Strong convictions lead to robust strategies

The widely held view is that the response by Boris Johnson’s government to the Covid-19 pandemic is decidedly underwhelming. Ineffective, chaotic, constantly changing, confusing, illogical are just some of the descriptions from commentators. But why is this?

I’m no political journalist or epidemiologist - just a humble marketer - but I have the answer…a complete lack of conviction.

Boris Johnson was incapable of deciding on one an approach and sticking to it. Throughout the crisis it’s been a bit of ‘we’ll do this’ and bit of ‘we’ll do that’. This indecision, born out of a complete lack of conviction, has resulted in a series of tactical decisions that have no strategic direction.

By contrast, New Zealand and Sweden adopted an approach very early and have carried it through to this day. They have both faced criticism, internally and externally, but they have had the strength of their conviction to pursue the original approach.

The way governments have responded to the Covid crisis offers a perfect analogy for companies and brands seeking success. Without strong conviction companies and brands are unable to develop a robust long-term strategy that leads to purposeful short-term tactics.

Take Nike. Throughout the life of the company, senior management have held a strong conviction that people should get out and exercise and their products reflect this. Triodos Bank is strongly committed to sustainable business, taking this conviction through to vetting all businesses that want to join, rejecting those that don’t live up to their values. Volvo has worked hard to project a perception of safety, building cars that consistently perform well in crash tests and using safety as the platform for all its brand building communication. All three companies have achieved amazing success by implementing activities based around a positioning that they have stuck to for a very long time.

So, if you want to build a strong brand, spend time developing a positioning that has been very well researched and thought through, is right for your product, the market and target audience and have the conviction to stick to it.

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