How often have you heard people say, “Our strategy is to become the biggest and the best?” This is not strategy. Strategy is not the what. Strategy is the how – how will you become the biggest and the best? Of course, within the realm of the definition, there are good strategies and bad ones. Good strategies help to define a company or a brand’s point of difference. But that seldom happens without sacrifice, without giving up something to strengthen the chosen niche.
You Can’t Be All Things to All People. Or Can You?
Today, shareholder and customer demands have never been greater. Leaders and managers are expected to do more, to do it better, faster, and at lower costs. Strategic focus is taking a backseat because people find strategy constraining. They won’t admit it, but they secretly want to be all things to all people. Hence, their quest to seek every opportunity to boost sales and profit.
Most of these opportunities fall outside of the core competency of the company and/or the positioning of the brand. The fallout? An organization taken in several non-strategic directions.
Business Models Change and So do Core Competencies
By its very nature, strategy is constraining. That said, business models need not be static. At one time every brick and mortar merchant keen to enter e-retailing had to figure out digital commerce. Many, like Wal-Mart and Target, sourced the competency from 3rd parties. Although late to the dance, Walmart and Target are now making huge strides as their own know-how develops.
Social media is a new model in which brand positioning is not only misunderstood, it is ignored. When social media types talk strategy, they talk media strategy – who to target, how to reach the target, and how to maximize engagement. Engagement is critical, but not at the expense of sticking to brand/company’s character and core positioning. This is what guides content. Inherent in that is content constraint – for good reason. Those who thrive on creativity need not be deterred. These constraints better define the brand’s relationship with customers.
Today’s business world is a complex place. Strategy cuts through the clutter. Here are 5 reasons why great strategies withstand the test of time:
Of course this is all for not without disciplined leaders with the passion to guide their team in the direction indicated by the strategic compass.