As this difficult economic year winds to a close, many companies will tell you they are happy to have simply survived. But as CEO strategist Dr. Rick Johnson writes in a recent article, “…now is not the time to dig deeper into the bunker. Now is the time to start thinking about revisiting your vision.”
In, “It’s Time to Revisit Strategy,” Johnson talks about the critical need for strategic planning: “A strategic plan is not a business plan and it is not the same as your annual budget with departmental objectives. However, these vehicles become a part of the tactical support for meeting strategic objectives once the strategic plan has been approved and implemented. To be successful in this century requires a heightened sense of awareness about what is going on both inside and outside of the business.”
But many organizations don’t readily see the value of strategic planning when change is rapid and profits are lean. Says Johnson, “Executive teams become so immersed in the day-to-day activities of running the business during a recession that strategic thinking with respect to long term planning is often not a priority. However, effective leaders recognize the value of strategic thinking backed up by a strategic plan.”
At Cohesion, we’ve watched as companies have come to view strategic planning as either “outdated” or something they will “get around to later.” But as Johnson points out, the need is more urgent — and more organic: “Strategic planning is a disciplined effort to support fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does and why it does it, with a focus on where it wants to go and how it is going to get there.”
As Cohesion shifts its model from ‘agency’ to ‘messaging company,’ more and more companies are seeking our strategic planning services. As part of an overall approach, Cohesion helps organizations develop insightful and practical strategic foundation in three phases:
- Strategic Direction: Refine current business, brand and marketing strategy (based on the timing of your fiscal year), and lay the groundwork for next year’s plan.
- Positioning/Messaging Direction: Refine the various brand, service and product positioning and messaging needs for your organization.
- Tactical Direction: Based on your organization’s needs, develop specific messaging and tactical templates for internal execution — or turnkey development for you.
Should your organization update its strategic plan? From a positioning and messaging standpoint, are you living and driving your core purpose? Are you working toward every business and brand goal you’ve planned? If not, perhaps you could use a little help getting there?
While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll browse the archives. I also hope you’ll visit Cohesion to find out how we help organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth.