What your advertising tells you about your strategy

Generally I’m very careful not to talk about advertising.  It’s dangerous – for me especially. On a business level, I have to make sure that people don’t confuse my product with pure “ad strategy” or “branding strategy”.  Many broader strategy discussions devolve to this, for the simple reason that this is where most conscious “strategy […]

Here’s a brainless shortcut that actually works

In a way the core principle of strategy is that there are no shortcuts. There are no obvious, off-the-peg, brainless things you can just “do” to get competitive advantage.  Everything requires some degree of thought, insight, and risk. But you know, that may not be strictly true. Because I do believe there is one pretty […]

Flood your ears with this strategy podcast bonanza.

A special treat this week, with not just one but TWO new podcast strategy-fests for your listening pleasure. Take your pick of which you fancy. Or if you think your synapses can handle it… Who knows… Perhaps even listen to both. Want a brand-focused strat chat? Then listen to this one… First up we have […]

The shocking truth about marketing and strategy

This is a dangerous essay. It’s dangerous for you, because if you only grasp it casually it will take you further away from the truth, rather than closer to it.  And it’s dangerous for me, because it risks my work being bracketed into a category which I’ve painstakingly avoided for the past 7 years. The […]

The big misunderstanding about “brand”

Whatever most people believe about a subject, you can be sure that the exact opposite is true. It’s crazy how often this principle turns out to be accurate.  I’d almost call it a law of nature.  Or “Smith’s Law” perhaps.  On any subject of understanding (as opposed to hard fact), people have an incredible ability […]

How a team of accountants created the greatest brand of all time

Like anyone, when I read a non-fiction book I’m looking for lessons.  Stuff I can use, and of course stuff I can bring to you in this newsletter. Naturally I want such lessons to be surprising and counter-intuitive, but even so I wasn’t quite prepared for this one: Wanna create a legendary brand?  Then leave […]

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, […]