Action options – foundation of the strategy definition

Definition of action options (HO)

Action options

  • describe the different options a company has in a specific situation to achieve a specific goal.
  • The options are influenced by the goal to be achieved as well as by the situation of the company and the competitive situation.

The options for action therefore demonstrate to us which means and procedures can be used to achieve a certain benefit for a company (as an example of the goal) in a certain competitive situation – if this goal is achievable. We recognize whether we can achieve certain goals at all, which measures and contents are required for this in the respective competitive situation.

Importance of action options in strategy development

Action options demonstrate to us what possibilities we have. If we don’t know what options we have to achieve certain goals, we can’t create a strategy that meets our options. Without knowing the action options, any strategy is flawed at best. The meaningfulness of our options is no less important than their completeness.

Explanation: A strategy is a decision for a certain course of action and against other alternatives. Action options are the bases of this decision. So we decide to take certain courses of action and not others when we define a strategy.

Action options in the pbsm

Position in strategy development

In strategy development according to the potential-based strategy model, the action options follow according to the performance potential of social media for the company and the benefits that can be derived from it for the company. The action options are followed by the definition of the social media strategy drafts that result from the action options.

Significance for strategy development

This results in their importance for the actual strategy definition and the demand on the quality with which they are determined. The quality requirement concerns not only the quality of the individual option but also the completeness of the possible options. In other words: in order to develop a strategy, all relevant options, alternatives and versions should be on the table. If this is the case, we have the best possible overview of the situation (situation awareness).

If we do not have a general view of the situation for which we are developing a strategy, the risk is high that this strategy does not correspond to reality and fails.

Components of the action options in the pbsm

In the potential-based strategy model, we use action options at the level of topics and business benefits. We record for the topics their priority for the success of the business model and the social media affinity of the topics. In addition, the sources of the topics should be recorded so that we can identify which parts of the business model are supported by the respective topic in the further steps of strategy development. We then record the user benefits that are relevant for this topic, as well as motivation and participation offers and structures.

We determine which competitive situation exists within the respective topics and which measures are suitable for successfully surviving this competitive situation. In evaluating the competitive situation, we take into account the elements of user benefit, motivation and participation. In addition, the derivation of measures yields helpful conclusions about the need for resources.

Practical benefit of the contents of the action options in the pbsm.

Below are some notes on the practical benefits we can derive from the contents of the HO.

Topicpractical benefit
TopicTopics in social media are the content that we address and in which we have to be successful as a source in competition or in which we establish structures that have to be successful in competition.
At the same time, topics define the potential that we want to address in the market and the measures and structures of our business model with which we work the markets.
With the pbsm, we create a direct connection between the business model and social media via the topics. To put it figuratively, topics make it possible to address the fields from the business model directly in social media.
company benefitThe company benefit is the benefit we can bring to the company through social media.
We define the corporate benefit at the topic level, i.e. we record for each topic which corporate benefit or benefits can be achieved through social media.
priority of topicThe priority of the topic expresses the importance of the topic for the success of the business model. By prioritizing a topic, we can focus our means/resources on the topics that are most important for the company’s success (success of the business model).
Social media affinity of topicThe social media affinity (SMA) of a topic expresses the extent to which social media as a level is suitable for achieving an effect on this topic. So with the SMA we can assess how far it makes sense to invest resources in a certain topic in social media or whether we would not be better off investing these resources in social media in topics with which more impact can be achieved.
Source from the business modelWith the sources in the business model, we record which modules of the business model are supported by the respective topic. We thus recognize u. which topics have which significance for the business model as a whole. Topics that have a broader meaning for the business model also enable broader support for the success of the business model (assuming SMA).
User benefitWe define the relevant and competitive user benefits for this topic.
MotivationWe define the relevant and competitive motivation methods and structures for this topic.
PartizipationWe define the relevant and competitive participation offers and structures for this topic.
CompetitionWe map the competitive situation via the usage formats and the service quality of the competitors. i.e. We know which competitor we are in competition with on which topic (for what benefit), what kind of competition (usage format) we have to survive and what demands on our competitiveness arise from the competitive situation.
MeasuresWe define the measures (preferably structural, qualitative and quantitative) that we believe are necessary to assert ourselves in the respective competitive situation. So what we have to do to become the leading source / address in social media in the respective topic and to remain so in the long term. It is important that we structure these measures according to the structures of usage formats, user benefits, motivation and participation and define them as concretely as possible (qualitatively and quantitatively) in order to be able to derive resource requirements, competitiveness and feasibility of a draft strategy.
recognizable need for resourcesBased on the defined measures of an option for action, we can derive conclusions about their resource requirements – especially with regard to the construction and operation of structures.
Assumptions / PrerequisitesHere we record recognizable success-relevant assumptions and prerequisites from and for the measures. This results in, among other things, the summarized assumptions and prerequisites of a draft strategy and identify possible risks of this draft.

practical usage

When we look at HO content requirements and input from the business model in terms of topics and potential business benefits, we should not be overwhelmed by the volume of what we gain in information.

What is overwhelming is rather the general view and the competence for the strategic situation of a company that we gain from this information.

The usage of HO is not a question of brilliant strategic competence but a question of careful gathering of information that is available in the market, business model and social media. So it is not so much a question of brilliant brainstorms but of collecting and classifying puzzle pieces. The only really challenging part is the interpretation of the insights gained.

