Strategic planning is used early and often in our consulting engagements, to paint a picture of the desired end state, by visualizing the future. The key is to “begin with the end in sight,” and work backward from that perspective.
As demonstrated here, three points in time should be considered in strategic visioning:
Understanding the current situation – Where we are today?
Determining the future vision – Where do we want to be in the future?
Closing the gap through strategic marketing, positioning, and innovation — How will we get there?
A central theme of strategic planning is to begin with the end in sight. This involves envisioning where you want to be in the future and then working backward to fill the gap, using a create-test-and-learn approach.
Starting with the end in sight adds another tangible thing to create — a testable proposition, like a concept board, business narrative, draft proposal, or prototype that represents the end goal.
By iterating tangible ideas internally and with customers, you can peer into the future, clarify thinking, optimize ideas, reset—as necessary—and get everyone on the same page.
Starting with the end in sight and working backward allows for better decisions regarding where to play and how to win.
To develop an initial strategic vision for the business and brand to guide subsequent project activities, including strategy sessions, focused ideation and customer research
Review the market assessment, to identify key issues and opportunities
Develop alternative visioning statements, through facilitated workshops
Review, refine and prioritize vision statement alternatives
Initial visioning statement to guide subsequent project steps
Internal hypotheses, questions, opportunities and challenges to guide subsequent project steps
At this stage, initial “straw man” deliverables across marketing and brand strategy outputs are created. The straw man output is designed as a draft version for the team to debate, pick apart, and improve. From there, a common next steps include design thinking and concept iteration.