What competitive advantage does your company have?
The late business mogul Jack Welch once said that if you don’t have a competitive advantage, then don’t compete.
This was true then and even more true today. For your business to be taken seriously, you must set a brand-centric competitive advantage. For some entrepreneurs, this comes easily as they already have it in mind from the get-go. For others, defining their competitive advantage is more like a diamond-in-the-rough process, and they eventually get there after several hits and misses.
Defining Competitive Advantage
Your competitive advantage is the backbone of your strategy, marketing, and messaging. Because of this, what sets you apart from others must be clear to you and communicated efficiently with your stakeholders.
Your target clients and potential investors need to know why you are better than companies with the same products or services. If you don’t have any advantage in communicating with them, then you need to ask yourself if your business is even viable.
You need to differentiate your brand and magnify your unique identity from the rest because the competition out there is stiff, if not outright brutal.
Types of Competitive Advantage
Academic and thinker Michael Porter recommended three positional strategies where companies can achieve competitive advantage. Let us take a closer look at these three positional strategies.
First is the variety-based strategy. In this strategy, a company comes up with a subset of a defined industry’s products and services. Segmentation occurs with the choice of offering and not by the customer.
For example, before Oracle acquired it, telecommunications firm Acme Packet used variety-based positioning. So if, for instance, you need a Session Border Controller (SBC), you will get it from Acme Packet.
The company’s focus on a single product enhanced its marketing efforts because the variety of its offer is so closely associated with this product. This opportunity also allowed the organization to become SBC experts.
This example highlights the need for companies to streamline and identify the array of best products and services that the company can offer to the market and take off from there.
The second example is what you call needs-based positioning. In this strategy, your focus as a business is shifted towards a specific segment of the industry’s customers. The goal is to provide this segment with what they need.
Big tech firm Nvidia, for instance, credits most of its success to a needs-based positioning. It gained dominance in a niche market by focusing on selling graphic processing units (GPU), a specialized chip where the company now commands 80 percent of the market share.
Moreover, Nvidia’s focused approach enabled the company to innovate further and faster than its competitors. In fact, AMD, Nvidia’s main competitor, pales in comparison in both market share and innovation because its product scope is wider. Not having a niche market and needs-based strategy tended to dilute AMD’s efforts in improving its products.
Finally, the access-based approach targets potential customers with identical traits but different routes to get hold of the product or service. Companies employing this strategy utilize specific methods for serving these customers within the larger market.
Online remittance service Xoom before being acquired by PayPal in 2015, was able to get the upper hand in the market from perennial competitor Western Union by offering more options on how its customers may send and receive money.
Doing away with branch operations, Xoom was able to re-align investment to build its technology and improve its services. Even after being acquired by PayPal, Xoom enabled seamless payments and was more flexible, compared with PayPal and Western Union, which both demand that customers transact within their ecosystem.
Which among the three strategies above would benefit your company the most and highlight its competitive edge?
How to Build a Brand-Centric Competitive Advantage
Are you ready to outperform your competitors? Here are some practical steps to identify and make the most of your brand’s competitive advantage.
Be sure to understand your target market/customer.
Before anything else, it is of paramount importance for you to know and understand who your target clientele is.
Create personas for these target customers and list them in a row. Then, put together what you have gathered about these customers, such as their demographics, daily schedule, how they gather information and make decisions, what motivates them, the challenges they face in their roles, and their communication and purchasing preferences.
After you have gathered these, determine what these personas have in common and try to group them together.
Talk to your prospective customers.
Keep your prospective customers close and network with them. You may do this by attending trade shows and industry events where you can engage them and get feedback. Maximize the feedback system on your company website by including a poll, survey, or feedback form on it or via your company’s social media pages. Their responses will surely give you vital insights which you can utilize to sharpen your competitive edge.
Talk to your existing clients.
To obtain impartial information and feedback, you can conduct interviews and discussions with your existing customers by getting the services of an independent firm to facilitate this on your behalf. Ask your existing customers why they are loyal to your company and why they can potentially choose to go with another company.
Make good use of all the data you have in your hands.
Once you have finished with steps 1 through 3, you will already have gotten insights on the following:
♦ The problems and challenges of your target market and how you could offer solutions to these problems
♦ Your product or service’s best features
♦ Your product or service’s weaknesses and areas for improvement
These insights are vital for you to fully identify and leverage your company’s competitive advantage. To streamline everything, answer this question: What problem do your company’s products and services solve?
Communicate your value proposition.
This last and most crucial step is where you see if your target audience responds positively to your value proposition. Make sure that you have factual data to support your value proposition, as this will be the defining statement of your business. Your communication should clearly and effectively answer the question of what is so unique to your brand and why your target customers should choose you over others. The answer to this question is your brand-centric competitive advantage.
CURIOUS ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO COMPETE IN 2023?
Allied Insight CEO Jeff Pelliccio discussed a brand-centric competitive advantage in detail at The Staffing World 2022 Convention, hosted by the American Staffing Association in Las Vegas on October 25-27. This event brings together the leading figures in the staffing industry and convenes them to discuss the current state of the staffing industry and to flesh out how to improve the industry at large.
Allied Insight is a full-stack marketing agency that integrates your entire digital strategy into your business ecosystem and tech stack. Founded on the principles of Accessibility, Impact, and Development, we support the entire marketing infrastructure to help staffing firms elevate their brands, scale their businesses, and learn the benefits of leveraging marketing best practices.
Beyond marketing delivery, Allied Insight helps clients to build brand-centric competitive advantages and productized services to insulate the brand, the offers, and the market position. Reach out to us today to further highlight your company’s competitive advantage and get results from it soonest!