What are the 5 Ps of Strategy?

The 5 Ps of Strategy is a Tool that helps Defining Efficient Strategies by focusing on only 5 Factors.

  • It was created by Henry Mintzberg.

 

The 5 Factors Proposed are:

  • Plot.
  • Ploy.
  • Patterns.
  • Position.
  • Perspectives.

Mintzberg's 5 Ps of Strategy with Examples

1. Plan: The Company must define and Plan its Goals and Milestones.

  • What it wants to Achieve.

 

2. Ploy: The Strategy has to analyze What Tactics can be Implemented.

  • What can be done, realistically speaking.

 

3. Patterns: Study what Worked in the Past and What can be Replicated.

  • Apply what has proven to be Successful in other Situations.

 

4. Position: Where the Company wants to Position itself in the Market.

  • What Segment, Niche, Geographic Market, Relevance, etc.

 

5. Perspectives: Analyze different Approaches and How they Fit the Company.

  • If the Alternatives fit its Mission, Vision and Business Values.

 

5 Ps of Strategy.

 

Let’s see these 5 Ps in detail with one unusual example.

 

We’ll imagine that you have a very important and difficult Mission:

  • You have to Build a Cathedral.

 

* Cathedrals have to last for Centuries, and are build over decades (sometimes even centuries).

Plan - First P of Strategy

When Companies define their Strategy, they:

  • Define their End Goals and What they intend to Achieve.
  • Establish their Vision and Mission.
  • Design and Organize the Tasks to be developed.

 

Plan Example

 

If you were Building a Cathedral, you should define:

  • How Big this Cathedral would be.
  • What Style it would have (Gothic, Romanesque, etc).
  • Its Width.
  • The number of Naves and Chapels it would have.
  • etc.

 

You would have to Plan What type of Cathedral you would like to build.

Ploy - Second P of Strategy

When Companies define their Strategy, they:

  • List and Analyze the different available Tactics.
  • Study which Tactics can be employed.
  • Adapt and Adopt the appropriate Management Methods.

 

Ploy Example

 

Would you use the same Building methods as those used in the XIV Century in Europe?

 

You would probably use:

  • A hierarchical Management Business structure.
  • Modern welding methods.
  • Modern Tools.
  • Current Safety standards and Protections.
  • etc.

 

You would use current Technology and Business methods to build this cathedral.

  • Methods such as Accountability, Cost calculation, etc.

Patterns - Third P of Strategy

When Companies define their Strategy, they:

  • Look for Past Successful Operations.
  • Analyze what Practices can be Replicated and to what extent.
  • Try to put together different Successful and Replicable Approaches.

 

Patterns Example

 

As soon as you plan to build a tall and magnificent Cathedral, you run into a big problem:

  • Tall stone buildings are very heavy.

 

How could you secure the Ceiling, floors, Rosettes…?

 

European architects found the solution centuries ago:

  • Big central pillars.
  • Buttresses.
  • Gothic Arches.
  • etc.

 

These elements generate a common Pattern in all Cathedrals.

 

That is why, no matter if you are in a Italian, Spanish or a French Cathedral, they look similar.

  • Because these Patterns proved to be successful, strong, safe… And Beautiful.

That is why Architects used them.

Position - Fourth P of Strategy

When Companies define their Strategy, they:

  • Define what Position would be better for them, in their respective Market.
  • Analyze what implies to be in that Place.
  • Adapt to that Position, the best way possible.

 

Position Example

 

At the moment you decide to build your Cathedral, you have to decide where it would be Placed.

  • Things don’t work this way, of course, but this is just an example.

 

If your Cathedral would be in the middle of an Island, your Design should take it into account.

  • Like Notre-Dame.

If your Cathedral is in the middle of a Crowded Population, your worries would be others.

  • Like Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral of Florence.

 

The Place a Cathedral occupies is very important.

  • It defines its Character and what complications you might encounter.

