Why Strategy Fails - Chess

Why Strategy Fails

“The strategy itself usually isn’t where it goes wrong for most brands – it is due to a lack of alignment, consistency and implementation, across all business functions.” 


The Starting Point 


Defining a strategy – whether it is specific to business growth, brand recognition or digitalisation – sounds like a pretty good starting point, right? Understanding that, strategy is a necessity, is not as common as you may think, so you are off to a good start. Too many brands jump straight to implementation and marketing, before understanding what they are trying to achieve.  


Defining a clear business problem and subsequent set of objectives is the vital starting point for any strategy. What is the problem? Why do you want to solve it? Defining your business problem is not good enough – only when you question why you want to overcome it, will you reach a stronger outcome.  


For example:  


Business problem?  

Brand currently appeals to Gen X and older, which is limiting business growth.  



Increase customer acquisition amongst Gen Z by 12%, in 2022. 



The growing market is being driven by millennials who spend almost 40% than the average UK consumer    


A considered plan of action which is driven by clear objective(s) and an initial understanding of why, allows for relevant resource to be organised and for more of the right questions to be investigated.  



Ask Questions

Questions Result in a Stronger Outcome  


Strategic thinking is founded on thorough research and discovery. It can be helpful to enter this stage of discovery with a series of hunches and hypotheses – after all, these may be what has driven your objective(s) in the first place. But it is crucial not to let personal opinions, views, likes, and

 dislikes cloud your findings. Seek to understand growth opportunities through, consumer lifestyles and media consumption, competitor analysis, external social factors as well as insight into your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to undergo the intended level of research, without rushing to conclusions. 


At LaBrand, we believe that true insight-led thinking results in an informed opinion of how to minimise the risks and enhance the opportunities to win. Shaping your strategy around insight, data and knowledge helps to minimise the risks and the possibility of the unknown.  


Strategy Formulation Vs Strategy Implementation 


Going through the stages of analysis, diagnosis, and establishment of growth opportunities, are the building blocks to a good strategy. But the implementation of strategy, can be a challenge for many businesses.  


According to a 2020 survey by Cascade, 67% of leaders believe their organisation is good at crafting strategy but only 47% believe their organisation is good at implementing strategy. Similarly, another Cascade survey revealed that 67% of well-formulated strategies failed due to poor execution. 


Having the correct skills in place to execute the formulated strategy is essential. A highly-thought-through strategy considers the full end-to-end customer journey, which may require a sufficiently skilled team to implement strategic initiatives across; various marketing disciplines, e-Commerce, NPD, and customer service, just to name a few. A lack of skills in any of these areas could put the strategy implementation at jeopardy.  


A lack of team alignment and communication is another key reason why strategies can fail. Company culture plays a big part in executing any type of strategy in business – if team members are not onboard with the strategic direction, then the way in which they execute, could steer the approach into an alternative direction. This can cause problems when evaluating both the results and success of the strategy. 



Insight-led Decision Making is Key 


Strong strategic planning and direction are vital but turning that thinking into an implementable (and trackable) plan is what many businesses discover to be the greatest challenge. Ensuring that all members of the project team firstly have access to the strategy and are secondly aligned on the direction throughout, cannot be underestimated. A good strategy is only as good as its execution.   


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