May 13, 2024

Strategic Thinking: Strategy through the lens of experience

Taking everyone’s favourite tree analogy, Continuous strategist, Neil Sheakey, shares his thoughts on brand strategy through the lens of experience

Neil Sheakey

Experience Strategist

“Great strategies can’t just live on paper. It has to be an experience.”

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‘If a tree falls in the forest with no ears to hear, does it make a sound?’

If a brand has a strategy, but consumers aren’t able to experience it, will it make an impact?

A new strategy can often be like this.

All the work distilled down into an approved direction.

Powerful words succinctly committed to slides, then presented, finally approved and launched across the boardroom table.

We have our new strategy ladies and gentlemen. Shared, saved, filed. Job done.

And yet what is the point of this new strategy if that is as far as it goes?

Continuous strategist, Neil Sheakey

Strategies should be actionable and emotional. They should resonate and they should commit. And before they’re activated they need to be considered.

The questions then are, how will it be experienced and who will they be experienced by?

Because knowing which tree should fall and knowing who should hear it, is essential if you’re to ensure that your strategy returns more than just approving nods from across the table.

Then, if you know which tree should fall and you know who’d you’d like to hear – the questions then become about everything other than the tree.

How do people get to the forest? What do they sit on? How long is the falling-tree show? What do they do when they get there – during and after the tree has fallen? Do they get branches or leaves? What about the trunk? Who makes the tree fall? And so on, and so on.

Every little detail should be considered. These considerations are critical in defining the experience of your strategy.

Actioning the strategy will always require that you’ve defined exactly what it means for your audience and how you give them the best possible experience to connect and engage with your brand.

Sometimes, you may feel you have the greatest tree on earth to ever fall, but there can also be some challenges along the way to the forest – understanding those challenges and alleviating them for your audiences is just as important as getting to witness the tree falling.

And it can drastically improve the overall experience of your brand. These may be marginal gains, but the route to the forest is made all the more easier when they’re cleared.

And when the pace of business demands so much attention, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.

That’s where we come in, to ensure that great strategies don’t just live on paper (or wood pulp), but connect brands to people and people to brands, creating the best possible experience and most effective results not just in the now but in the long-term.

We create the roadmap to ensure that all our clients have confidence in the future.

The next step is then knowing what the tree sounds like when it does fall.

That’s when strategy meets creative. And that’s when you’ve got the best of us at Continuous.

If you'd like to to talk to our team about strategy, feel free to get in touch with  Neil by emailing


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