Perspectives - Fifth P of Strategy

When Companies define their Strategy, they:

  • Analyze Different ways in which things could be carried out.
  • Ask different Professionals for their Perspectives.
  • Analyze different Approaches and compare them to their Corporate Culture.

 

Perspectives Example

 

As you can imagine, there are different viable alternatives for designing a cathedral.

  • Some are Considered more “classic”, others more “innovative”, etc.

 

Depending on your Taste, and the Taste of who pays for the Project, you would have to choose one or the other Style.

  • Romanesque, Gothic, or… the weird things that are done today.

 

Depending on the Perspective adopted, all its elements would vary accordingly:

  • The Altar.
  • Altarpieces.
  • The main door.
  • etc.

Nowwe will share more Real Examples with you:

5 Ps of Strategy Examples

We have chosen 2 examples of famous and Successful Motorcycle Companies.

 

These 2 companies have followed very different Strategies.

We’ll analyze How the 5 Ps of Strategy can explain their Success.

 

Let’s see what we can learn:

Harley Davidson - 5 Ps of Strategy example

 

Harley Davidson needs no introduction.

It is one of the most legendary Motorcycle Companies in the World.

 

But, What Strategy did it follow to achieve it?

Let’s briefly analyze its 5 Ps to find out:

 

Plot: Harley Davidson opted for Tradition for its Motorcycles.

  • They kept the traditional Chopper design.

 

Ploy: They used Storytelling for their Marketing Campaigns.

  • A New Marketing Technic at that time.

 

Patterns: They used Solid and Proved Designs that were Successful.

  • The handlebar, the deposit… And even the Sound.

 

Position: Harley Davidson never intended to design Motorcycles for everybody.

  • They Focused on the Traditional Premium American Market.

 

Perspectives: They created different versions to Test the Market.

  • Depending on the Market reaction, they acted accordingly.

 

Harley Davidson has become much more than a simple Motorcycle Company.

  • Owning a Harley Davidson is associated with lots of things.

 

Harley Davidson is almost a “lifestyle”.

  • That is why everyone loves its Motorbikes.

 

And that is why their Strategy has been outstanding.

 

* In our “Competitive Advantages” Page, we talk more about Harley-Davidson and its Success.

  • Check it out if you are interested.

Vespa - 5 Ps of Strategy example

 

Vespa is to Scooters what Harley Davidson is to Choppers.

 

It is, without any doubt, the Benchmark in its Market Segment.

  • Its name is synonym with “cool”, “classic” and “young”.

 

Let’s analyze its 5 Ps to find out How it was able to achieve this:

 

Plot: Vespa has maintained a utilitarian Design with a Simple yet Elegant Style.

  • It doesn’t intend to be Sportive, Aggressive… Just cool and minimalist.

 

Ploy: Its Motorcycles have adapted to the New technologies.

  • Vespa now offers an Electric Scooter.

 

Patterns: It has maintained its Famous Classic Design.

  • They kept the Main Structure and Layout in recent versions.

 

Position: Vespa targets urban Customers who don’t want to buy or use the car.

  • A Vespa is an affordable and useful alternative to move across the city.

 

Perspectives: Vespa offers Different variations in Design, Colors, Engines, etc.

  • Clients can customize their Scooters to suit their “lifestyle”.

 

While other companies tried to “invent” new things, Vespa maintained its Strategy:

  • Simple, Minimalist and Utilitarian High-quality Scooters.

 

Today, there are hundreds of associations of “Vespa lovers” all over the world.

  • There is nothing similar in other Scooter Brands.

Summarizing

The 5 Ps of Strategy is a Tool that helps Defining more Efficient Strategies by Focusing on only 5 Factors.

 

The 5 Factors Proposed are:

  1. Plan: The Company must define and Plan its Goals and Milestones.
  2. Ploy: The Strategy has to analyze What Tactics can be Implemented.
  3. Patterns: Study what Worked in the Past and What can be Replicated.
  4. Position: Where the Company wants to Position itself in the Market.
  5. Perspectives: Analyze different Approaches and How they Fit the Company.

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