Strategy Dynamics Briefing 34: Truly competitive strategy

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Strategy very often includes a need to beat competitors as well as running our own business well, and we have long understood how competitive forces affect industry profitability. Those forces include not just existing direct competitors, but customers’ buying power, suppliers’ control of key inputs, and pressure from substitute products and new competitors. Firms can and do try to manipulate those forces to support stronger profits, for example by getting their customers locked-in to buying from them in some way.But ...

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Understanding competitor moves

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McKinsey Qtly survey finds that firms can easily anticipate what competitors will do next. Another article explains how to get inside competitors’ heads. .. but I’m still puzzled so little is written in this or any other strategy sources about what to actually do against competitors. It was a key part of my strategy role in practice, makes a huge difference to what can be achieved – and it’s fun!

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Seize Advantage in a Downturn

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More (mostly) helpful advice re the downturn from HBR is Seize the advantage in a downturn in which David Rhodes and Daniel Stelter of BCG offer thoughts to stabilize your business and find opportunities … but beware!

Good to see the Boston Consulting Group encourage us to focus on the core business (as we should have been doing in the first place), protect product development, look at competitors’ weaknesses etc. – and ...

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Industry ‘power curves’ for real competitive strategy

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Now here’s a really useful tool from McKinsey. Using ‘power curves’ to assess industry dynamics shows the value of seeing the size-distribution of competitors in an industry. It shows the tool for banking, chemicals, software and biotech. You can do much, much more with this though.

Merely seeing the pattern is interesting but so what? This is a fundamental tool for something virtually no companies do well – truly competitive strategy.

The basic principles are simple:

  • Trying to do a ...
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