“Strategy 101 is about choices: You can’t be all things to all people.”

Michael Porter

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there. With these immortal (and paraphrased) words did the Cheshire Cat send Alice on her way.

The same goes for building your brand. If you don’t know what you are going to promise to who, it doesn’t matter how it’s presented.

Think about your project and your market before you start building.

You can’t just dabble away and expect to come up with a great result that will inspire customer loyalty, blow the competition out of the water and crown you the king of commerce.

To the contrary.

Without a strategy, you will tell the wrong story to the wrong people.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

Our new recycling shower was a miracle. We sold it from every angle:

Exhausted yet? You are not alone. People politely listened to our drivel, then turned away to indefinitely “think about it”. And I don’t blame them.

Our brand was mosaic. It juggled multiple messages. It felt inconsistent. Besides, those who we spoke to weren’t into buying them. Needless to say, we didn’t sell many showers.

Sadly, this problem is very common. Luckily, the solution is simple:

Strategize. Then decide what to promise to whom.

Don’t roll your eyes at me just yet. I’m not talking about high-brow PowerPoints delivered by well-groomed frats from elite universities. That kind of strategy is useless. (Unless you’re force-feeding change to minions.)

And apart from the well-groomed frat thing, that’s not me. So relax. I won’t use stuffy words or complex graphs.

I’ll keep it extremely practical and extremely simple.