds waited per penalty compared to City’s 1.19. Patience and composure. Arteta and his backroom staff conduct match and team analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses and learn about an opponent team’s habits and execution patterns. In marketing, this is equivalent to conducting competitor research and creating a unique value proposition to stay ahead.

Bringing together your vision, values, and differentiators in one message ultimately creates a solid foundation for your marketing efforts. And it’s the right way to build trust and brand loyalty.

Thinking about… the Arsenal fans at Wembley, especially those who thought the game was over at 90mins and were convinced to head for the exit! Marketing only works when you listen and talk to the right people. Too often, business owners say, “We sell to everyone.” I wish it worked that way, but the truth is that every company has its audience. The sooner you define yours, the easier it becomes to send the right message to the right people for more efficient use of resources and a higher return on your marketing efforts.

Knowing your target audience means you can tailor communications to foster trust, loyalty, and long-term engagement. It ensures a consistent brand identity, making it easier for customers to understand how your products and services can benefit them.

Plus, directing your marketing budget at the right audience prevents you from wasting resources on those not interested in your offer.

Thinking about… the marketing mix and how details matter when putting together a strategy — we can’t talk about going back to marketing basics without mentioning the 4Ps.

Product. No marketer can deliver results if they don’t understand the product. It’s not just what you sell but also making sure your marketing team understands:

  • Product life cycle stages for each item you sell
  • Product variations and the design and features that make each product or service unique
  • How you package and deliver products and service
  • Whether you provide post-sale services and how you do it

Price. In marketing, price is not just a number but a whole story of your product’s value for a customer. Guide your marketing team on details like production costs, possible discounts, and payment options so they can align marketing messages accordingly.

Promotion. Your values, visions, missions, and key messages will dictate the correct channels for every campaign and target audience. Sometimes, the right channel might be your website, a solid social media presence, or a targeted email marketing campaign. For some clients, it’s going to local industry events and connecting with the right people with direct mail.

Place. The concept of selling your product in the right place for people to find it and purchase it is crucial to success. You want to make your products and services accessible and easily discoverable for potential customers. The easier it is for them to buy, the higher your chances of driving sales and growing revenue.

HAVE I GOT YOU THINKING ABOUT what makes your brand unique and how these details can help you win the marketing game?

I realise I’ve covered a lot, and defining the marketing basics can be overwhelming. It’s not something we can achieve in a 30-minute session - nothing valuable is. Well-deserved victories belong to those who build a solid framework for their efforts and don’t take shortcuts.

Message me: at when you’re ready to go back to marketing basics for a chance to win against your competitors - or Man City!

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