According to a recent article in The Economist, “strategy is basically about two things: deciding where you want your company to go, and then how you want to take it there.” With this in mind, think about the average fast food franchise. Drive down Main Street in most cities and one sees a barrage of choices. Although the basic food may differ, these companies share a similar vision of “where you want to go”. They are all operating on a basic goal of cornering market share and increasing profits for the company and ultimately the shareholders.
However, the “how you want to take it there” probably differs from one fast food place to the next. Each has its own strategy of how to achieve its vision, how to get “where you want to go.” Sometimes one franchise is so successful, that the “how” is imitated by others. The McDonald’s Happy Meal® is a good example of this. Doesn’t almost every fast food outlet now have some version of the Happy Meal®? In fact, the term Happy Meal® has become like Kleenex® or Q-tips®, a generic term used to define all similar products.
Initially, the Happy Meal® was an innovative product that strategically and uniquely positioned McDonald’s in the fast food line-up and successfully captured the children’s market segment. McDonald’s capitalized on a target market that had no money by understanding who the real decision makers were in many families – the persistent or screaming kids on a Saturday afternoon.
The Happy Meal® has matured in the market cycle and is a staple with all the regular menu offerings, but an important option representing a significant product share compared to other menu items. McDonald’s story is an example of strategy in action. Not only can we see how it has defined “where you want to go” and “how you want to take it there,” but it is an example of four critical organizational strategy pillars which are: Purpose, Passion, Placement, and People.
Four questions to consider for your chamber or association:
- Purpose (A Strategic Foundation) Does your chamber or association have a strategic purpose that is relevant and dynamic? Why do you believe it’s relevant and dynamic?
- Passion (Evolving Products & Experiences) Does your association or chamber have a unique service or experience found only by associating with your organization? What is that service or experience?
- Placement (Action Planning & Positioning) Who are your key internal and external stakeholders or evangelists? Have you considered their credibility to be a catalyst or barrier with other chamber or association constituents?
- People (Strategic Resources) How has your chamber or association invested (financially and time) in your organization’s volunteer leadership? What has your organization done to intentionally invest (financially and time) in your professional staff’s development?