At Catapult we run industry Strategic Narrative workshops that help organizations dig deep into mega trends, category dynamics, transformational shifts and future possibilities – focused primarily on leading industry success and maturity. Our intent is to create a higher-level messaging framework that defines and leads categories, and goes beyond storytelling to guide all forms of marketing. However, the process also serves as a forcing function to address key issues that ultimately guide the strategic direction of an organization.
Here are some organizational benefits of creating an industry-facing strategic narrative:
- Complacency Safeguard: business as usual today is a killer. The examples of companies that held tight to success models of yesterday and subsequently became irrelevant are numerous. This typically happens when industry and customer behavior mega-trends are ignored or not taken seriously. Continuously looking at and striving to define the future of your industry helps ensure that complacency never sets in.
- Opportunity Creation: purposely exploring industry disruption factors and transformational shifts can uncover new opportunities for growth and competitive advantage. Staying on the leading edge, or even ahead of the industry pack, comes when you commit to taking an active role in leading the advancement of the industry at large. This may result in improvements to core offerings, or entirely new opportunities that are developed side-by-side with existing products or services.
- Competitive Identification: many organizations are fixated on their long-time competitors and fail to recognize emerging ones. Both of these factors can impact all facets of an organization’s success. By identifying emerging mega trends and the companies that are driving them, you may find new competitors, and fresh innovative approaches, that are worthy of your attention.
- Understanding Customer Behavior: customer behavior and brand loyalty are shifting quickly and catching many organizations off-guard. These shifts in customer dynamics range from a new generation of employees replacing an aging workforce, and changes in purchasing patterns, to low-cost and mobile app-oriented offerings that potential buyers may find attractive.
- Executive Alignment: conducting an industry-focused strategy session often feels like a family holiday dinner when the issues of politics arise – everyone has strongly held and passionately divergent opinions. Most dedicated positioning and messaging sessions focus on what a company does, its value proposition and company differentiation. These are worthy issues to discuss and articulate for sure. However, elevating the discussion to paint a vision for the industry, and the role the organization will play to advance its progress brings company strategy, or lack thereof, to the forefront. Strategic narratives help align both executive teams and the entire organization.
Defining brand essence, competitive differentiation and customer value will always be vital elements of company messaging. Aspiring to lead your company and industry through a strategic narrative will not only strengthen your story, but make sure it is not caught off guard with potential blind spots.