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Growth Frameworks Behind Big Brands: Apple, Unilever & Others


In today’s dynamic business landscape, growth isn’t given, it’s a strategic pursuit. But with countless business growth frameworks and approaches looking for your attention, how do you choose the right one for your unique business needs?

Fear not, growth-hungry entrepreneur! This blog post will delve into the most powerful business growth strategy frameworks, and I’ll share my expert insights on how to maximize their impact in 2024 and beyond.

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List of Growth Strategy Frameworks

Framework Description When to use it Advantages Drawbacks
Transitional Business Model A tool for helping you identify and develop new business models. When you are in transition from one business model to another. Can help you identify new opportunities and avoid common pitfalls. Can be complex and time-consuming to use.
Minimum Viable Audience A framework for finding the smallest possible audience that you can still build a successful business around. When you are validating a new idea. Can help you save time and money. Can be difficult to identify the right MVA.
Business Scaling A framework for helping you grow your business without sacrificing quality or profitability. When you are ready to scale your business. Can help you identify the key levers that you need to pull to grow your business. Can be complex and require significant investment.
Porter’s Five Forces A framework for analyzing the competitive landscape of any industry. When you need to understand the threats and opportunities that your business faces. Can help you make better strategic decisions. Can be time-consuming to use and may not be accurate in all industries.
Business Model Canvas A simple but powerful tool that can be used to map out your entire business model. When you want to identify any potential weaknesses or gaps in your strategy. Can help you communicate your business model to others and identify areas for improvement. Can be oversimplified and may not be suitable for all businesses.
SWOT Analysis A classic tool that can be used to identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When you want to get a big-picture view of your business and identify areas where you can improve. Can help you identify potential risks and opportunities. Can be subjective and may not be helpful for making specific decisions.
PEST Analysis A framework that can be used to analyze the political, economic, social, and technological factors that are affecting your business. When you want to stay ahead of the curve and identify potential risks and opportunities. Can help you make better strategic decisions. Can be complex and time-consuming to use.
SPACE Analysis A framework that can be used to assess the competitive position of your business. When you want to identify your strengths and weaknesses relative to your competitors. Can help you make better strategic decisions. Can be complex and time-consuming to use.
BCG Matrix A framework that can be used to classify your products or services into different categories based on their market share and growth rate. When you want to allocate resources and make decisions about which products or services to focus on. Can help you make better resource allocation decisions. Can be oversimplified and may not be suitable for all businesses.

Questions For Choosing a Growth Strategy Framework

As an entrepreneur, growth is crucial. But when you have so many strategic frameworks, where should you begin?

Before diving into complex models, here are five key questions to help you choose the right one for your business

  1. What do you find most difficult? Do you have problems with slow customer acquisition? Seeking new market opportunities? Keeping pace with competitors? Identify your principal growth barrier.
  2. What Are You Today? Is your startup all about product development? Or are you an established brand with a successful product line and want to grow your consumer base? The most effectively used frameworks are those that are in alignment with your current business stage.
  3. What Do You Want to Achieve? Would you like to grow the revenue by 20%? Penetrate a new market by 10%? State your exact growth targets.
  4. Simple or Complex? Would you like a summary or are you ready for a detailed analysis? Some frameworks are more straightforward to use.
  5. What is Your Resource? Certain frameworks call for thorough data collection and analysis. Do you have the resources including the time, money, and people to manage a data-heavy approach?


5 Most Used Growth Strategy Frameworks

1. The Ansoff Matrix: Apple

Imagine a strategic roadmap that helps you navigate existing and new markets, products, and services. That’s the power of the Ansoff Matrix. This framework excels at:

  • Identifying market expansion opportunities: Analyze existing markets for deeper penetration or explore adjacent markets for strategic expansion.
  • Developing new product strategies: Diversify your offerings by creating new products for existing markets or entering new markets with innovative products.

