Strategy in the digital age

We engage a lot of companies, both local and otherwise, in helping them craft their strategy. Given the many changes happening in the market, both from traditional and digital, it is imperative that companies have the flexibility and agility to act (and react) so they can serve these changing buying and purchasing behaviors. To do that, a sound strategy must be put in place.

To work on a strategy, whether creating a new one or updating your latest one, it is important to capture your existing set up and come up with your baseline. This is critical and will serve as the jumping point once we do the canvas and maps needed. We call this your business model canvas. The business model canvas documents anything and everything that is happening in your organization: from your key partners, activities, resources, cost and revenue stream to your customer relationships, segments and value proposition. Once done, we set this aside.

There are two key areas we focus on in doing strategy. One is taking a closer look at your competitors and coming up with a competitive position canvas. One might ask, what about new entrants or substitutes? Those are also considered competitors. In this canvas, we go in detail on the many relevant aspects of your business such as your operations and business model, your products, your customers, and your people. These inputs are then assessed based on the level of investments made. There is a visual graph that will highlight where you are positioned vs your competitors and therefore would serve as a guide on which areas you should keep on investing or divesting even. We always give the example of how AWS disrupted the hardware technology business with the introduction of cloud computing. The key area they disrupted: profit model.

The second area of focus and by far the most amount of time we spend on dissecting every granular detail possible is the customer. Customer is king, and the study of such involves a lot of brainstorming among business units and business leaders in order to have an aligned and consolidated point of view. We highlight the different personas in your customer base — and this could range from your Gen Z customer all the way to your Baby Boomer customer, for example. For each of these personas there are different needs that have to be addressed your product or service and this is discussed in details.

The output of this customer focus is the customer journey map. There are several (and equally interesting) factors that we need to think about when we study our customer, or a specific customer persona for that matter. These include his needs, attitudes, activities, what are his touchpoints with your product or service, support activities (if any), and the experience curve. We find the experience curve to be the biggest eye opener because this is where the customer satisfaction tends to be reflected, given the assessment of all the customer related activities and touchpoints. The experience curve also addresses the overall impact and will also pave the way for new tactics to be discussed in order to change the experience from bad to good, as such as the case may be.

The goal is always to make the customer aware of your product or service and eventually convert him to be an advocate. The strategy to achieve this is captured very nicely in this customer journey map. Both the inputs coming from the competitive position canvas and the customer journey map will now be lifted and included in the (future) business model canvas. If you remember the (baseline) business model canvas that is done at the beginning, this future one will now highlight the areas needed to be improved or focused on in order to achieve the goals that the organization has set out for. Lastly, prioritization is key in ensuring that the tactics identified can be implemented in a timely manner.

The Philippines is a growing market and an organization doing business here will not run out of customers. We remain to be a developing country and the opportunities are endless; and organizations always think of the best customer experience they can provide in the process. What is essential though is in ensuring that a sound strategy is in place so that this can be thoroughly supported and executed from the ground. It is also wise to have this ready at the beginning of the year to encourage momentum and involvement from everyone in the organization. After all, the new year always brings a fresh start.

Wishing you and your loved ones the most joyous holiday season and the best of 2020!

Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include nation-building, education and financial literacy. The author may be reached at