Building Brands

Tom Marin is the president of MarketCues, a national consulting firm. Tom serves as a senior advisor and change-management consultant with 35 years of experience. He has worked for some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as middle-market firms. Tom's focus is to plan and drive strategy shifts and strategic growth programs in the printing industry and a diverse range of market areas.

Perhaps one of the most important areas of your organization to rethink is your organizational structure. It often sounds radical to some and boring to others, but the reality is that what works well in one stage of business will almost never work well in its next and yet, most organizations leave the same structure in place for years and often pay a dear price.

Judging by the amount of attention paid to strategic planning throughout the business press and business schools, it’s easy to conclude that the one necessary ingredient to an organizational success is a well-crafted strategic plan. Yet, over many years of consulting I’ve come to realize that little could be further from the truth.

When you are a senior leader — someone who has both people working with you and reporting to you in a medium to large organization — it’s unlikely that you will have close personal relationships with everyone. This dynamically changes what you need to be able to do.

For many, a strategy is developed through trial and error with the goal of significantly improving the top and/or bottom lines. These are worthwhile goals but in this era of nearly ubiquitous products and services, it's wise to engage with clients first before making any changes to your strategy. What follows are three case studies concerning client engagements MarketCues conducted that show how to link customer insights to strategy to win big.

Senior executives often tell us they have a strategy in place, and executives generally believe the issue is increasingly important to their organization's success. But as their strategic programs become challenged in the marketplace by multiple competitive sources, many of whom are using innovation to drive their brand awareness and become better known, challenges to continue to retain key clients become increasingly more difficult.

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