8. August 2022 By Mike Deecke
Watching with a strategic eye
Noticing crucial changes in time
The drivers of fundamental change always come from outside the organisation itself. Situations that change the market crop up all the time. Adjustments happen gradually. Disruptions, meanwhile, often come out of nowhere.
Companies that do not continuously collect, process and systematically evaluate relevant information from their environment run the risk of change always getting in the way of their success. Their corporate strategies and all the organisational management elements that relate to them also need to adapt in order to change in line with market demands.
Use your information to your advantage
It’s a given that a company keeps itself up to date about its markets, customers and technologies in the industry it operates in. It’s important to remember that in the past, most disruptions that have fundamentally changed an industry have not come from that industry itself, but from another.
A prime example of this is the development of the smartphone, which has had an enormous impact on the 35 mm camera industry. That’s why it’s crucial to observe other sectors and industries closely – especially since the information you gather from doing so actually gives you a significant advantage over your competitors. Many organisations don’t pursue these options, meaning they also don’t use them to their advantage.
Recognise the greatest potential of them all
Everything that applies to sectors and industries outside our own also applies to customers. Focusing exclusively on existing and new customers means you will overlook another advantage. Most managers are aware that they need to be customer-centric, and they consciously include this group in strategic decisions as a result. By far the largest group, however, are the customers who are not yet customers.
If you have a market share of 25 per cent, the remaining 75 per cent of the market is still full of opportunities waiting to be seized. Although a market share of 25 per cent already qualifies as a success from an economic point of view, what if something were to happen in your environment that would drastically increase your market share even more?
I’ll say it again: the drivers of fundamental change always come from outside the organisation itself. The group of people who are not customers is therefore a potential driver.
Think differently, achieve different success
The pandemic and the war in Ukraine brought about sweeping market changes in the recent past. Many market participants saw their sales and revenues figures drop as a result – and they are still yet to recover. However, some companies have been able to use the changes to their advantage.
Other companies have not only reacted, but have made a conscious effort to change their own market – and been successful in doing so. Sporting goods manufacturer Nike, for example, achieved astronomical success by taking a different perspective. A simple accessory became a high-tech product. A small company became a billion-dollar corporation that now dominates the market.
The Dassler brothers, who are considered pioneers in the world of sporting goods manufacturing, were already consciously engaged in sports marketing with their brands adidas and Puma by using top athletes as brand ambassadors. Phil Knight, co-founder and long-time CEO of Nike, perfected this move, often helping his products achieve cult status. With a simple pair of trainers, he was instrumental in creating a whole new lifestyle industry.
Always think differently
The beginning of the 1990s saw Nike’s growth slow down. Basketball, which could always be relied upon to generate sales, lost its popularity. Jogging became the next big thing, so Knight set out to expand his footwear manufacturing operation by adding sportswear. As a strategist, he recognised the trend and geared his company towards it.
We can therefore learn something about strategy from Nike, as Knight had quite obviously understood his market, his customers and the people who weren’t his customers differently and better than the entire industry.
Success doesn’t happen by accident, so it pays to work continuously on your own strategy and thus on the company. Recognising trends is just as much a part of this as observing the market and looking at other sectors. Strategy is an evolutionary process, whereby the following target points have proven to be the most important:
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