At the core of every competitive strategy is a specific value discipline and a desired market position. Of course, it’s different for every market and industry. It’s fundamentally integrated with the concept of brand. It’s about delivering a clearly defined value proposition to a specific market. Consistency in delivery and value proposition eventually results in consumers associating your brand with whatever form of value they have clearly experienced, first or second-hand. This isn’t a new concept and yet, does your strategy clearly reflect this model? Does every member of your organization understand your chosen discipline and are they working to 1) reinforce this through the customer experience 2) further enhance your ability to follow through on this?
The thing about value disciplines is that choosing one has far-reaching implications on your business. The business model behind each of these disciplines are completely different, and they don’t play well together. Walmart’s distribution model is designed to accomplish one thing, and it has nothing to do with building personal relationships with their customers. The clarity of their business model is what allows them to deliver on their strategy, then for consumers to understand what they’re trying to do, which results in a clear market position. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with a single business or a franchise model, consistency is what maintains the strength of the brand.

In many ways, that’s what makes a business great, is following through on this commitment. There are three value disciplines that most consumers can relate to;

• the ability to deliver a generic product at a better price through some form of operational excellence
• the ability to create and distribute new and innovative products that are unique and ground-breaking
• the ability to develop closeness with customers who are more interested in the relationship, the experience and the customization – and are willing to pay a little extra to make that happen

Assuming you have a consistent and pervasive view of your corporate value discipline, does your business model FULLY align? Does every part of your structure support this? Is HR, branding, technology, communications, finance, governance and sales fully aligned to make this happen? If we as organizations aren’t clear on the value discipline, we can’t expect our customers to know why they should deal with us either.

So, what if you have a loose conglomerate of companies that are held under a common grouping by have different owners? Is there room for different personalities within a brand? Until we find an example of a multi-national company making that model work, I think we’ll have to go with no.

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Categories: Strategic Planning