The Strategy Canvas
The strategy canvas is a line graph that shows the plans or intended plans to be carried out by the company. It also shows the current state of play. Where you and your competitors are investing your time and money. The results you get from it and what gets delivered to the customers. Only by knowing the current state of play of your competitors and the industry as a whole, can you begin to put in the work to help sets yourself apart.
You can start off by drawing or attempting to draw a strategy canvas of your company, involving four steps called the four steps of visualizing strategy. The four steps of visualizing strategy are about creating pictures of the plan of action in our heads based on what we see, read and hear.
The first step is Visual Awakening
Is a picture that is created within our minds that brings us to a whole new realization. To better improve ourselves and our company or changing everything altogether. For instance, in the company's case, it would be to draw the value curve of your offering and comparing it to your competitors. A value curve is a graphic picture that shows how value is created and offered. The results you get from it and what gets delivered to the customers.
By putting pen to paper and coming face to face with your offering. You get to realize and witness first hand, that there's nothing unique and special about you and competitors offering and the industry as a whole. That appeals to the concerns and needs of your customers and non-customers. Not only that, there is nothing that draws potential customers in and nothing that keeps loyal customers keep coming back for more.
Which simply means you're stuck, in bloody competition. The end result is swimming for the sake of staying afloat and surviving but with no form of direction of where to go and what you'd like to achieve.
The second step is Visual Exploration
Is to give a brief summary of information to users and allowing them to view their opinions of It and provide you with feedback. In the case of your company, once you've drawn your value curve, you need to send your employees and managers to the field. For them to come face to face with the customers & non-customers to see & hear on how your product or offering is received, make use & and what they think of it. Which involves interviewing & observing them making use of the Six Path Framework to creating blue oceans.
The six path framework is about challenging the accepted way many companies make an effort in order to achieve the desired result. Their main focus is going beyond what many companies choose to restrain themselves from doing within their company’s strategy. By asking those hard questions and gaining valuable insight, then in lies the opportunity for growth and profitability.
The third step is the Visual Strategy Fair
Visual Strategy Fair
Is about putting the valuable insight received together in a presentation format. From the old to the new strategy.
Inviting attendees, you came across on the field. From customers who buy and make use of your product or offering, to non-customers who don't bother or even think your offering is worth buying and making use of. Also inviting the managers and executives from other branches if you have any, who are to be judges alongside the customers and non-customer of your presentation.
You are to present different value curves of your company's new strategy, based on the findings and feedback you received on the field. Once done presenting, you'll stick the pictures of the value curves on the wall. The judges are to choose the value curves they liked and disliked and are to give reasons for them.
This whole process adds another level of feedback to the strategy-making process. Allowing the attendees and judges to way in and have a say in the company's strategy. The end result is achieving a win-win situation for both the company and the attendees. By having a strategy that appeals to the concerns and needs of your customers and non-customers. Reducing and eliminating everything else, that no longer serves a positive difference in people's lives.
You end up with a whole new strategy, that is in its league of its own. That is not only unique and different from its competitors but also grows the industry as a whole. Because the whole main aim and purpose of being in business is not only, to serve and make a positive difference in people lives but to also to grow the industry as a whole. Which many companies have to reach the point where they begin with the end in mind.
Begin with the end in mind is about being unique aligning your true uniqueness and passion with your business. Addressing and solving the concerns and needs of your customers and non-customers making that connection and making it about them. Allowing them to view their opinions and applying their feedback to the companies strategy, you end up with a formidable company.
The fourth and final step is Visual Communication.
Is the act of communicating information and ideas using symbols and images. It's when the new strategy is communicated in a straight forward meaningful to everybody involved. So it is easily understood by the employees from top to bottom. Distributing the old & new strategic profile. A strategic profile is a picture that shows where the company was before, the results they got from it and where it is today and where I'd like to be in the future.
When communicating the new strategy, it's best to have one of the employees who were part of the whole process to better explain it in more detail of how the old and new strategy came about it. The employees you told will share the information with the rest of the employees and so on.
The process of visual communication demonstrates equality and strengthens unity in the organization. By sharing the changes that are to occur with employees, you basically building trust, creating clear expectations of what is expected of them when coming to their work. The whole communication process as a whole says in its own that? The employees are respected, valued and are seen as equals in the organization. Having achieved these three qualities is key in setting up the organization up for success.