Apple and Ansof Matrix

  • Market Penetration: Improving characteristics of iPhones, selective price-lowering, and aggressive marketing.
  • Market Development: Penetrating new functional markets such as India and other developing countries with the existing iPhones and iPads.
  • Product Development: Releasing new products such as the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and AirPods to its maturing customer base.
  • Diversification: Diversifying into services such as Apple Music, iCloud storage, and Apple Arcade.

Pro Tip: In 2024, the Ansoff Matrix will be particularly relevant for businesses capitalizing on emerging technologies like AI and automation. Consider how these technologies can inform new product development or market expansion strategies.

 2. The PESTEL Framework: Unilever

External forces can significantly impact your business trajectory. The PESTEL framework helps you stay ahead of the curve by considering:

  • Political: Government policies, regulations, and tax laws.
  • Economic: Economic growth, inflation, interest rates, and consumer spending patterns.
  • Social: Demographic trends, cultural shifts, and consumer preferences.
  • Technological: Advancements in technology that can disrupt your industry or create new opportunities.
  • Environmental: Sustainability concerns, climate change regulations, and resource availability.
  • Legal: Legal frameworks, compliance requirements, and data privacy regulations.

Example: Unilever

  • Political: Adaptation of product portfolio to fit with tougher regulations on food labeling in some markets.
  • Economic: Adjusting to higher costs and inflation through supply chain optimization and packaging redesign.
  • Social: Highlighting diversity and inclusiveness in advertisement, and the changing cultural attitudes towards healthy living.
  • Technological: Data analytics for understanding dynamic customer behavior for personalized promotions and product innovations.
  • Environmental: Rise of prudent sourcing and packaging to satisfy market and legal stakeholders.
  • Legal: Achieving full data privacy law compliance such as GDPR all over the various global markets.

Pro Tip: In 2024, staying attuned to the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, particularly regarding data privacy and environmental sustainability, is crucial for businesses of all sizes.

3. The BCG Growth-Share Matrix: Coca Cola

Resource allocation is a critical yet delicate task for any business leader. The BCG Growth-Share Matrix simplifies this by classifying your products into four categories based on their market share and growth rate:

  • Stars: High growth, high market share – Invest heavily in these cash cows to solidify your market dominance.
  • Cash Cows: High market share, low growth – Milk these established products for profits to fund investments in Stars and Question Marks.
  • Question Marks: Low market share, high growth – Invest cautiously in these products with high growth potential, but carefully assess their long-term viability.
  • Dogs: Low market share, low growth – Consider divesting or harvesting these products to free up resources for higher-potential areas.

Cocacola and BCG Matrix

  • Stars: Diet Coke, Coke Zero – high share of the market and growing potential in the health-oriented beverage category.
  • Cash Cows: Classic Coca-Cola with its almost monopolistic market share and always profitable.
  • Question Marks: Newer categories such as flavored waters and energy drinks wherein investment choices depend on market potential.
  • Dogs: Soft drink brands that are less popular or are under-performing in certain areas.

Pro Tip: In today’s fast-paced environment, don’t be afraid to challenge the traditional BCG classifications. Regularly re-evaluate your product portfolio based on changing market dynamics and emerging opportunities.

4. The Porter Diamond Model: Samsung

Understanding your competitive landscape is crucial for sustainable growth. The Porter Diamond Model sheds light on the key factors that contribute to your national or regional competitive advantage:

  • Factor Conditions: Analyze the availability and quality of resources like skilled labor, infrastructure, and technology in your region.
  • Demand Conditions: Understand the nature and sophistication of customer demand in your target market.
  • Related and Supporting Industries: Assess the presence and competitiveness of related industries that can provide complementary products or services.
  • Firm Strategy, Structure, and Rivalry: Evaluate your company’s internal strengths, weaknesses, and competitive strategies within your industry.

Example: Samsung (South Korea)

  • Factor Conditions: Significant R&D investment and highly qualified technical personnel.
  • Demand Conditions: Sophisticated home market for high-quality and innovative consumer electronics.
  • Related & Supporting Industries: South Korea has a powerful network of technology component suppliers.
  • Firm Strategy, Structure, and Rivalry: Intense domestic competition with LG in appliances and electronics drives innovation.

