Plan v strategy
“OK team, here’s the plan… now all we need to do is formulate a strategy!”
Ever heard that? Or worse still have you ever said it? The thing is that the plan really should
focus on the ‘how’ whereas the strategy should focus on the ‘why’.
Now, I’m not going to go off on some Simon Sinek style “Start with the Why” rant (although
I do love that concept) however, unless you are clear on why something should be done, it’s
going to be very frustrating, time consuming and probably costly to figure out how to do it;
and worse still you may totally balls it up!
When it comes to advertising, we are asked on a regular basis for our opinion on which
medium is going to be the best one to advertise a product or service… TV, radio, press,
online, social media; my answer is always the same… I don’t know yet because it’s not about
the medium at this stage, it’s about the strategy.
The first thing we have to do is figure out what you want to say, who you want to say it to
and why they are interested in what you have to say. That’s the first thing.
At this point in the discussion we are far from being at planning stage… this is the first part
of a strategic approach that will give us a better than average chance of getting a positive
result. Once we are clear on the strategy, then we can formulate and execute a plan.
All the same principles apply no matter what you are doing.
Planning a holiday? OK, where to and when?
Doesn’t that depend on what you want to get out of the holiday? Do you want to chill for a
week, go high adrenaline, sightsee and be a culture vulture? Do you want to relax without
the kids or is it a family thing? Once you have an idea of why you want a holiday, then you
can start to plan it – but unless you have a strategy, you may fail to tick the boxes required
for a successful break.
So, part of the strategic approach in this instance would be to figure out if you want to come
back off your holidays refreshed and ready for life again, exhausted but happy, with a tonne
of once in a lifetime memories or all of the above. Once you have figured out the why, then
you can do the how, when and where.
Strategy first plan second. Planning is the easy part; creating a strategy, now that’s the real