Strategies to set your business apart from Competitors

Paul Lines By Paul Lines, 16th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3ja_e0ey/
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Leadership

The article provides an understanding of some of the strategies that improve competitive advantage for businesses

Introduction

Michael Porter, one of the foremost academics on the subject of competitive strategy, suggests within his various publications that differentiation is one of the most practical ways in which a business can gain advantage over other players in their industry sector. Differentiation can be achieved through the adoption of a number of unique strategies or processes.

Low-cost

One popular method of differentiation, which has been increasingly adopted by corporations across a whole range of industries in recent decades, is the "low-cost" business model. This model has become particularly prevalent in the supermarket sector, and "Low Cost Carrier" airline sector.

The unique element of the "low cost" model is that the whole of the business structure and supply chain is geared towards achieving a low cost base. Taking the airline example as an instance, it is apparent that companies like Ryanair, South West Airlines and others have benefited from the fact that their corporate structure and the resources used are much smaller than national carriers like British Airways and American Airlines are. This means that they are able to maintain profit margins at a reduced product cost.

Furthermore, the budget airlines have increased their differentiation by promoting a "no-frills" approach to ticket prices. By reducing elements of customer service, this has enabled flights to be offered at much lower prices than was the case in the past. The combination of these actions have led to the opening up of a completely new consumer market as well as encouraging some travellers to defect from the more established airlines.

Niche Market strategy

However, differentiation does not have to be cost led. It can also be focused upon quality and choice, with cost and price being a secondary factor. Examples of this approach can be found in the fashion industry. In the UK, recently this industry has been attacked by "low-cost" organisation in the form of supermarkets and fashion discount stores. Although low-price competitors have secured a reasonable market share, many of the high quality fashion stores are still thriving. The reason for this is that they have concentrated their efforts on quality and the uniqueness of choice, which appeals to those consumers who do not like the "mass market" product and approach.

This "quality and choice" approach is also be referred to as a "niche market" differentiation, where organisations look for areas of the industry where they can compete in a manner that cannot be emulated by the major competitors. In the case of fashion, because the mass-market retailers have built a reputation for low price it would not be easy for them to incorporate a high quality and product range within their existing supply chain.

Innovation

Another differentiation over competitors can be achieved by simply change to or creation of a new product. For example when Apple originally developed the iPod, the product provided a new and unique means of providing mobile music entertainment for consumers. The difference of this product from others within their range gave the corporation a completely new marketplace, which enabled them to create a significant competitive advantage. Other electronic giants, particularly those from Japan, have successfully adopted similar tactics.

Customer service

Another area of differentiation, and one which all businesses should strive for, is that which pertains to customer service.

If a business if offering a similar product within the same price range as other competitors, how can it create a differentiation that will encourage the consumer to prefer their business to others in the marketplace? The answer is to concentrate upon the creation of a better service experience for the customer. Customers are more likely to become loyal if they believe that their demands, expectations and needs are being meet, and that they are being provided with a quality service from the organisation.

Tags

Business, Business Model, Competitiveness, Differentiation, Low-Cost Companies

Meet the author

author avatar Paul Lines
Having spent a large part of my working life as a business consultant, I am now a full time freelance writer offering content for on-line and print publishers, as well as focusing on creative writing

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Comments

author avatar Retired
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Great Info. Thanks!

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Nice artcle Paul, but at tmes the low cost business model though. Innovative in their sevices it also compromise the same features. In an commercial plane for example is the comfort,(legroom, foods etc) unlike higher range (not business class) choices.

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author avatar Paul Lines
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for your comments Jessica and Saigon. Much appreciated

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author avatar Melissa Dawn
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

Great article as always Paul! Good to see you my friend! I recently returned to Wikinut myself.

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author avatar Paul Lines
24th Mar 2015 (#)

Hi Melissa, Thank you. Great to meet up with you again

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author avatar Kingwell
12th Apr 2015 (#)

You know your subject well my friend! Good info indeed. Blessings.

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author avatar Paul Lines
13th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanks again Kingwell

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