Going deep on strategy with the Hungry podcast

An exciting change of pace this week, where I’ll give you a break from the essays and point you instead to my recent appearance on the great podcast, Hungry. Hungry is a podcast for challenger food and drink brands which has featured the founders of many breakthrough brands, top thinkers such as Rory Sutherland, and […]

The Way is now The Hidden Path, and here’s why

First things first: Yes, it’s still me, Alex from Basic Arts And yes, this is still The Way, the strategy newsletter you subscribe to   …but a few things have changed. Not only is the The Way now called The Hidden Path, but this is part of a wider set of changes I’ve made to […]

Strategy is a mess – here’s how you tidy it up

One of the main reasons strategy is needlessly confusing, is because the word itself is used to describe multiple different “things”. Although when we use the term here we are typically talking about “business strategy” (the responsibility of founders and CEOs), it is often used to mean other forms of strategy which are deceptively similar, but differ […]

The coming of the desperate brands

A note before we begin: the below describes a trend which I’m sure is true, but which would benefit from more research than I’ve had time to do.  It references certain brands only from an outside consumer perspective – and thus does so perhaps a bit unfairly. But still I’m not a journalist or academic, […]

Product is nothing: How to see things the way your customers do

People – especially founders – are fond of saying “product is everything”.  Have a great product, and you’ll succeed.  Have a poor product, and you’ll fail.  That’s the general idea. It’s a nice sentiment, and true enough in a number of ways, but in a bigger way… it’s bullshit.  Not just bullshit, but dangerous bullshit, since it […]

If you want to do great marketing, never use this word

As long time readers will know, my views on business begin and end with one simple belief: Business is the practice of delivering value to people. That’s it.  Each and every company is nothing more than a system designed to give value, and thus receive it in return.  Sure, you can create a business that […]

Taste: The secret ingredient

A client and I were recently analysing the surprising success of the canned water brand Liquid Death, now valued at over $700 million.  In case you’re not familiar with it, Liquid Death is notable because the entire brand is essentially one big joke – it’s water (obviously a pure and healthy substance), presented in a “dangerous” […]

The fatal flaw of trend-based brands

If you’re a founder, you probably got into the game partly through a desire for freedom.  Being your own boss and all that good stuff. Central to this desire is a yearning for control.  To be in control not only of your time, but of your destiny.  To incubate yourself from the arbitrary whims of […]

Stop confusing strategy and brand strategy

When I tell people I help companies with their “strategy” the response I invariably get is “what kind of strategy?”.  This is because people are familiar with isolated subsets of strategy (social media strategy, sales strategy, recruitment strategy, etc.), but they aren’t familiar with “company strategy” as a whole. This “holistic” strategy, which sits at the top […]

The schizophrenia machine: How brands remake our identities

Below is number 5 in my cultural context series, following the previous ones on the post-cultural myth, horizontal loyalty, supernormal stimuli, and concentration. I hope you find it useful, or at least interesting. ___ Philosophy is one of those things that lots of people like in theory, but few like in practice.  The reason for this, it seems to me, is pretty simple: […]