STORY | STRATEGY was created to help organizations and leaders understand these trends, and to adapt quickly without being in a constant state of shock. Understanding this new digital generation is the first step, and being able to accurately describe and profile your various stakeholders is the second step. All of this comes from research: on our society as a whole (local, national, and global), on stakeholders in general, and on specific stakeholders that are key elements of your strategy.
Social Context & Stakeholders
To understand how to make your story work, you need to understand who's going to be listening to it, how, and where. This means that you need to first engage the social context in which your story will be placed.
Tool 1: STEEPLE Analysis
An advanced tool with many variations, the STEEPLE analysis combines several factors to give you an understanding of context before designing or launching your story. These elements are the Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political, Legal, and Ethical issues with which your story will contend at any given time and place.
Tool 2: Stakeholder Profiles
Once you know enough about your STEEPLE context, you can move to the specific stakeholders you want to target. This could be general, like "what trends are going on now in consumer interest in home energy" to specific "how invested are my customers in fair trade and organic produce?" In one famous example, Starbucks launched a series of progressive initiatives not because its customers wanted them, but because employees wanted them, and employees were the primary points of interaction for the brand and its story. In other words, profiling your stakeholders and knowing who they are is important because established wisdom (e.g., target the customer) isn't enough to make a strategy effective. It's shooting in the dark.
Competition & Internal Viability
There are two primary tools we use for measuring competitive advantage and internal/external viability. These are the use of Porter's 6 Forces model and the traditional SWOT analysis.
Tool 1: Porter's 6 Forces
One of Michael Porter's major contributions to the field, the "6 Forces Model" is an excellent guide to strategic analysis for your organization. It allows you to consider everything that is going on outside of your organization from a variety of perspectives, before you fall into the trap of focusing too closely on what your organization itself does.
Tool 2: SWOT Analysis
A widely misunderstood and misused tool, the SWOT analysis is intended to be a gauge to explain the basic environment in which your organization operates. The OT (Opportunities and Threats) deal with external variables, and the SW (Strengths and Weaknesses) deal with internal variables. This allows you to most efficiently place your efforts with an understanding of the three primary elements of any organization: what you do, what your competition does, and (must crucially) what your stakeholders want.