Keep ‘Em Separated: Strategy and Execution in Food & Beverage

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Emily Brontë “is primarily the recorder of feelings and not of thoughts.” — Virginia Woolf

Brontë and advertising are not easily confused, but the distinction between feelings and thoughts is equally applicable. In marketing the “thoughts” of strategy are transposed into “feelings.” Otherwise relevancy and appeal are risked. Despite this being two different exercises we often talk about them as one.

For the Love of Taglines

Take taglines. It is fairly common to fall so much in love with a tagline that it becomes the handle for the strategy. The inverse is true too. Sometimes the strategy one-liner has the creativity of a tagline.

The blur between strategy and execution isn’t really a problem (until it is), but it is a false premise. The cognitive leaping back and forth skips over what’s more important: how the strategy establishes vision, products and experiences. These are the outputs that give taglines meaning.

For example, strategies and taglines in Food and Beverages:

  • Simply Orange strategy is about being close to the orchard. Tagline: “Say yes to simple.”
  • Oreo strategy is about connecting with others. Tagline: “Stay playful.”
  • Fatso will always have premium pricing

In the above examples, there’s strong synergy between the strategy and the tagline. They are almost interchangeable. But the story is far richer when we add a middle step between the two – how the strategy influences vision, product or experience:


It’s always a good idea to distinguish between strategy and execution. Strategies establish the vision, products, and experiences that taglines bring to life. By appreciating and leveraging this distinction, marketing strategies are more likely to be action-oriented and relevant.

There’s nothing wrong with blurring strategy and execution. So long as we remember they are doing different things.