Beware of Best Practices

In my consulting helping companies assess and improve their chances of success in the Hispanic market, I’m inevitably asked somewhere along the way to find and share examples of best practices – to share about those companies that “are doing it right.”

I have three things to say about best practices and the role they should and should not play in developing a successful Hispanic market strategy:

1) I caution companies from subscribing to another company’s best practices because I don’t believe that any company’s best practices, however derived and implemented, can ever be adopted in part or in whole to help create success in another company. No company is the mirror image of another. Even within the same industry, there are different corporate cultures, companies are in very different market positions, and different business priorities and strategies simply make it impossible for another company’s best practices to be either effective or efficient elsewhere. 

2) Best practices are always in the eye of the beholder. You’ve heard the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side?” While on surface it may seem as though a company’s best practices are generating success for them, in reality, they may be facing just as many challenges. Consider that when companies’ successes, case studies or conference presentations are made public, they typically highlight the positives and are generally absent of the missteps, the trial and error, the shortfalls and even the resistance or lack of support faced internally.

3) In my experience, stakeholders of strategy are seldom as engaged or as committed to adopting, implementing and ensuring the longevity of a best practice they’ve had a minimal role in creating and frankly, which hasn’t been vetted against the reality of their functional or businesses responsibility. Stakeholders will always feel greater ownership of solutions which have been generated internally especially when they’ve played a role in their development.

So rather than rely on external best practices, my best clients apply the same methods in research, planning and strategy development for the Hispanic market as part of the process employed for the company as whole. They take into account four key considerations which I would recommend you follow:

  1. They always start with the company’s direction and strategic growth priorities as the foundation
  2. They acknowledge that they don’t know what they don’t know about the Hispanic market and they are eager to grow their competence
  3. They identify and take the time to understand their most productive Hispanic consumer target in relation to their core.
  4. They develop strategy that takes into account all target consumers including Hispanics and they align their implementation accordingly

In short, they create their own strategic best practices – practices that have been customized to their specific situation and goals. I encourage you to take on this approach because there really are no shortcuts to a well designed strategy.