I’ve been consulting to health and sustainability enterprises for almost fifteen years, and in that time I’ve become ever clearer about what causes business in this market place to fail.
Most consistently it seems to be that there is a lack of appreciation for the natural order of things, for the hierarchy of influence and how to work most effectively with it.
When businesses seek out a marketing specalist they are usually approaching them at the level of output. Output is product or service definition, branding, copywriting, web-development, advertising. Output is ultimately an activity related to business development.
Yet the presumption – generally an erroneous one – is that the primary stakeholders really know what their business needs. This is because there is usually no documented business strategy, and even if there is, there is a massive disconnect between the strategy and the (generally ambiguous) vision.
I’ve often said that people think that because they have an appreciation of aesthetics, that they are a designer, that because they know how to use a pen, they are a copywriter. The greatest mistake business people make is that they presume that because they are capable of thinking, they know how to strategise.
The highest point of influence within any enterprise is the vision of the stakeholders. Without taking the time to clarify this vision, to make it utterly compelling, all strategies and outputs will fail. This is quite simply because their sole purpose is to serve a vision. Equally important to this, however, is the synergies between each of these elements of business planning. A strategy needs to faithfully serve a vision, and can only do so through equal measures of intuition and critical intelligence.