Success is not about having the right people, the right tools, the right attitude, the right role models, or the right organization, although all these things help. Having the right strategy is what puts an organization over the top. Strategy sets the competitive direction, dictates product planning, tells you how to communicate internally and externally, and tells you on what to focus.
A great business strategy without proper marketing will often fail in a highly competitive world.
Strategy is what makes you unique and it is the best way to put that difference into the minds of your customers and prospects. In a world of ‘killer competition’, using good strategy is the best way to survive what I call the ‘tyranny of choice’. Whether the consumer is choosing between 260 choices of car models, 38 choices of tire makers, or even 50 brands of bottled water, there are so many good alternatives for customers that companies pay dearly for their mistakes. Competitors get your business and you don’t get it back very easily. Companies that do not understand this will not survive.
Strategy, as defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary, is all about “maneuvering into the most advantageous position prior to actual engagement with the enemy.” To do this, an organization must first study, understand and maneuver around the battleground – a battleground that is in the minds of consumers and prospects.
The Positioning Process
A business strategy’s success or failure depends on how well a company understands these five elements of the positioning process:
1. Minds Are Limited. The mind rejects new information that does not compute. It accepts only new information that matches its current state of mind. The mind has no room for what is new and different unless it is related to the old. One way to overcome the mind’s limitations is to present a message as important news.
2. Minds Hate Confusion. People resist that which is confusing, and cherish that which is simple. They want to push a button and watch it work.
3. Minds Are Insecure. Minds tend to be emotional, not rational. When people are uncertain, they often look to others to help them make a decision about how to act. Testimonials and the “bandwagon effect” show that others obviously think a product is good.
4. Minds Don’t Change. We are more impressed by what we already know (or buy) than by what’s “new.” And, according to The Handbook of Social Psychology, “procedures that are effective in changing some attitudes have little effect on others.”
5. Minds Can Lose Focus. The more variations you attach to a brand, the more the mind loses focus. The more you lose focus, the more vulnerable you become. In toilet tissue, corn oil, or shortening, the specialist or the well-focused competitor is the winner.
A successful strategist understands it’s better to be exceptional at one thing than good at many things.
The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Positioning Workshop
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education