Pro Tip: In 2024, the Porter Diamond Model is especially valuable for businesses navigating the complexities of globalization. Use it to identify potential opportunities or challenges arising from emerging markets or global economic shifts.

5. Porter’s 5 Forces: Netflix

Understanding the competitive forces at play in your industry is essential for crafting a winning strategy. Porter’s 5 Forces framework analyzes:

  •  Threat of New Entrants: Barriers to entry, potential for new competitors, and their competitive edge.
  • Bargaining Power of Buyers: Buyer concentration, price sensitivity, and switching costs.
  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Supplier concentration, availability of substitutes, and their impact on your costs.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Close substitutes and their potential to disrupt your market share.
  • Competitive Rivalry: Number and strength of competitors, industry growth rate, and competitive intensity.

Example: Netflix

  • Threat of New Entrants: Mitigated somewhat by high content creation costs and brand loyalty, but still a factor from players like Disney+.
  • Bargaining Power of Buyers: The customers have multiple streaming choices, and hence, the platforms have to provide value and reasonable pricing.
  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers: The power to create original content makes Netflix even more powerful.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Comprises cable TV, gaming platforms, and other entertainment sources.
  • Competitive Rivalry: High pressure from giants such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and HBO Max who are in a battle for market share.

Pro Tip: In 2024, technological innovation and changing customer preferences are rapidly reshaping competitive landscapes. Use Porter’s 5 Forces to proactively identify emerging threats and adjust your strategies accordingly.


4 Essential Components of Growth Strategy Framework

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” This insightful quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry underscores the importance of a structured framework for achieving your business growth objectives.

A powerful growth strategy framework aligns your marketing efforts, maximizes lead conversion, and creates a cohesive business ecosystem. 

Let’s break down the four essential components of a winning framework, along with action steps to implement them:

1. The Growth Strategy Aspect: Know Your Customer Inside and Out

 Challenge: Too many businesses make assumptions about their customers without truly understanding their needs, preferences, and what drives their buying decisions.

  • Solution: Adopt a customer-centric mindset with these steps:
  • Build Detailed Customer Personas: Go beyond basic demographics. Identify customer pain points, goals, and what influences their decision-making.
  •  Map the Customer Journey: Visualize each touchpoint customers have with your brand, from awareness to purchase and beyond. Identify opportunities to improve the experience.
  • Continuous Feedback: Collect customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and social media monitoring to consistently refine your understanding.

2. Company Values: Strategy, The Core of Your Efforts

Challenge: Ambiguous values of the company result in confusion among employees, and they can even have different priorities leading to a waste of resources.

Solution: Your core values may be shaped by your own personal beliefs and experiences, but they are reflected through:

  • Leadership-Led Definition: Obvious: elaborate the company’s values in tangible actions daily, starting from employees at the ground level.
  • Value-Based Decision Making: Craft mechanisms to ensure all decisions, big and small are in line with your values.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Publicly communicate and share your principles of business operations openly inviting suggestions from your consumers to keep yourself in check.

3. Brand Identity: Being truly distinctive is Your Promise.

Challenge: Brands that are unpredictable, or talk in one tone, fail to create anything memorable and recognizable against the numerous competitors.

 Solution: Through the essence of creativity, we’ll conceive a very sparkling identity made of:

  • Competitive Analysis: It is important to identify your unique qualities. Analyze your competitors to identify areas where you are different.
  • Brand Story: Create an emotional connection by developing a story with your audiences that converts them to your target audiences. Considering what they want to achieve, what problem are you solving for them?
  • Visual Consistency: Formulate a style guide for colors, fonts, pictures, etc. that form the basis of your brand personality everywhere.

4. Online Presence: The Digital Heart of the Universe

Challenge: In case potential customers fail to trace you on the internet or don’t like your site’s appearance, no growth is possible.

