Updated: Sep 25
Brands and companies throw around words such as strategy and tactics. They are used interchangeably as well. Research suggests that only 33.2% of organizations teach their managers how to recognize the difference between strategy and tactics. Is that important? Well, if you want a company to exist, yeah.
Understanding what they mean, the difference, and why they can take a brand to another level is essential. Both words originating from military terminology have been incorporated into other spheres of life. Suppose you have a strategy to win a race. Tactics are the steps you take to complete the strategy. If we consider a scenario of a war friend, a nation might strategize to influence the opinions of the opponent’s population.
They may use tactics such as audio or video broadcasts or display acts to show they are not the bad guys. Individuals or brands can think of a strategy to set them apart from competitors. Your tactics will allow you to make choices such as finalizing your TG, choosing the correct channels, seeking a consultant, etc. Strategies are crucial to make a plan, and tactics mean order, which is when to do what.
Chinese general Sun Tzu describes the difference: “All the men can see the tactics I used to conquer, but none can see the strategy out of which great victory is evolved.”
One might think that strategy is long-term and tactics are short-term. WRONG! While the two terms may adapt these characteristics at specific points, this is an inaccurate and incomplete definition. Your company’s strategy to achieve something in two months might be shorter than the tactics you’ll use for two years to gain a competitive advantage.
Components of Strategy
According to theorist Henry Mintzberg, a strategy has five critical components.
While strategizing, the individual thinks of a plan before executing the action. It is a chosen set of steps taken to achieve a specific goal. A ploy follows this. A ploy is when a player or an individual thinks of ways to trick and confuse their opponent.
A pattern is often observed in a strategy. It is a series of consistent sets of actions that achieve the planned result. A position is taken as the player builds a relationship between the organization with its context. Finally, it’s perspective. A strategy is used within a particular domain. It has a single, well-defined goal. It lays out a path to be followed to achieve said goal. A strategy is made up of tactics. Each part of the strategy pushes towards the desirable goal. It recognizes the edge of influence.
Then what are tactics?
A strategy might be to engage industry thought leaders to become advocates for our products. At the same time, the tactics might be to use direct marketing letters or face-to-face meetings to aid your strategy. Even the most well-thought-out plan is useless if no proper measures are set to achieve the goal. While the result remains constant, the steps we take to get to the endpoint must be flexible enough to adjust to the given situation. The tactic is derived from the Greek word “taktikos,” which loosely translates to “the art of arranging or ordering.” Tactics have been used throughout human history. They have been applied to our current work or personal life situations. War tactics such as ambushes and divide and conquer have existed for as long as humanity can remember. These are used by politicians and protesters when it comes to getting what they want. Simply deciding what to do is not a good tactic. It uses specific signals that are set to trigger when to use the tactic.
In conclusion, strategy and tactics are different but complementary. Strategy is set even before the action is executed. It ensures the victory of the warrior before the battle even begins. The tactics, however, are what the warrior has to do to ensure it. Tactics are whether the warrior should poison the camp or strike the opponent’s weakest points, etc. Both offer new ways of thinking.
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