What comes first Brand or Strategy?

I often get asked this question;  "Does an organisation work out it's Strategy and then go about building it's Brand or does it occur vice versa - and does it even matter?"

Well, yes it matters if one comes before the other.  Alignment in organisation thinking is critical to ensuring you are asking and answering the right questions in the right order.  

So, what comes first an organisation's Brand or it's Strategy. 

At Blirt, we help organisation's think through their Brand before they go about setting strategy.

Why? 

"Strategy defines a company's distinctive approach to competing and the competitive advantages on which it will be based."  (Michael Porter, Harvard)

Our view (Blirt) is that a brand is best defined as, "... a set of thoughts and ideas held or being built within the mind of the customer which express the organisation's competitive advantage driven from clear purpose and wrapped in personality."

A brand is that which brings to life competitive advantage and communicates it either directly or indirectly to a customer.  It is through the process of branding organisation's uncover market opportunity, strategic positioning and competitive advantage.

So, it is a clear process of logic.  If a manager or leader wish to define strategy for an organisation then they must have done the brand thinking on positioning, competitive advantage and customer.

Brand always comes before Strategy when understanding organisation alignment and growth.