Strategic roles in an agency are driven by curiosity, industry knowledge and a whole lotta’ research. Strategists are analytical and innovative thinkers whose role is to understand their client’s aims, objectives, challenges, needs and ambitions, and fuel the team with insights that lead to creative executions. It’s no easy task!
Strategy is essential to all businesses, in sectors far and wide, but how can you stand out from the rest? Here, we share our top tips for strategic success.
1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Planning skills are super important when it comes to devising a good strategy. Research and a solid understanding of your/your client’s industry make up the foundation of any successful business plan.
A combination of understanding sector trends, the audience’s behaviour, and the competitive landscape will help you develop realistic goals, create strong messaging that resonates with your target audience and find the appropriate methods to reach them.
2. Curiosity is key.
Any strategy professional worth their salt needs to be endlessly curious, with a critical eye. You should always be asking ‘why, how, and what?’.
The best in the biz will be able spot patterns, themes and links that emerge through their work. Strategy isn’t about scratching the surface; it’s about digging your way to the bottom.
3. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Strategy is all about getting a mix of thoughts, perspectives, and ideas. Having the opportunity to constantly test, ask questions and gather opinions of the people you work with is so important and is what makes for a well-informed plan.
It’s all about co-creation. Calling on the skills, knowledge, experience, and perspectives of the people around you is what’s going to ensure you achieve the best results. There’s no room for lone rangers here!
4. The pathway to strategy is not linear.
Unlike other job roles, the path to a career in strategy is not as cut-and-dried as you may think, and people’s backgrounds can vary massively. Our own strategy gurus come from backgrounds spanning journalism, sales, art and publishing!
The road to strategy success is littered with a keenness for research and evidence, great communication and understanding, and the ability to tell a compelling story. If you can tick those boxes, you’re well on your way.
5. No right or wrong solution.
Strategy isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ environment. With all projects involving strategy, there are often a number of possible routes they can take and it’s their job to find the one which is likely to get the best results.
To meet the needs and objectives of their clients, there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer, but there are solutions which will achieve better outcomes than others and it’s up to them to find out how and why.
6. Do the research, produce the answers.
While researching is a highly important part of a strategy professional’s role, their main purpose is being able to take those findings – whether through engagement, research, or insights – and turn them into tangible results.
There’s no room for half-a-job-bobs – you need passion and commitment to see a project through from start to finish.
7. No two days are the same.
It’s hard to define a typical day in strategy – mostly because there isn’t one! To carry out their research and come up with effective solutions for businesses, strategists are often out and about, speaking to people from all walks of life and industries, getting under the skin of and becoming experts in all kinds of weird and wonderful businesses.
Whether they’re hosting workshops, leading focus groups and interviews or attending networking events, there’s never a dull day!
8. Keep up with industry trends.
Staying up to date is an absolute must for strategists. From leading trends, competitors’ movements and changes in consumer behaviour and sector landscapes – they all play a role in impacting strategy plans and the decisions they’ll make.
You’ll often find strategists at events and networking, as they’re a great way to stay in the loop on industry updates, as well as utilising social media platforms like LinkedIn, and news sites to keep their finger on the pulse..
9. Be pragmatic.
The best strategists will always have their end goal in mind. It’s all well and good proposing an impressive looking strategy, but does it consider the realities of the company? What about its market or competitors? The best strategies are the ones that are pragmatic, feasible and most importantly – impactful!
10. Networking for newbies.
Networking is a great tool for people looking to kickstart their strategy journey and can also help you get ahead of the game. Meet up for coffees, connect on LinkedIn and attend events where you’ll be surrounded by a wealth of knowledge to absorb. Most professionals are usually more than happy to share their knowledge and it gives you the chance to make contacts and pick up some tips and tricks along the way!
Want to learn more about our Strategy team? Meet them here.