Why Strategy Execution Unravels—and What to Do About It

75% of organizations struggle to implement strategy.


Improve your odds of success with this HBR 7-minute video slide deck based on an article by Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, and Charles Sull. Watch this: Five Myths of Strategy Execution.

Here’s a sobering statistic: Just half of C-suite executives say they have a good sense of how their company’s strategic priorities fit together. And matters are even worse further down the chain.




The end of marketing as we know it officially comes today at Procter & Gamble Co. This year P&G made these changes.


I’m happy to have been able to explore a Strategic Brand Vision with you for the past fifteen years — and happy to (hopefully going forward) begin the conversation with less ambiguity. Bravo P&G.



David Aaker (Prophet) writes for HBR The Real Reason Chinese Firms Have Weak Branding:

In a recent column for the New York Times, David Brooks posited that the U.S. has one clear advantage over Chinese competition: branding. He notes that U.S. firms are powered by “eccentric failed novelists” (presumably from agencies and consulting firms that are gifted at brand positioning and execution) and “visionary founders” (think Steve Jobs) who have created exceptional brands. This talent is lacking in the Chinese market where “executives tend to see business deals in transactional, not in relationship terms,” as Brooks says. This observation is important because there are Chinese firms that seem to have everything to win globally except for branding and marketing.

Speaking as a long-time observer of brands and brand strategy, I believe that Brooks is correct but his analysis is incomplete. China’s lack of people with brand instincts is not the only or even the main brand challenge of Chinese firms. Further, he does not address the big questions: How, and when, will they overcome this deficiency?

How Hubris Killed Nokia by Colvin Shaw (Beyond Philosophy.)

So what happened to the mobile phone giant [Nokia]? They had great phones. They had market share. They were perched atop the mobile phone world for nearly 10 years. How did it unravel so quickly, in just six short years?

A large part of the answer is they did not build any emotional loyalty to their product.

Emotional loyalty is key to branding. It helps you weather competition and hang on to your market share. It is the reason that when faced with a decision, consumers will choose your product without even fully understanding why they did it. Emotional loyalty is the difference between being a mobile phone juggernaut and being the featured brand on a segment of a TV show called ‘Where are they now?’


When purpose is clear.

When focus is understood.

When brand strategy is created.

When it’s finally time to communicate, a good logo (graphic mark) is one of the tools used to exemplify the brand message.

Here are six nicely done logos that you may not have seen before (collected on linkes.com.) All of these tastefully employ the use of negative space.


WINEFOREST wine bottles stand with trees in the forest.


Catch Me! features a falling person, and a helping hand ready to catch — both in the same graphic.


Airtime pictures a clock with an airplane formed by clock hands.


A big block of cool pink backgrounds Web Girls cursor and dot stick figure in a dress.


Night Golf cleverly incorporates a golfball for its moon design.


And finally, as you look at the Black Cat logo, it looks back with feline eyes.

Negative space can also be used for congruency – see how negative space formed by the words in nav bar mimic bridge shapes in the background. As well as to indicate – notice how it points to about? Something to be aware of and to think about.

The now famous story of the FedEx logo.