As a father of a 20-year old – and my only child – it’s not uncommon these days for my wife and I to be thinking about and discussing a bit more regularly where we are now and where we think we should go. Significant changes in family status – birth of a child, sending one or your only child [sigh] off to college, etc. – tend to heighten your scrutiny of current and future states.
The ability to approach those discussions with sanity and, perhaps, some ‘dreaming’ of best case scenarios is the result of defining a strategy years ago, comprised of personal, professional, and financial roadmaps that guide many of our decisions when minor obstacles arise or those monumental family changes start coming into view. (Did I mention my only child is off to college? [Bigger sigh])
So when working with clients and knowing the impact the ever-increasing pace of technological change can have on their ability to meet or exceed business goals, that strategy mentality kicks into high gear. Where is the client now? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities exist for them? What challenges can impact their ability to meet those opportunities? And, ultimately, what does their roadmap need to look like to ensure they can accomplish their goals?
At Liquid, defining strategies is at the core of what we do. From over-arching digital strategies and integrated marketing strategies to social media and content strategies, it’s rare that we’ll advance a client engagement without first taking a step back to assess the situation; to identify gaps between current and desired states; to understand the opportunities as they relate to a client’s business and audience needs and their ability to meet those needs; and to recommend a plan for executing on a strategy.
Why? Well, we could simply say it’s to help you approach impacts and potentially needed adjustments to your strategic roadmap with the same sanity as I [try to] do with our ‘at home’ strategy, but it’s obviously more than that. The right strategy informs; it clarifies for you and your business your competitive and industry positioning, your audiences, your internal capabilities (or lack thereof), your key performance indicators. Above all, it serves as your guide, with required tactics and contingencies, to reaching those opportunities and targets … a few of which may have even seemed like a ‘dream’ in the past.
As former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani once said, “Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.” In today’s digital landscape, change is the constant, and navigating all of that change on hopes alone can be detrimental to your business. It is vital to your success to know how technology can support and advance your business, what is on the digital horizon that could impact your business’s growth, and what forks exist in the road to pivot and take advantage of new opportunities. In other words, a strategy.
And if you already have a sound digital strategy in place for your business, pat yourself on the back. But don’t let that strategy sit around and collect dust either. Technology advances are occurring more frequently than the typical family status changes, so you need to be regularly reviewing that mission statement, monitoring your current state and the tactics of your defined strategy, and spending time to consider how you can build upon and improve your strategy. And if you need some help, I know where you can get some ‘fatherly’ advice. Did I mention … [sigh].
About Len O'Neal (Alumni)
Len O’Neal served as the Director, Strategy & Insights at Liquid Interactive. Len leveraged almost 20 years of experience in digital media, focused primarily on defining and executing digital and content strategies for a wide variety of audiences and subject matters.