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Changing Strategy: A Story from our Managing Director

Jeremy Clark

December 19, 2018

While on holiday this year my kids provided a perfect illustration of how sometimes tactics get confused with strategy and the power of a true change in strategy.

After a day of sightseeing we returned to the hotel pool to cool off.  My daughter and son started to mess around in a game that involved my daughter holding on to the steps descending into the pool and my son pulling her legs to try to get her to let go.  A harmless bit of fun.  First he grabbed one leg with both hands and pulled.  Nothing.  Then he grabbed one leg with each hand and tried again.  No problem for my daughter.

Then my son said “time for a change of strategy” and turned around to face the other way and grabbed her leg up around the knee and pulled.  Now that’s a perfectly ok phrase for a 14 year old to use but it made me realise that we hear things like this quite a lot in our work.  Because, of course, turning round and taking a different grip wasn’t a change of strategy at all, just a different tactic.  The strategy is still about force and power and strength – just implemented differently.

After a few more attempts using brute force my son let go of legs and feet and paused briefly with a thoughtful look on his face.  Then, with the beginning of a cheeky grin, he swam up to my daughter and licked the side of her face.  A long slow, slurpy lick. She screamed in outrage and immediately let go.  Brilliant.  A true change of strategy.  From strength to disgust and revulsion.  And it turns out that this is a really effective strategy in this situation.

In our work we constantly challenge ourselves to find new and different strategies that will set brands, companies and their communications apart.  If you would like to see how our Delivering Change process can help you to identify truly different strategies for your communications in 2019, please contact CHC on hello@clarkhealthcomms.com.