Examples of Strategy Canvases

The Strategy Canvas shows how an organisation can carve out a unique position in the market, free of the ravages of competition.


  1. Ikea
  2. Southwest Airlines
  3. Cirque du Soleil

A Strategy Canvas is used to differentiate a business from its competition. Businesses do this by increasing, decreasing, adding or removing factors of competition relative to what is already available in the market.

Learn more about the Strategy Canvas.

Here are some examples of Strategy Canvases for well-known businesses, all prepared using StratNavApp.com.


Ikea Strategy Canvas

Ikea downplayed service with their flat-pack self-service model. They also downplayed customisation. This allowed them to give low-priced furniture at almost as good quality and design as higher-end retailers. But it is probably their unique and easy shopping experience, coupled with the fact that you can take your furniture home with you instead of waiting for weeks for delivery which seals the deal.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Strategy Canvas

Southwest Airlines created the now well-established discount airline segment. They sacrificed traditional airline staples like hub connectivity, seating choice, inflight meals and airport lounges. This allowed them to improve speed (typically through fast boarding and gate turnaround times). They invested heavily in friendly customer services. Southwest Airlines was able to offer their stripped-back service at a significantly reduced price. This attracted a new market of travellers who would otherwise have driven instead of flying.

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil Strategy Canvas

Cirque du Soleil took the traditional circus formula and gave up the aisle concessions, star performers, multiple show arenas and increasingly controversial animal shows. They retained most of the thrills and danger, fun and humour. Then they added multiple productions, with different themes involving artistic music and dance. They stage their shows in refined viewing environments at unique venues. This enabled them to attract a new market at a premium price.

You can also see in the above chart how Ringling Brothers was trying to compete head-to-head with smaller regional circuses - trying to be a bit better, but not fundamentally different.

All of these examples were prepared in StratNavApp.com.

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Updated: 2024-03-08