Strategic planning can be a curious thing. Different companies with different facilitators can produce wildly different planning sessions with wildly different goals. If done properly, though, the impact of such a session is wide-reaching, and can generally be grouped into benefits of an intellectual nature, and benefits of an emotional nature. As strategic planning’s benefits go far beyond the traditional definition of branding, not just any Orange County Branding agency can facilitate such a session. Still, the best strategic planning can leave your brand, along with your company, noticeably stronger.
What we Plan
There are basically two types of benefits that come from a strategic planning session: intellectual ones and emotional ones. The benefits that appeal to our intellectual side are perhaps the more commonly expected. These are the things that look good on paper to shareholders: concrete goals, 5-year plans, roll-outs of new services or technologies, and generally, other such measurable and actionable things.
In addition to this, there is another side to strategic planning that emphasizes the emotional, or less tangible, aspects of your company. This can include crafting mission, vision, and core values statements, when your company has a mission, vision, and core values that are clearly expressed, it’s as if you’re communicating more directly to everyone that is connected to your company, externally, but internally as well.
When we Don’t Plan
We regularly see companies get held back by any number of issues that can be addressed by strategic planning. Perhaps a company pays top dollar to create a totally new website. It was expensive, it looks great, but after a few months, it isn’t really generating leads like it should, and it isn’t immediately clear who is meant to monitor or adjust or ensure that the site is meeting the overall needs of the organization.
Think of an organization that pays to have a marketing mailer program set up and implemented. The campaign may be successful in generating leads, but after the campaign is completed, there isn’t really any structures linking the short-term aims of the campaign to the longer-term goals of the company, so afterward, the company settles back into the position they were in before the campaign.
An effective strategic planning session addresses individual issues like those above by adding context, a framework, and overall meaning to the efforts of the company. On the intellectual side of things, all the outcomes for a given project, such as launching a new website, or rolling out a marketing campaign, are grounded and plugged into the bigger picture. A clear framework ensures that growth doesn’t simply start and stop, but is felt throughout the organization, and in turn can lead to more growth.
The Heart of the Matter
On the emotional side, there are benefits that are somewhat less concrete, although potentially more influential in the long-term. By earnestly working through a company’s mission, vision, and core values, by matching the statements to the truth of the organization, they become a source of power that continually adds guidance and meaning to the daily operations of the organization. It’s as if that core of meaning functions as an engine that enables everyone to better know what it is they are doing, and why. Greater communication, support, and camaraderie become evident, which in turn makes it easier to be more focused and efficient in the efforts to grow the company.
Strategic planning’s benefits reach far beyond any one aspect of your company that is touched by it. From branding and marketing, to project management, to corporate culture, a session that is facilitated by the right person can provide deeply meaningful direction and awareness of the bigger picture that is your organization. In the end, whether it be through an Orange County branding agency, or other professional venue, it becomes most important to match with a facilitator that can know you and your business, in order to help you express it.