Ah, the SWOT Analysis: the strategic quadrant used by PR andmarketing professionals to assess companies, products and ideas based on their strengths, weaknesses, market opportunities and potential threats.
Though the technique has been an industry standard for more than 50 years, if I may be so bold, I’d like to recommend a slight tweak to its process and presentation: Move Opport
unities to the end.
To develop a quality SWOT analysis that drives PR and marketing strategy, I’d argue that Opportunities are dependent upon the Strengths, Weaknesses and Threats. It is by analyzing these areas that y
ou can answer the questions necessary to finding your market opportunity, such as:
- What strengths can we tout that competitors can’t touch?
- How can we make potential threats work to our advantage?
- What isn’t the competition doing?
- Where can we differentiate?
- How can we disrupt the market?
Think about it. Opportunities are what shine when presenting a SWOT and its resulting strategy and activities to your client or executive team. It’s the section of the analysis that shows you did your research, you know the market, and you have a clear understanding of how to make this company/product/idea make a mark. It’s the part that gets people excited about all that lies ahead.
Reordering the delivery also turns your SWOT into a “compliment sandwich,” which may help to soften the blow of Weaknesses and Threats. Remember, the company/product/idea you’ve analyzed is likely something that the team you’re presenting to is highly passionate about, and has worked hard to develop.
In short, both in planning and presentation, it just makes sense to turn your SWOT into a SWTO. It may not roll off the tongue as easily, but I bet it will improve your strategy and help get everyone more excited about its resulting recommendations.
How do you approach a SWOT analysis, or other strategic planning initiatives?