Successful Hudson Valley businesses build unstoppable strategies based on their own unique strengths and business relationships. They anchor their visions in the reality of their distinctive capabilities. What one thing can you claim that your competitors can’t?
Discovering and capitalizing on your unique strengths allows you to stand head and shoulders above the crowd of competitors, gain significant additional market share and increased efficiency.
Disney was adrift when Michael Eisner took over. His first attempt to save the company, Touchstone Pictures, released films more for adult audiences than Disney’s traditional family entertainment. While it performed adequately, Touchstone was not very different than other film studios, and it strayed from Disney’s distinctive capabilities.
Ultimately, Eisner turned Disney around by unlocking its unique strategic assets. He developed the land around the theme parks, released the Disney classics on video and exploited the company’s reputation for children’s entertainment and its distinctive capability for innovation in animation by overseeing a steady stream of new, state-of-the-art, animated films.
In “Repositioning,” authors Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin point out that the market leader’s advantage can be used against them in demonstrating the one thing you do better. “Avis ads used to say, ‘Rent from Avis. The line at our counter is shorter.’”
Rivkin and Trout say that sometimes a company’s marketing can be a weakness. “The number one mineral water in Russia is a brand called Aqua Minerale. Owned by PepsiCo it enjoyed excellent marketing. PepsiCo positioned the brand effectively by disguising its origin. It put mineral in the name and mountains on its label, thus making consumers believe that the water comes from a mountainous region.”
How could you compete and win against Pepsi’s Aqua Mineral? The authors suggest using advertising to reposition Aqua Minerale as not being real mountain water and that real mountain water is the best. “Under the Aqua Minerale label, you would say, ‘this water is produced nowhere near the mountains. Under your label, you would print, this water comes from the mountains, where nature produces the best water.’”
All too often, discussions of strategy begin with the question, “What business are we in?” But the question is rarely explored completely, because a company’s business combines three things.
- First is the market that it serves, which includes the needs of its customers and potential customers. American Airlines and Cunard Cruise Line serve the same market, people who want to cross the Atlantic. Nevertheless, they are in very different industries.
- Next, do common technology or distribution channels link the industry that it is in? Singapore Airlines is in the same industry as Southwest Airlines, but they are in different markets and do not compete for the same routes.
- Finally, there’s the strategic group, which encompasses the firms that are the company’s direct competitors. Coke, Pepsi and local French soft drink companies are in the same industry and market in France, but only Coke and Pepsi belong to the same strategic group because they are global brands.
By identifying your uniqueness and distinctive capabilities, you can turn them into a competitive advantage. Answer the question: What can we do better than anyone in our market, industry and strategic group? Once you answer that question, you will then stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Questions for discussion:
What one thing can we do better than our competitors that genuinely satisfies the needs of our customers better than anyone else?
Who are our competitors in our specific market, industry and strategic group? Have we learned enough about them to win their customers with a better value proposition?
Joe Murtagh is The DreamSpeaker, an international keynote speaker, meeting facilitator and business trainer. For questions or comments, Joe@TheDreamSpeaker.com, www.TheDreamSpeaker.com or call (800) 239-0058.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.