There are a number of analytical approaches that can be used to develop a process for churning out new plans for differentiation. We will review several of the more popular strategic planning approaches because they all provide insights into the differentiation process. A discussion of planning concepts can be at times boring; however, such discussion is also crucial for developing good plans.
The approaches to be discussed include value chain and supply chain analysis, Porter’s five-force model, the resource-based framework, the use of Strategy Maps, creating Blue Ocean markets using the Strategy Canvas, and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. As illustrated in Table 8.1, each of the approaches can be classified as having an internal organizational focus (looking inside) or an external environmental focus (looking outside). Several of the strategic analysis approaches are better for understanding the organization and others are better suited for understanding the competitive environment. This table illustrates that there is no “best” approach for conducting strategic analysis and that a combination of approaches is necessary for completing an examination of the inner workings of an organization as well as the organizational context. Each of the strategic analysis tools will be covered in this chapter.