Never underestimate the power of a solid strategy. Not just in design, but in just about every area.
But let’s take it a step further by saying that strategy should be prominently on the front line of any project.
How prominently? Design Thinking, a five-stage model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, outlines a carefully curated design process that places strategy in the first three out of the five stages. This emphasis on strategy helps designers get to the root of client issues and objectives.
Not devoting enough time to strategy is a common issue in design. Naturally, this can cause friction in client relationships due to misaligned visions and goals. But never fear! It can easily be remedied by devoting more time to strategizing. Let’s explore what that can do for you.
What is Strategy?
Strategies can be both bad or good, as it’s a well-defined course of action toward a desired outcome. What makes a strategy good is measured by how well it achieves critical milestones toward the end goal.
Strategy comes in a lot of different forms, particularly in different settings. Strategy phases will vary by industry, team, and project. But one thing that remains the same in strategy is what it aims to accomplish: clear steps and processes to reach desired outcomes. In fact, by the textbook definition of strategy is “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”
Below we've created a cartoon to illustrate the importance of implementing a strategy phase to your design projects.
1. A strategy gets you and your clients on the same page
Any project that comes to your door is led by a vision that has already been established by your client and their team. What we bring to the table is expertise, guidance, and the critical skills needed to carry it out. Essentially, we act as a vehicle toward someone else’s vision.
That’s why devoting enough time to strategy is important. It helps consultant and client get started on the right foot, by offering an opportunity for you and your client to align yourselves on the desired outcome, before you get in the ring so to speak.
2. An effective strategy clarifies your vision
As a creative, the wheels get turning on new creative projects almost immediately. It can be easy to get starry-eyed at the ideas popping up in your head, but every idea needs to come into focus before execution.
Taking the time to strategize and clarify your own vision helps avoid wasting resources, changing directions, pushed deadlines, scope creep, blown budgets or other unpredicted obstacles.
3. A strategy is an investment is a positive outcome
The time you devote to strategy is an investment in the best-case scenario. It might lengthen the project timeline, but that time investment has an ROI.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the 6 Ps? Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Sure it’s a little rugged, but it drives the message that a sound strategy can increase the chances of a successful outcome.
4. A sound strategy prevents hiccups
Every project is subject to hiccups. Taking the time to anticipate those hiccups and outline potential solutions is critical in strategy, as a sound strategy can both predict and decrease the risk of time-consuming obstacles such as delayed correspondence, pushed deadlines, and inconveniences.
Plus, taking the time to outline risks can help you prevent potential hindrances. A strategy allows proper notification for all parties involved and paints a bigger picture that aligns teams – a sure-fire way to avoid those hiccups.
Taking the time to create a sound strategy means:
- You and your clients will be on the same page
- Your vision will be clearer
- You’re investing in a positive outcome
- You’re preventing time-consuming hiccups
So, what makes a good strategy? A sound strategy, ready to be carried out in execution, has these key components:
- Clear steps on how to meet critical objectives.
- A clearly defined vision that everyone is on-board with.
- Milestones that measure progress.
- Adaptability –– can easily be tweaked if necessary.
By now you know that a strategy can do a world of wonders getting projects off on the right foot. Your next step is to partner with agencies that value the importance of good strategies, so they can effectively and smoothly carry out your vision. PUNCHY is that agency. At PUNCHY, we value the importance of a good strategy and the power it has in successfully executing critical projects. We can help you clarify your vision, guide you toward the best-case scenario, and create an action plan that outlines how to achieve your ideal outcomes! Contact us and get your project started on the right foot.