My strategy clients are rarely starting with nothing – more likely they are overwhelmed by possibilities or layers of marketing mush. My first job is often to strip that shit away and find some solid ground.
- What are we selling here (functional/emotional/social)?
- What story are our users telling themselves (about their life/about us)?
- What’s our Core Value Proposition?
- What themes, frames and core messages flow from that?
- How do we fit into our customer’s story?
The value of ‘solid ground’ – of course – is that it gives us a new foundation.
Aside: Finding your foundation
In 2018, I bought a cottage to use as a studio. It needed serious work.
The core building was 400 years old, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue was that in all that time, things had only ever been added.
New floorboards laid over old, electricity wires nailed into the walls. Layers and layers of wallpaper and paint and rotting insulation.
So it all had to go.
We tore up carpets and floorboards, we tore down plaster and ceilings.
We took it back to its foundation and started again.
I love strategy work because the result is clarity.
And for obvious reasons, it can be the highest leverage work that I do with a client.
The leverage of upstream thinking
When we make a strategic decision upstream it can massively simplify life downstream. (As you may have gathered from this site, I’m big on simplicity.)
Here’s an example. On the consultancy page, I make a point of highlighting a strategic decision I took early with Stories Mean Business – I work with founders.
Not marketing managers account executives, agency middle-men, headhunters, board members, interns, graduates, wannabes and so on.
I work with people who are building something. They’re my people.
Do I sometimes break my own rule? Sure, but in the meantime, that upstream decision cuts a huge amount of complexity out of my life (and my messaging).
And when you get back to your foundation, find your value proposition and your core messages … you get the same kind of clarity.
Book a call
Since 1997, my strategy has been pretty simple: Great work for great clients.
(There are a couple of powerful upstream decisions hidden in there, too. My strategy work typically starts in the £1,000 range, and like you, I’m careful about who I work with. This isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.)
If you need some clarity, drop me a line.
Note: My work is covered by a simple guarantee – I only invoice happy clients.
“Nick has been a godsend in my life. Nick is a superb analyst, observer and writer and … has allowed me to jettison the past and move onto pastures new. He’s just a thoroughly wonderful guy. Highly recommended.”
“Nick led a webinar for us which went down a treat. He was engaging and lively, tailoring his story to ours and not being afraid to point out where we weren’t doing very well. He kept the audience involved and positioned storytelling to us in a way that made it completely realistic and relatable. I highly recommend Nick!”
“Nick is simply brilliant, he has a superb ability to take the most complex information and turn it into a story that can run and run and run.
Can’t rate Nick highly enough.”
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