Acquiring a strategic position isn't easy.
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It takes a deliberate planning process with strategies that have been designed to firmly entrench your brand and your products in a targeted corner of the marketplace. If it's done right, a strategic position is the inevitable outcome of a strategic plan that coordinates every decision your business makes.
Unfortunately, many business owners have learned the hard way that strategic positions aren't static. A variety of factors can influence the consumer landscape and severely undermine your brand's position. In some sectors, a strategic shift in one company can send the entire industry into a tailspin as businesses scramble to reposition themselves around new marketplace realities.
Strategic position assessment is a necessary business activity for competitive companies. Although the strategic assessment process doesn't have to be complicated, there are plenty of hazards and pitfalls you will need to look out for along the way.
Common Strategic Position Assessment Mistakes
- Too narrow. Strategic position analysis should take into account the position of both your brand and your products. Ideally, your brand identity and your product positions should be consistent. However, in some circumstances a specific product position can diverge from your brand profile, especially if the product position is being used to test market a new business strategy. Both product and brand need to be considered during assessment.
- Inconsistent with strategic plan. Effective strategic analysis is usually performed in tandem with the strategic planning process. If strategic planning is ignored during the assessment process, the result will be a targeted strategic position that is incompatible with the company's strategic plan. That's a recipe for disaster because the strategic plan guides the decisions that will ultimately deliver the position you want to occupy.
- Failure to address resources. Resource allocation is a big factor in strategic positioning. The idea is to evaluate your strategic position and make adjustments based on your current allocation of resources. If the assessment process is based on the resources you hope to acquire in five years, your company stands absolutely no chance of holding its strategic position in the short-term – and its ability to grow into the strategic position in the long-term may be tenuous.
- Separated from the business plan. Strategic positioning is the intended consequence of strategic planning. And since strategic planning is an outgrowth of the business plan, your strategic position assessment must consider the business plan. If your targeted market position is dramatically inconsistent with the company's mission and personality, you've missed the point.