Competitive Strategy

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Image courtesy of Wal-Mart.

Sustaining an Analytics Advantage

Many companies have maintained a competitive advantage through analytics for many years — even decades. Those companies include Wal-Mart, ABB Electric, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Amazon. Peter C. Bell (Ivey Business School) writes that "research over a 30-year period suggests that there have been five basic ways in which companies have sustained an advantage generated through analytics." Tactics include keeping your company's analytics secret and applying analytics to the right problems.

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The Other Talent War: Competing Through Alumni

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Companies increasingly recognize the value of maintaining good relationships with former employees. Recent research, however, reveals a new insight: It’s also wise to pay attention to what your competitors’ former employees are up to. "Many managers don’t typically think of previous employees in competitive terms (if at all), and have virtually no tools or frameworks to help them wage this talent war," write the authors.

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Is It Time to Hire a Chief Legal Strategist?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Here’s a strategic angle that most businesses don’t think about: how they can use the law to secure strategic business goals. Leading companies such as the Walt Disney Company have managed to deploy their legal departments to shape the legal environment in order to secure long-term competitive advantages. But approaching legal issues in sophisticated and creative ways isn’t generally a specialty of most C-suite executives. That’s where a “chief legal strategist” comes in.

Image courtesy of Dupont.

Bridging the Sustainability Gap

Most mainstream investors are unconvinced that sustainability leadership translates into profits and marketplace success. Despite rising importance on the corporate agenda, sustainability —as currently understood and measured — interests only a small niche of investors. The authors argue that a “back to basics” approach for measuring sustainability’s direct impact on revenue growth, productivity and risk would provide mainstream investors with the data that’s critical to their decisions.

Image courtesy of Flickr user mike fabio.

The High Price of Customer Satisfaction

No company can last for long without satisfied customers. But misguided attempts to improve satisfaction can damage a company’s financial health. Research finds that the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer spending behavior is very weak, and that the return on investments in increasing customer satisfaction is often trivial or even negative. What matters is how customers rank your brand in satisfaction relative to your competitors.

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Luminar Insights

Facing headwinds from a shifting media industry, executives at Spanish-language broadcasting company Entravision recognized the need to innovate their business model. To get there, they created Luminar, a big data insights division that utilizes about 2,000 external data points to deliver customized, transaction-based insights to marketers about Entravision’s Latino audience. The fastest-growing U.S. demographic, Latinos have amassed buying power worth more than a trillion dollars annually.

Image courtesy of AT&T.

Making Data Visible So You Can Act On It

At AT&T, John Schulz, a director of sustainability operations, had to make the company’s energy and water use data visible before the company could formulate a plan to reduce those numbers. The company’s definition has now broadened and evolved to include the social perspective on sustainability.

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A Question Every Manager Should Ask (Hint: It Has to Do With Megatrends)

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

The single best question companies should ask themselves is what megatrends are coming around the corner. That’s according to MIT Sloan’s Michael A. Cusumano. Two megatrends that stand out in the industries he studies: “the rising importance of industrywide platforms as opposed to stand-alone products, and the rising importance of services or service-like versions of products,” he says.

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Which Strategy When?

Markets are changing, competition is shifting and businesses are suffering or perhaps thriving. Whatever the immediate circumstances, corporate managers ask the same questions: Where do we go from here, and which strategy will get us there? To figure out when it makes sense to pursue strategies of position, leverage or opportunity, managers must understand their company’s immediate circumstances, take stock of their current resources and determine the relationships among the various resources.

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A new look at older technologies

  • Blog
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Conventional wisdom has it that companies whose markets are being transformed by disruptive new technologies need to figure out how to switch to the new dominant technology. But two researchers argue that an alternative strategy –one that involves rethinking opportunities for the old technology — can sometimes make sense.

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Innovating during a downturn

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In the last 12 months, “innovation has become more important, not less,” according to innovation expert Vijay Govindarajan.

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Learning from emerging markets

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Looking for new strategies for doing business in the recession? Consider strategies employed by companies from emerging markets — where economic volatility and constraints on consumer disposable income are commonplace.

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What Is Your Management Model?

Companies are experimenting with new business models, from examples like MinuteClinic, a pioneer in low-cost retail health care that treats everyday ailments inside a drugstore, to Joost.com, an innovator in Web-based TV operated by Joost Technologies B.V. of the Netherlands. But genuinely new business models are hard to come by. Companies are therefore on the lookout for new forms of competitive advantage. One emerging possibility is the idea that a company’s management model can become a source of advantage.

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Corporate Spheres of Influence

The design of a corporate portfolio should be based primarily on its strategic intent and desired competitive impact, that is, on how a select set of market positions builds a platform for growth while influencing the behavior of rivals and the structure of the industry.

Showing 1-20 of 37