3 ways to lift your capabilities with strategies that drive growth

Organisations want to drive growth – sustainable, profitable growth. And they do this best by creating strategies that create value for customers by providing them with benefits that are different, better or cheaper than those offered by competitors.

Here are three ways to make sure you are making your strategies work hard for your business.

1. Get better at identifying opportunities to create value for customers

Marketers always talk about insight as the platform for great marketing. But to make a real impact on an organisation’s performance, this insight needs to be obtained at a strategic level.

For example, AkzoNobel has used a new needs-based segmentation approach to drive a rationalisation of its brand portfolio and to reveal new innovation opportunities. And at P&G, the focus is being placed on ‘purpose-drive’ marketing strategies that are grounded in serving, touching and moving people in a more fundamental, emotional way than before.

2. Get better at engaging the whole organisation in creating customer value

It has always been important for marketers to engage other functions if they are to focus the agenda of the whole business on meeting the needs of customers.

But in the world of social media, where all corporate activity is under the microscope and every customer experience can be amplified, the need for seamless integration and consistency has become ever more vital. As Aviva’s CMO Amanda Mackenzie explains, ‘Engagement is unbelievably important. You simply have to engage the people who know how to make the system work. If they feel ownership for things themselves, then they happen far better, faster, cheaper than they otherwise would have.’

3. Get better at delivering customer value in practice

Even the best strategies are worth nothing unless they are executed well. Teams must inspire everyone in the company to play their role in fulfilling their brand’s promise when it matters, as Boots has done with its ‘Feel Good’ brand strategy. Integrated operational planning is also essential to coordinate activities across every customer touchpoint.

To this end, Unilever has invested heavily behind its BrandZip planning process in recent years to ‘zip’ together longer term global brand strategies and shorter term local operational plans.

Underpinning each of these three paths to growth are two important dimensions of organisational capability – the technical/commercial and the human/cultural. Individuals must focus on improving not just what they do, but also how they do it, to truly make an impact on driving growth.

Have a go at asking yourself the following questions to see how you stack up in each area and find out where you need to lift your game.

a = human/cultural
b = technical/commercial

1. Get better at identifying opportunities to create value for customers.

  • a. Have you got an inspiring vision of how your brand will create value for your customers in the future?
  • b. Are the commercial benefits of this vision clearly defined in financial language that the business will understand?

2. Get better at engaging the whole organisation in creating customer value.

  • a. Do you have big enough relationships with the main people you need to work with to get a great job done?
  • b. Is it clear who is responsible for making things happen and how key decisions will be made?

3. Get better at delivering customer value in practice.

  • a. Are people throughout the company inspired and enabled to deliver a fantastic customer experience?
  • b. Do you have detailed, integrated, implementation plans across brands, functions, channels and geographies, with regular review mechanisms in place to keep things on track over time?

Originally posted on the Marketing Society Blog.

Brand Learning: Lifting capabilities to drive customer-centred growth
We work with companies across the world to lift the performance of their teams to drive growth by delivering better value for their customers.

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