The Creative Step

From a solid strategic analysis of your market you will have issues to tackle and options for the way forward. Although you are likely to have identified some core issues and quick wins, strategy itself is about preparing for a long term campaign. Consequently care is needed to look at all possible options and to choose the ones that are most likely to win in the end.

At this stage how you proceed requires thought and imagination - what we call "The Creative Step.

Strategic analysis can tell you what to consider and what your options are, but typically it doesn't tell you what to do. What to do requires a leap of imagination, or a burst of creativity that will identify the ideal strategy - something that is simple, robust, lasting and effective.

To seek out such a strategy, we use a process called the "Creative Step". This is a workshop based process that is used to develop and critique strategies that are open to you, in order to identify the key routes forward. The aim is to look at what your target markets could be, what you could provide for your customers into the future and crucially, where you want to go in terms of your market development.

The Creative Step is based on working through

  • Where you are now
  • Developing market scenarios
  • Developing potential responses
  • Strategy synthesis

Typically this involves intense initial workshops, followed up with a review and concerns session to allow for ideas to settle and implications to be thought through in detail.

The Creative Step starts from where you are now. The evidence gathered from the strategic analysis is used to sketch the current situation and identify existing trends and pressures on your market.

Then to fully explore your strategic options, collectively we build a number of market scenarios, based on the strategic analysis and blue sky thinking. Each market scenario describes what customers are buying and what competitors are doing sometime into the future (three to five years). We critique the scenarios to try and identify how likely each is to come to pass and give each scenario a probability rating.

For each market scenario we then look at your potential responses. How would you tackle the market in each scenario? As each market response has a cost and logistical and timescale issues that need to be take into consideration as well as an expected return from the market and some form of competitive reaction, so we look to draw out the elements that would produce the best result for each scenario.

These individual answers paint a picture separately, but the final stage is to draw the strands together - strategy synthesis. This is to build a strategy that is robust in the face of changing market conditions, whilst being flexible enough to allow for change and is simple to communicate and articulate.

The Creative Step workshops include a series of free flow brainstorms followed by hard critiques and to help facilitate development of the scenarios and responses we have available a variety of techniques. These include projective techniques, customer's shoes, 5 whys, mapping and model building, value points and story development.

The final strategy should be a credible, resonant and relevant "story of the future" from which a detailed implementation plan can be created as part of the planning for implementation phase.

For help and advice on helping you make creative responses to your markets contact