The Changing Face Of Competitive Advantage
As businesses take to the shared online stage, competition has become far more fierce across industries, and key players are having to get nasty to keep their feet in the door. From Twitter posting their own updates on Instagram’s story feed through to Pepsi pitting themselves directly against Coca Cola in the famed ‘Pepsi challenge,’ modern competitive advantage is often a fierce, fiery, and dirty business where the louder a company shouts, the more successful they openly seem to be.
But, as the online sphere only becomes more crowded, many companies find themselves at something of a catch 22, where solely competitive focuses in commoditized markets, especially, can create as many problems as they solve. For companies caught at the forefront of the race, the constant need to outdo other key players could even be said to be preventing the true value that will always pique the post of competitive advantage.
For businesses looking to stay at the forefront of their industries despite these challenges, the face of competitive advantage is changing, and largely requires companies to step back and reconsider traditionally dirty tactics in place of the following advantage-winning techniques.
A unique approach to innovation
For companies who pay extremely close attention to their competitors, new offerings are most often either adaptation of what other people are bringing to the market or offshoots based on ideas that are already in the business pipeline. The purposes of these preemptive strikes are self-evident, and they certainly have their place in keeping offerings relevant and ahead of the curve. But, given that true innovation is the only real way to improve your business overall, there’s also a lot to be said for stepping away from what your competitors are doing. Of course, this isn’t to say that you want to take your eyes entirely off the ball, but taking the time to consider your offerings in their own right, and exploring fully unique product ideas outside of the market, can often provide the best possible way to ensure the edge that you need to truly compete. Even better, the fact that your competitors will then need to embrace entirely new outlooks and avenues to keep up ensures that you’re at the front of the market, and silently killing your competition, for a much longer period than you ever would by just doing the same kinds of things as everyone else.
Taking more time to focus on in-house priorities
Along the same vein, companies who dedicate too much of their time to researching their competitors are also at very real risk of letting things slip where their own processes are concerned, opening the door for in-house inefficiencies and, in extreme cases, even financial losses that they don’t necessarily recognize in the moment. In each instance, this distracted way of doing business can lead to the failure of an enterprise over time, and it’s something that a more measured approach to the competition can largely offset by buying a business more time to perfect and understand what’s happening in the four walls of their own company. Without your competitors even realizing it, in-house and largely hidden improvements through the implementation of efficient new software solutions like collaboration tools or this revenue cycle management software for more revenue can provide you with the strongest possible footing going forward. None of which would be possible if you brazenly challenged your competitors without first taking the time to look at what you’re doing right or, more importantly, wrong, in the first place.
Using social media for loyalty, not research
Social media might have heralded an age in which companies are better poised to keep their competition close to their chests, but using this platform solely to take shots at, or spy on, your competition is most definitely not the best way to achieve competitive advantage overall. Rather, companies finding the highest levels of success across social platforms are those who use this opportunity to interact with consumers on a human level. Increasingly in this time of influencers, companies who show open displays of support for other businesses are especially able to leverage trusting, respectful customer loyalty that leads to far higher numbers of conversions. And, in most instances, you don’t once need to consider dirty tactics to enjoy the benefits on offer here.
This age of ecommerce has undeniably changed the face of competitive advantage but, as market in-points become harder to utilize, companies may increasingly find that these unique approaches to rivalry are far better poised to reap lasting results.