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  • Writer's pictureJeenal Patel

What is the heartbeat of Strategy?

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

I often get asked the question - "What made you stick around in Strategy for so long?". Well, life of a Strategist is multifaceted – questioning client briefs, decoding numbers, conducting research, inspiring creatives, selling ideas and much more. But the one aspect of Strategy that has ensured I remain excited each day at work is CONSUMER CENTRICITY.

Consumer is the very reason for existence of any business and hence, the core of any Strategy. You don’t need to have an outstanding product but instead an in-depth understanding of your consumers to ensure you remain in business. Usually, the onus of understanding the consumer and unravelling his/her behavior lies with the Strategist who is the uncrowned ‘Consumer Custodian’ of a brand. And that’s the BEST and the most DIFFICULT part of this job!

As David Ogilvy said – “Consumers don’t think how they feel. They don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say” and hence, it becomes the responsibility of the Strategist to decode these aspects and use them in a meaningful way to creatively solve business problems.

In the Digital Age, consumer journeys are not linear but complex & entangled and Strategists are now specializing their focus areas – Social, Content, UX, etc. Black Swan events like COVID 19 have made ‘Agile Planning’ a need of the hour. However, Consumer Focus is and will continue to be the common work denominator of every Strategist under any situation.

Consumer Centricity ensures that Strategy comes with an expiry date. Consumers are constantly evolving and Strategy has to match their pace. In the Digital Age, the modus operandi of understanding consumers is far more advanced. Strategists are no longer dependent on Focus Group Discussions to arrive at insights but are trying to adopt new ways to be omnipresent with consumers. Social listening tools, Data Analytics, UX/UI research and Neuro Science studies help in gaining a deeper insight into consumer behavior which ultimately molds the Strategy. This aspect further excites me as a Strategist as it fuels my curiosity and compels me to remain a constant learner.

To ensure that the creative output is interesting, a Strategist has to be insatiably interested in the Consumer. And this requires establishing a perfect BALANCE – between the left & right brain, between hard skills & soft prowess and between objectivity & creativity. I love the fact that to arrive at a sound brand Strategy, I not only have to dig through excel sheets, but also intuitively understand the psyche of the consumer. While analytics suggest hard facts, the body language of consumers gives richer cues. And while the creative output may seem mesmerizing, if it doesn’t address the voice of the consumer, it certainly doesn’t work for the brand. The best ideas are those which make consumers ‘FEEL’ not just ‘THINK’ and striking a balance in this duplexity is challenging but deeply gratifying in the end.

As businesses aim to grab share of hearts and not just share of pockets’, providing a human perspective to Business Strategy is imperative. Hence, Consumer Centricity is and will always remain the heartbeat of any Strategy.

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