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  • Writer's pictureJeenal Patel

Semiotics of a Strategist

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

After spending almost my entire career as a Strategist, I am still asked this quintessential question at most family gatherings – “What do you really do?” followed by a barrage of supplementary questions…

Did you design that Ad?

Did you write those lines?

Did you shoot that Ad?

Do you post on social media and reply to comments?

On receiving a constant “No” for these questions, relatives roll their eyes and subtly move on to the next topic of discussion.

I never explained my profession to them, but when my teenage niece finally showed some inclination to understand what I do for a living, I took solace in some symbols to explain the roles & responsibilities of a Strategist in managing a brand:

1) Sponge

It’s our inherent nature in the world. Constantly absorbing what is happening around us and knowing the cultural trends and shifts. The more you absorb, the more wealth of knowledge you have.

2) Microscope

Never stopping at what meets the eye but finding what lies beneath. Researching consumer behavior, competitor movements, digging through data and incessantly asking the ‘Why’s’ until you are satisfied that you stumbled on an insight.

3) Bulb

Innovative thinking is why clients hire agencies and a Strategist is the first one to deliver on this commitment. Ideating is not restricted to pithy taglines & mesmerizing images but also encompasses lateral, out-of-the-box thinking which a Strategist has to bring to the table in huge measure.

4) Scale

One of the toughest responsibilities is about maintaining the right balance between creativity and rationality. An idea may seem amazing but may not be right for the brand or may not be doable/affordable to execute. Taming creativity is tough but well, someone has to do it.

5) Canvas

Strategists lay the foundation on which the edifice of the creative campaign is built. The trick is to create the right canvas not just with specific form & structure but also to ensure it doesn’t restrict creativity in any way.

6) Lighthouse

Strategists hold the guard rails and are constantly helping the clients & creative teams to navigate. They also have to ring the warning bells if they go off shore.

7) Inch tape

A strategy’s effectiveness is proven when the campaign delivers on its set business objectives. The job of the Strategist is incomplete without measuring the impact of the campaign and suggesting a required course correction, sometimes even in real time.

8) Binoculars

We live in the present but have our eyes on the future. The work of a Strategist does not stop at the end of a successful campaign. We have the vision to pave out the roadmap for the brand for the forthcoming months/years.

Such is the life of a Strategist. We have multiple feathers in our caps or sometimes wear different caps all together. But at the core, our endeavor is to always help a brand to meaningfully connect with the consumers.

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