Who Is Responsible For Managing The Brand?

Dan WhiteMarch 26, 20244 min

When companies are formed, the founders often have a clear reason for starting the business. This often defines what the brand stands for and shapes all the decision-making.

Accomplished rock climber Yvon Chouinard founded Chouinard Equipment (later Patagonia) in 1957. He had the ambition to produce sports equipment that would allow people to enjoy the great outdoors but have a minimal impact on the environment. How consumers saw the brand and what made it appealing stemmed from Yvon’s vision and how he and his like-minded colleagues ran the business.

Patagonia Business Brand Journey

Company founders often provide this clarity on branding. They may also inspire the whole company to operate in a way that projects the brand to the wider world. Companies with a leader who is passionate about the business are more likely to thrive. Apple lost its way in 1985 when its inspirational leader, Steve Jobs, left the business. It only found its mojo again when he returned in 1997. Many of today’s biggest companies, including Amazon and Facebook, are still led by their founding entrepreneur.

How can organizations whose founders have departed maintain the same branding clarity of the early days? In these situations, marketers need to take the lead. Jim Stengel was Global Marketing Officer for Procter & Gamble between 2001 and 2008. He was the driving force behind the company’s success over this period, during which its sales revenue doubled. Great marketers are futurists. They can imagine how the company could address people’s frustrations, needs and desires – and use this understanding to build the business. It’s the Chief Marketing Officer, rather than other board members, who can say, “This is what the world needs, and here’s how we will deliver it.”

One of the world’s most successful companies over the past 50 years has been Nintendo. Having made playing cards and toys since 1889, the company expanded into video games in 1972. Since then, it has had four competent presidents, but they have all given the limelight to the company’s talisman, Shigeru Miyamoto. ‘Miyamoto-san’ announces the company’s most exciting new products with infectious, child-like enthusiasm. He is the company’s Chief Marketing Officer in all but name – his recent job titles include Head of Studio, Representative Director and Creative Fellow. His vision for new types of games and consoles has enabled Nintendo to broaden its user base.

Other organizations should follow Nintendo’s example. People who understand consumer priorities should control innovation strategy, corporate direction, and marketing.

Of course, even the most gifted marketer cannot influence a company’s fortunes unless they have the backing of the whole organization. For a marketing strategy to work, employees need to be aware of it, understand it, believe it, and act upon it. One way of achieving this is to think like a boxer. Boxers need to understand their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, decide whom to challenge and in what order, make sure all parts of their body work together, build the necessary muscles and skills, and know how to always stay grounded. Marketers can use a similar checklist.

Brand Business Strategy


  • What trends will affect our category and brand?
  • How are consumer priorities changing?
  • How is the competitive landscape evolving?
  • What are our opportunities and barriers to growth?




  • Are all corporate functions equipped to fulfill their role?
  • What resources and skills do we need to develop?


  • Do we have the systems and processes to ground the strategy in day-to-day business operations?
  • Will we be able to track our progress? And provide early warnings so the business can course-correct?

Once your organization is fully prepared and match fit, your brand should be ready to take on all comers. Even then, you’ll need the flexibility to think on your feet and adjust the strategy if circumstances change.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Dan White, author of The Soft Skills Book, The Smart Marketing Book and The Smart Branding Book

The Blake Project helps organizations and brands create marketplace advantages. Please email us to learn how we can help you compete differently.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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