Blurry Eyed or Focused on the Vision?

(Originally posted Spring 2011)

If you can read this, you’re too close…

How Bumper Sticker Strategies focus teams on their vision.
In Smart Things to Know about Strategy, by Richard Koch, he introduces the idea of a "bumper sticker strategy."
This idea can be successfully used to produce a crisp, clear statement that sets the direction of a company - internally and to the outside world.
I'm bending his words a little, but in essence a “bumper sticker strategy” sums up a business in one sentence, whilst:
  1. Declaring what they do that's different from their competitors.
  2. Promising something of great value to all their key customers.
  3. Being underpinned by what they do better than anyone else (their core competence).
  4. Also being underpinned by a unique system to deliver it.
The end result may be a little leaner than a mission statement. But in my opinion, if well crafted and memorable, they're much more use.
A couple of my favourite examples from the book (though they're probably out of date by now) are:
Ikea – Stylish furniture at low prices for young families
Virgin – debunk the establishment, business as fun
This crisp, clear statement creates a focus for decisions and actions - at every level of a company.
If a decision or action doesn’t in some way serve the strategy, it should be left out.
Now... what is your Bumper Sticker Strategy?
Photo by Paul Wicks via Flickr.

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