The big picture

Understand the action options also as a kind of map.

  • Know your company’s resources and capabilities.
  • By working with the action options at the latest, you know the specific benefits of social media for the company and its modules and functional areas and
  • You know the individual positions that need to be gained and secured in order to secure the potential benefits from social media for the company.
  • You know the competitive situation as a whole and in detail and know what resistance / competition you will encounter in the respective individual positions.

Your new strategic competence: With a little practice, you can read and explain the strategic situation of the company in social media about the topics, the possible benefits and the competition like a map via the action options of the pbsm. This is a competence that is still very rare within social media management and represents a competition in itself within the individual industries.

Customer Journey and pbsm

With the HO of pbsm we can add a new dimension to the Customer Journey method in Social Media. The big picture applied to the customer journey elevates your strategy competence to a higher level. You develop the big picture of your Customer Journey in social media and can derive from it positions (topics) that are particularly important for the company, or that the company can secure relatively easily, and at the same time determine what actions are required to win the positions that are essential for the company and its Customer Journey.

Imagine the attention you secure with this capability and compare strategies that emerge this way with the more or less plain collection of measures that are dubbed strategy in many industries.

Building the pbsm.strategy competence

“Before success, the gods have put sweat.” (Hesiod)

The competence for this strategy model cannot be acquired completely without effort. This is of course a hurdle, but at the same time a competitive advantage if you manage to be among the first in your industry to be able to use the pbsm in practice. You can learn the pbsm exclusively via the online course on this website. You can schedule the individual contents according to your time possibilities and if you have any questions, you can contact me via the forum of the course.

Practical exercises: In order for you to practice the usage of the method intensively, there are about 250 exercises in the above mentioned modules of the course. If you wish, you can optionally have the results of your exercises evaluated. As far as possible, the exercises are always focused on a specific usage of the method. This means that you can learn and practice the method using your company and its business model as an example, making it easier to apply later on.

The Social Media Action Options course module has 45 relatively whole practical exercises and a reading time of approximately 260 minutes for the learning material.

Timing and competitive advantage: the pbsm can become a competitive advantage for companies and social media managers, provided they take advantage of it in time. First movers and early adaptors will use it to gain competitive advantage. Late majority and laggards (the majority) will tend to be disadvantaged by the method because they will find it very difficult to catch up with competitors.

Strategy-relevant problems

Due to the logic of strategy and strategy development, there should actually be no strategies without action options. If we develop a strategy without knowing the company’s action options, this strategy is out of touch with reality and is not a strategy in the true sense of the word. With this approach, we could rather speak of an arbitrary definition of actions than of a well thought-out strategy.

Below you will find a number of problems relevant to strategy and the solutions recommended for them.

Strategies completely without Action OptionsMany current social media strategies are more arbitrary collections of measures than well-founded strategies. Social media strategies that were created without the basis of the options for action count in these categories.
In most situations, it certainly makes more sense to go through the entire social media strategy again with the pbsm and then probably to replace the old strategy with a more well-founded one. You should be able to demonstrate both the necessary competence and a verifiable necessity in the company for this step.
Strategies without user benefit in the Action OptionsThe user benefit of a social media strategy is the engine of strategy success, the reason why social media users decide in social media for content and structures of a specific provider. This not only makes clear the importance of user benefit for competitiveness, but also the need to take user benefit into account in the options for action.
If we have used options for action that do not take user benefits into account, we should go through the strategy again with a corrected version of the options for action and make appropriate adjustments.
The same applies to strategies with Action Options without considering motivation and participation.
Strategies without a competitive situation in the Action OptionsDeveloping strategies without taking the competitive situation into account means ignoring a significant part of reality. Social media represents a particularly competitive environment. Therefore, the negative consequences / risks from such behavior are particularly pronounced in social media.
Use the opportunity and the strategy competence newly gained with the pbsm to give an outdated / critical strategy a complete update and develop an alternative strategy with options for action that take the competitive situation into account and present this counter-proposal for a decision.
Strategies without prioritizing the topicsStrategy is the economy of power, they say (version of a Clausewitz quote). No company has infinite resources and the effective and economical use of resources is the goal of a strategy. If we have not prioritized the fields / positions / topics of our strategy, we act more according to the watering can principle on suspicion than according to a clear strategy.
Redesign the social media strategy considering the priority of the topics and bring this alternative up for discussion.

Problem Strategy Criticism

It may sound risky to criticize an existing strategy, but it is far more dangerous not to do so.

Strategies are not meant to last forever. No strategy remains unchanged from contact with reality and no strategy is spared from progress. Use this knowledge for the benefit of the company and for the benefit of your own strategy competence. The earlier strategies are further developed or adapted to changed conditions, the better for the company.

The pbsm is relatively new as a method and offers a clear advantage for Innovators, Early Adopters and Early Majority. Those who use the method when it has become a standard can use it to prevent further competition advantage, but hardly more.

For your questions

Strategies and strategy development are an extensive and complex field. This is especially true for social media.

In this blog post, I have addressed a few points from the area of action options, without covering the whole topic with it.

So if you have any further questions about this, I’m happy to answer them and will try to do so as best as I can. You can reach me via the contact form on this website, by eMail or via LinkedIn.

Individual posts about social media strategy

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