The employees and customers are truly what makes the company for what it is. One without the other is pointless and the end up being no company to go back to or to begin with. It is best to have both and making certain that they work hand in hand with each other. This can only be achieved when transparency is being displayed to employees. Because they are the ones that get backlash from senior executives and customers for targets and goals not being met or the product or offering not up to its usual standard.
In all honest employees are the face of the company and they're the ones that carry the company from where it is and where it'd like to be. In order for that to be achieved a win-win situation needs to be created. Whereby both parties the employers and the employees are fulfilled and satisfied with the company's strategy and the changes that are to occur.
The end result company targets and goals are able to be fulfilled to its full potential. To the employees, their job is no longer a job just to get by and make ends meet, it's a calling!! Whereby the vision, mission, and strategy of the company is engraved within them, it's part of their DNA. All this is achieved through visual communication.
An example of the strategy canvas is Yellow tail
Yellow tail is a new brand of wine produced by Casella Family Brands. Casella Family Brands is a family-owned winery business in the small country town of Yenda, Australia.
How did the new brand of wine come about?
Casella family brands set out to create a wine that appealed to the mass of buyers, the general public. These are the people that buy your product or offering in large numbers. To them, it appeals to their concerns and needs, solves a pain within their lives and is within their income bracket and is easily affordable.
In the case of Casella wines, people did not need a new brand of wine, they wanted. There are certain things you need in your life to get and live by. Then there are things that you want or desire to distress after a long day at work like a soft social drink. To enjoy and look forward to, to let loose, put your feet up, let your hair down and relax. Which is what Casella wines set out to achieve to create a wine drink that is easy to enjoy, look forward and appeals to the general public.
It achieved all this by focusing all its efforts to alternative customers and non-customers. Alternative customers are customers who give themselves the power and opportunity to explore and choose different products or offerings that appeal to their concerns and needs. Non-customers are people who do not buy and make use of your product or offering and who feel that it doesn't appeal to them and their needs.
By talking to these two groups you gain key insight and a different outlook of how to best approach and solve the pain experienced by these two buyer groups. Which gives the upper hand to your competitors. Instead of focusing on competing and try to outperform your competitors, you look to alternatives customers on how they fulfill their concerns and needs by making use of the different products and offerings and which of them do work in giving them the results they want.
Also to non-customer what is missing in the various products or offerings that doesn't quite appeal to them and what is there to be learned from it. Once you've gained the insight you get to realize that certain things within your product or offering no longer make a positive difference in people's lives. Which entails reducing, eliminating or creating a new offering altogether to better serve your customers.
That is what Casella wines did it focused all its time and efforts to alternative customers, non-customers and reducing, eliminating everything else and thereby creating a social drink called Yellow tail. It learned that the mass of buyers wasn't buying wine mainly due to the look, taste, and feel not appealing to their market. It was targeted to a specific market which was not them. Which led them to cancel wine and all wine drinks all together as not an option for drinking. In other words, the wine companies and the wine industry as a whole were turning potential customers and non-customer away.
Yellow tail turned this all around through engaging with these two buyer groups and all their efforts paid off. A whole new brand of wine was introduced that had the look, taste and feel that appealed to the mass of buyers, by having those three aspects alone it had a winning combination. The results are a social drink for beer drinkers, cocktails drinkers, and non-wine drinkers. It not only reduced and eliminated everything else it created a new offering that converted non-wine drinkers to wine drinkers and thereby growing the wine industry as a whole.
It didn't stop there instead of approaching public figures to be the face and ambassador of the wine brand. It totally did the opposite, it approached the employees to be the face and ambassador for the wine brand. By just doing that alone was key in setting the wine brand up for success. The employees contributed to getting Casella wines from it was and where it is today.
In the space of two years Yellow tail become the fastest growing wine brand in the history of both Australian and the US wine industry and was the number one imported wine in the United States. It achieved all its success by focusing its time and efforts to alternative customers and non-customers. Reducing and eliminating everything else that no longer makes a positive difference in peoples and creating a new offering that appeals to the general public and that is how the social drink Yellow tail was born how it came about and where it is today.