What We Mean When We Talk About Strategy



Everything begins with strategy* — but everyone talks about it differently.

Sometimes it’s nebulous. A word that gets thrown around, because it’s expected. But the idea isn’t concrete.

Other times it’s more well-defined. There’s a clear process. Firms might even trademark a system to make this point. (Even if they’e doing essentially the same things as everyone else — this is marketing, after all.)

At worst, it’s used as shorthand for ideas that don’t seem to fit. Or have no obvious justification. So it’s called ‘strategy,’ because who would argue with that? This is strategy as misdirection.

So what do we mean when we say strategy? I’m glad you asked.

Strategy is having a clear understanding of where you want to go and why. And what you’re doing now to get there.

We learn about your vision, how that translates to your mission, and how your goals support that mission in the near-term. Then we’ll figure out which steps are most likely to achieve this, in the most direct way.
We endeavor to learn about your business model, operations, sales process, marketing and obstacles -- and understand how the pieces impact the whole. That’s where you find useful connections and insights.

Strategy is finding interesting insights and opportunities, then using them to your advantage.

We look past the obvious, and the low-hanging fruit. The first idea is rarely the best idea.
We question assumptions, biases and received wisdom -- yours and ours.
We assess your competition, but not obsess about them. The client should lead with its own merits, not follow.

Strategy is creative. Strategy is curious. Strategy is adaptable.

We employ careful processes, but think creatively and organically. Strategy is not a spreadsheet.

We think short-term and long-term, and course-correct as we learn from reality.
We have a regular dialogue with our clients, and answer questions or concerns honestly and transparently.

We look at it this way: Strategy isn't an immutable thing. It's shaped by your approach, how you think about it and adapt it, project to project.

This is how we think about it.

*For a taste of what we do, check out a short case study here