Solution: Opinion mitigate digital visibility using:

  • SEO-Driven Content: Make sure people on your email list can find your website on search engines like Google.
  • User-Friendly Design: Make navigation easy to use and uncomplicated. Mobile responsiveness on your website( interlink here).
  • Strategic Social Presence: Decide where your customers spend the most time on social networks and choose these platforms.

The 4 Phases of Implementation of Growth Strategy Framework

Remember, each aspect of your growth strategy framework should follow four phases for optimal results

  1. Align Your Team: Make sure all departments have a common understanding of your framework and what part they play in its objectives.
  2. 2. Process Audit: Assess current processes for effectiveness and how they fit into your growth strategy model.
  3. Transparent Marketing: Develop trust with customers by means of your values and objective communication.
  4. Measure and Refine: Measure important metrics in order to continuously improve your strategy. No framework should be static!

Putting Frameworks into Action

Picking the correct framework is a mere touchstone. Here’s my expert advice on turning strategy into action in 2024

  • Don’t Be a Framework Hoarder: Pay attention to getting proficient in a few core frameworks rather than trying to conquer them all in one go.
  • Customization is Key: Fit these frames to your particular business requirements, industry dynamics, and growth goals.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Utilize real-time data and analytics to confirm your assumptions and modify your strategy in a dynamic environment.
  • Track Progress: Set standard reviews with key metrics to evaluate the progress of your strategy so you can make adjustments as necessary.
  • Embrace Agility: Markets can change quickly. Adjust your approach as necessary.
  • Invest in Training: Enable employees with the skills and knowledge that are required, fostering a culture of strategic execution.
  • Collaboration is Key: Involve your team, stakeholders, and even customers in the process of strategy development. Diversity of perspectives leads to more powerful strategies.

Overcoming Common Barriers to Growth Strategy Execution

Growth strategies are actually the engines that drive businesses ahead. But even the best laid-out sales growth strategy framework meets obstacles during implementation that may slow down progress.

Marketers at midsize companies face some other challenges at this stage. Now let’s explore typical obstacles to strategy execution and effective ways to eliminate them.

Barrier 1: Misalignment and Miscommunication.

The growth in mid-sized companies is obstructed by the misalignment of the departments, poor communication of the strategy as a whole, and unclear roles of the team members.

The Solution:

  • Cascade Goals: Specify all growth objectives for every department and team including marketing.
  • Promote Collaboration: Conduct regular cross-functional meetings to integrate marketing efforts with the overall strategy, fostering free-flow communication and input.

Barrier 2: Lack of Resources and Support

Lack of budgets, difficult timelines, or inadequate specialized skills can make marketing teams feel under siege.

  • The Solution:
  •  Prioritize Ruthlessly: Concentrate on the most impactful initiatives that are in line with your growth strategy. Evaluate chances of delegating or outsourcing tasks.
  • Secure Executive Buy-in: Prove the ROI that can be achieved by your growth strategy initiatives to win over senior leadership and obtain the required resources.

Barrier 3: Change Resistance

Growth often brings change. But, some workers perceive it as an interruption and refuse the change.

The Solution:

  • Leadership Role: The leaders of the company should demonstrate excitement about change, address concerns proactively, and focus on potential benefits for the teams.
  • Celebrate Wins: Recognize and openly celebrate achievements, strengthening the positive influence of implementing the new approach.

FAQs- Growth Strategy Framework

What are the four major growth strategies?

The 4 major growth strategies are:

  • Market penetration.
  • Market development.
  • Product development.
  • Diversification.

What is a growth framework?

A growth framework is a guide to help you succeed and scale up your business.

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that the actual strength of the Growth strategy framework is in implementation. Don’t just theorize, act! Select appropriate frameworks that correspond to your business objectives, gather the required data, and begin to strategize.

Given appropriate strategic frameworks and the resolution to execute, your business can realize amazing growth in 2024 and beyond.

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