Strategy Analysis – The PURCS Technique


With more & more business flourishing in our world there is a new buzz word - Strategy !!! But what does it really mean? Many businesses today confuse Strategy with Goals, Objectives, Tactics and lengthy descriptions. Want to know what Strategy really means!! Hop onboard.....

The word strategy originally comes from the Greek word strategos – meaning the art of the General ! In other words, the origin of word Strategy comes from The Art of War – A famous book from Sun Tzu. Strategists consider “The Art Of War” as one of the great masterpieces on strategy.

Strategy Analysis – The PURCS Technique

The general is responsible for multiple units that must work together to win the battle and the war. The way the General adds value to the battle is by providing a high level orchestration and vision – he can see what the field commanders cannot. Great Generals think about the whole and they work to coordinate all the necessary pieces, even sacrificing some pieces when necessary – in order to ensure that the overall goal is achieved.

We sometimes think of businesses as modern day war! But the casualties are investor pocket books rather than Human Lives!! The challenge of the executive is similar to the ancient General. The modern day executive needs to develop a set of Complex Tactics that lead to victory !!!

PURCS is a modern day mnemonic to remember when you are questioning a strategy to be good or bad!!!

  • P – The Playing field or where do we compete?
  • U – What is the unique selling proposition?
  • RC – What are the Resources and Capabilities?
  • S – How do we Sustain our ability to provide that unique value?

1. The Playing Field – In other words what competitive arenas or markets we will be active in? We define markets as industries, Product markets in those industries and geographic markets.

2. The Unique Selling Proposition – Ask the question why do our customers choose our products while they could have chosen the product of a competitor out there? Our unique value could be cost differentiation, reliability or even styling etc. !

3. Resources & Capbilities – What resources & capabilities we utilize to deliver the unique value? It could be exceptional Human Capital, Superior Tech, Unrivaled Network connections or a unique reputation. Resources are generally available to the organization as tangible objects such as diamond mine but could also be intangible for example reputation

Capabilities generally refer to the things we can do for example anticipate Rival’s moves, identify it’s weakness or our ability to use our resources

4. How do we sustain our ability to provide that unique value? Are there any barriers to imitating our products? Are there any factors that limit our competitors from being able to replicate the value we create for our customers. In other words what is important to analyze what factors allow us to continue to win over time?


Always remember PURCS when performing a strategy analysis of an organization. This is a almost a framework that could clear any questions you may have in your mind with regards to a strategy being good or bad.