At last count, Co:definery has taken somewhere north of 50 agencies through positioning and proposition development projects. Our ‘Narrative Framework’ is a refined, proven model for achieving a clear, robust conclusion at speed.
The process applies the following eight principles:
1. Solve the language barrier – From ‘positioning’, ‘purpose’ and ‘proposition’, to ‘mission’, ‘vision’ and ‘values’, the language around agency strategy and differentiation is vague and varied. All these words get tossed around like confetti. So step one is complete clarity on the outcome you want and its component parts.
2. Connect the dots – Once you’re aligned on the scope and how you’re defining it, knowing how to connect all these moving parts is mission critical. As the old joke goes, if you’re playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order, then you’ll confuse yourself, your team and your market.
3. Focus on the future – Get clear on where you’re headed and why. Growth is not a strategy. Neither is improving performance. Our process defines your destination – commercially and personally – including what success looks and feels like, as well as the mindsets and behaviours you’ll need to sustain it.
4. Proposition is strategy – Your proposition isn’t just packaging, it’s the most succinct distillation of your business strategy. David Ogilvy said ‘the essence of strategy is sacrifice’, so your agency can’t be all things to all people. A strong proposition describes the problem you solve and for whom – its power comes from what it excludes.
5. Know your audience – If you can’t define your audience, then you don’t have a strategy. This doesn’t mean trite segments like ‘clients’, ‘talent’ and ‘pitch consultants’. And it certainly doesn’t mean trivial non-insights like ‘decision makers with money’. From stand-out and profit, to leadership and process, having an ownable audience supercharges your agency’s focus.
6. Believe in something – Whether you call it your ‘why’, your ‘purpose’ or just a plain old ‘point of view’, having a perspective is often foundational – for culture, differentiation and attracting talent. But no-one wants to hear some hackneyed could-the-opposite-ever-be-true soundbite. Be prepared to polarise – it’s scary, but worth it.
7. Get functional to get creative – Progress on agency strategy often stalls by wordsmithing too soon. Rushing into writing is a painful way of discovering that your underlying direction lacks clarity. So we strip out the jargon and stress-test the thinking until it’s client-centric and bulletproof – creating a clear brief for creative expression to follow.
8. Narrative not tablets of stone – Amateur agency sellers get eaten alive by professional client-side buyers. One reason for this is rigid elevator pitches that rely on word-perfect delivery. Learning lines acts as a straitjacket – especially if you’re relying on nuanced emphasis of some random superlative. Baking in some freedom will empower your team – it’s a story, not a memory test.
What you can expect
Co:definery’s Narrative Development projects are highly collaborative sprints, run with CEOs, founders and your senior leadership teams:
Alignment – We start by speaking with everyone on a one-to-one basis. Even if you think you’re aligned, there will be gaps to uncover. On the flip side, where you think you’re misaligned, the chasms you see are rarely as wide as you fear. Either way, a common starting point is essential.
Challenge – Expect around 2-4x days of immersive workshops, with provocative exercises and plenty of challenging questions.
Client-centric – We speak to your clients at key points, gathering ideas and stimulus, as well as validating progress.
Certainty – Our fixed price process is structured and fast-paced, with explicit deliverables agreed before we start. It’s not for everyone, so we ensure you’re 100% clear before you commit, tailoring a range of options to your precise priorities.
Added value – Alongside your deliverables, the workshops themselves are a learning opportunity. Part of taking strategic decisions is unpacking risks and benefits, so expect to explore how best to accelerate implementation – for example in leadership, new-business and pricing.
Our model and external perspective transforms Narrative development from a slow stagger into a short sprint. Together we move fast, build energy and enjoy creating the future of your business.
You get the direction and clarity you need, with specific, pre-defined deliverables, ready to move into implementation with momentum and conviction.
To discuss your agency’s Narrative, get in touch.