Oxytocin Organisation

Differentiation mapping

Organisations either feel so overwhelmed by the potential number of projects that they do nothing because the prospect of making any kind of dent is out of reach or they instantly convert this list to a backlog. It’s so large that after the first tranche, momentum is lost and normal service of focusing on quick wins is restored.

Blunt tools such as MoSCoW (Must, Should, Could, Won’t) where the organisation uses a finger in the air approach, can result in prioritising opinion over areas to focus. It can feel counterintuitive to want to reduce this list by such volume; feeling like all the effort from activities such as heuristic reviews is lost and potentially delivering no value. But this is not the case, it’s about doing less – and better.

In one example, a client wanted to invest a significant amount of resource (budget and talent) in an on-site search engine. When we looked at the real opportunity across the customer journey they:

  • Could not match digital pure-play retailers such as Amazon on the number of products
  • Did not have a proposition about product volume to choose from
  • Did not have a customer need that search was the only function for customers finding products

Clearly, with an eCommerce site, search is an important method of navigating. But in a fiercely competitive space where there is a fight for technical resource, knowing which items to back becomes all the more important. Often it is the case of time being the constraint as development has to happen in sequence to enable logistical releases – you can’t deploy a sophisticated checkout sequence if the basket template doesn’t contain the functionality.

With this client, we looked at the principles set out in the brand strategy and walked through each of the opportunities. This debate was more powerful than a simple score carding exercise as it gave the opportunity for multiple parts of the organisation to make their claim for why something should be done. It challenged the strategy and made it tighter, to the point where the strategy was being tested for action rather than being an academic tool. 

Next you need to create a differentiation map. There are two parts to creating this:

  • Review of competitive analysis
  • Application of organising idea 

Using your heuristic review and best practice insights

Start by scoring each direct competitor against the same tier 2 dimensions used for the heuristic review. At the end of this process, there will be a complete table for the entire customer journey. Average these scores per dimension to provide an aggregated view. Next plot both these scores (as a bar) and your own scores (as a line) into a graph.

There are three views that are useful to understand and communicate from this analysis:

  • Tier 1 – your brand vs the competition: knowing the health at a journey stage higher level eg Decide 
  • Tier 2 – specific customer journey dimensions that apply to the brand organising idea and how many there are. eg if the organising was centred around dialogue then an area such as reviews would be aligned as there is an opportunity to reply to each post
  • Areas where the organising idea has a direct ownership

From using knowledge across the organisation, an immediate filter can be applied to a tier level, eg In-use due to the number of inbound calls and a desire to improve self-service to both increase customer satisfaction and reduce costs. From a potentially enormous list of improvements, it can be quite liberating for the organisation to give permission as a team to only focus on one area. Many people hide behind the complexity of task size, using the volume as an excuse for not starting on actions. 

Differentiation mapping

Differentiation mapping

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