Strategy operates at different levels. Most marketers understand strategy to mean only marketing strategy. Since strategy is such a crucial subject for everyone in an organisation, I thought I would clear the air for those who may be a bit confused.
Strategy operates at three levels:
- Corporate. This is relevant especially for companies involved in different businesses. For example, Unilever has various businesses – soaps & detergents, toothpastes, shampoos, tea, ice creams, food etc.
- Business. A business can be a collection of brands in a category (skincare) or just one brand in one category. Different companies organise their businesses differently.
- Functional or operational. Every business function has its own strategies. For example, marketing strategy, production strategy, financial strategy etc.
Business Dictionary defines corporate strategy as the overall scope and direction of a corporation and the way in which its various business operations work together to achieve particular goals.
A business strategy is really aimed at answering a critical question – how to we compete? Most of the work on strategy (for example, Porter’s Generic Strategies) is involved in answering this billion dollar question! If a corporation has multiple businesses, it will have a strategy for each one of them.
Functional strategy is a selection of decision rules in each functional area (e.g., marketing strategy, financial strategy, etc.) to meet the objectives of a particular business.
Some of you would have found all of this pretty basic. But, and I say this from experience, it is not something that everyone understands.
Business strategy options courtesy: Andrea Ovans
Visual courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cjsmithphotography/