Creating sustainable competitive advantage has to be one of the key aims of any profitable organisations. Creating a product or service that – whatever the competitors attempt to do – will always remain the leader of the pack.
Lots of time, money, effort, brain power and research goes into identifying key elements of the offering that will deliver a sustainable competitive advantage.
Competitive advantage occurs when an organization acquires or develops an attribute or combination of attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors*
The competitive advantage may be derived from many elements or combination of elements within the value chain of the organisation – perhaps from the branding or brand awareness associated with Apple, Jaguar or Starbucks where the name itself presents a set of standardised values, or in a less obvious/visible way, the competitive advantage may well be in the distribution system (Tesco) or in proprietary software (iTunes) for example.
In the work I do we look at competitive advantage from a few angles; probably best summarised in these questions:
What are we, as a firm, naturally exceptionally good at?
What makes our current customers/clients use us above our competitors?
What do our competitors do poorly?
Why do we win business and they don’t?
What needs in the market are we and our competitors failing to adequately service?
What do our customers/clients want…that they don’t know they want yet?
Think about using these questions to brain storm using complete freedom to explore what if’s and avoiding the inclination to kill the idea before it flourishes…
Putting clear blue sky between you and your competitors takes time and money and the gap, in many instances, is quickly closed.
Bringing about a major change in the market dynamic, resetting client expectations and maximising any long-standing disruptive market action will require a radical strategy that must evolve into the way you do business to be truly effective.