Strategy Is Not One Size Fits All

Business success follows repeatable patterns.  Success is far more likely with a strategy that adheres to what has consistently worked well for many businesses in the past. However, this does not mean that business success is one size fits all. There are many variations on the patterns that can bring success. Thus, it’s important is to have a strategy that is a good fit for the business, yet is consistent with success patterns.

Yet, what fits well for one business, may fit poorly for another. That’s why every business needs to pursue a strategy that is right for its unique characteristics. Though businesses don’t succeed when they blatantly diverge from the patterns of success, there are a variety of different approaches that can work very well.

We are reminded of this by a recent article in the Fall 2022 Wall Street Journal Magazine, which came out during September 2022. The article is titled “Riding Hermes to Record Revenue“ and is written by Alexandra Marshall. According to the article, Hermes did things very differently than many other players in the luxury goods market.

For example, the article says, “Even now that Hermes has become a multibillion dollar company, there is no corporate team dedicated to crunching data before store locations are chosen. ‘Mostly it is done by intuition.’” As I see it, Hermes’ intuitive approach may be viewed by some as completely inappropriate in today’s apparently data driven world. However, Hermes’ unconventional approach can be consistent with success patterns.

As I have written before, understanding what the data means is crucial. But, this doesn’t necessarily require state-of-the-art data crunching techniques.   In fact, sophisticated AI (artificial intelligence) data science techniques can and do produce troubling results if not supported by human intervention. That’s because understanding what the data means is crucial. This kind of understanding is far more important than whether the format of the data reflects traditional number crunching techniques or if it reflects knowledge amassed via human experience. The latter can be applied successfully, even in today’s more data driven world. However, if the human experience approach is to successfully drive business decisions, it should be based on a true accumulation of knowledge, not merely on the whims of someone’s personal preferences.

Furthermore, according to the Wall Street Journal Magazine article, Hermes also tends to differ from other luxury brands in terms of how it adopts change. The article explains that “while there is an in-house tradition of artistic independence, there is also a willingness to stick with what works.”

Based on my research into success patterns, a tendency to stick with what works is generally a characteristic associated with business success.  Of course, this doesn’t mean getting stuck in the past and never changing. But, it does mean emphasizing what works rather than chasing seemingly attractive novelties that often prove to be expensive distractions.  Overdoing novelty can easily become a temptation in industries like fashion, where some creative flair is required for success.

In summary, Hermes has been successful doing things differently than other luxury brands. But, Hermes has done things that follow historical business success patterns. And, following success patterns works, even when doing what differs from what many industry players do.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *