‘Do more with less’. It’s the daily mantra of the modern marketer. Oftentimes, strategy can be the first thing on the chopping block—but we know killer strategy drives incredible work. So what’s a brand builder to do?

At Spicefire we drive brands from idea to launch, sometimes only in a matter of months. And whether a BigCo or a scrappy startup, you’re launching into a world that is quick to judge and difficult to impress. A sound strategy for your brand is more critical than ever.

Today’s reality often means leaning in to your gut and letting go of the comfort that comes from a thoroughly vetted and validated strategy. The good news? With the right partners and the right approach, disrupting the traditional strategy model can actually lead to better, more usable ideas faster.

Becoming an agile strategist means adapting not just how you work but how you think. Paired with an open mind and a little creativity, these tips can help break down some of the barriers to actionable strategy, delivered faster.

  • Draw from what you know. Don’t be afraid to borrow from yourself and others. Use what’s around you and available as a starting point to create a few early hypotheses. While you certainly don’t want to narrow too quickly, it’s possible to have a point of view and an open mind at the same time.
  • Share early and often. Allow others to hear your half-baked ideas and see what gets them excited. Bonus(!): getting your creative partners engaged right out of the gate means a higher likelihood you’re creating something they’ll actually want to work with.
  • Deliver simple, bite-size ideas that teams can actually use. Keep your end user in mind—whether they’re a client or a creative, they probably don’t have the time or patience to wade through lengthy strategic soliloquies (no matter how beautifully they may be written)!
  • Do what you have to do to learn what you need to learn. Grassroots conversations, social media listening and informal intercepts are all quick and efficient ways to tap into how people think and behave. Get creative with how and when you engage with consumers, learning and building as you go.
  • Keep your human radar tuned in. Don’t wait until you have a project to start sensing what’s happening around you. You should never feel like you’re starting from scratch. At Spicefire we create Social Streetscapes on an ongoing basis to stay fresh and keep tabs on shifting behaviors and attitudes. (Check back in a few weeks to find out what’s been catching our eye lately!)
  • Create side by side with your teams. Collaborative teams are more comfortable with fragmented ideas. Build them out together—it’s more fun!
  • Let it get messy. Then find the patterns and themes, connect the dots and build the narrative that pulls it all together. Put trust in the non-linear and often vexing creative process, allowing space for creative genius to show up where you might least expect it.
  • Clean up and polish only at the end. Kinks have a tendency to work themselves out. Letting ideas naturally work through the system strengthens the good ones, while preventing wasted time on ideas that might not go anywhere.

At the end of the day, it’s the job of a strategic brand builder to ensure the ideas we create are insightful, compelling and sustainable. By ditching some of the old rules, and trusting our guts and our teams more than ever, we can hold true to that while also meeting the new expectations that we do more, faster.