As a classically trained marketer, I value the discipline of conducting a formal S.W.O.T. analysis during the strategic planning process. However, recently I am beginning to realize, due to our turbulent world, even when companies conduct their homework, they need to learn to deal with unexpected curveballs.
For those readers not familiar with the marketing acronym S.W.O.T., it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a marketing analysis most companies conduct on a regular basis during their annual strategic planning process or whenever they are embarking on a new business venture.
Last month I read a friend’s blog post about Rémy Cointreau. Despite all their thorough planning identifying the business potential of the Chinese spirits market which also included reformulating Rémy Martin cognac making it sweeter to accommodate Chinese taste preferences, they were thrown a major league curveball. Chinese President Xi Jimping decided to crackdown on pervasive corruption. His anti-corruption movement opposed extravagant perks like gifts and parties. Rémy Martin cognac was the branded alcoholic beverage of choice among government officials and wealthy businessmen. Consequently their sales and profits pummeled. So did Rémy Cointreau’s S.W.O.T analysis.