- Research Feature
- Read Time: 25 min
The sale of branded products through unauthorized channels is a growing problem for suppliers. A three-pronged approach can help them fight back.
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Kellogg‘s profit margins and the stature of its brands both declined throughout the 1990s. A wake-up call came in 1999 when the venerable company lost market leadership. The author describes how it embarked upon an ambitious and, for the food industry, novel strategy, emphasizing profit and value over volume and employing compensation and organization strategies to help cascade the change through the company and re-establish its innovativeness, profitability and reputation.
Every company lives in fear of competitors that offer seemingly similar products for much lower prices. Dealing with such discounters is no simple matter, as Hewlett-Packard, May Department Stores, Salomon Brothers and others have discovered. Nevertheless, various strategies — ignoring or blocking the competitor, strengthening your value proposition or even strategic retreat — can help slow or even stop the low-end competitor without destroying the industry’s profit margins.
Does the belief that a manager‘s overriding duty is to maximize shareholder returns encourage socially destructive actions by corporations? Employing economic, legal and behavioral analyses, the author concludes that, although the shareholder theory is often inaccurately maligned, stakeholder theory may be more conducive to curbing the kind of impropriety seen at Enron and Global Crossing.
How do you compete with opponents that have size, strength and history on their side? The authors use Palm Computing (later Palm Inc.) to illustrate how the core principles of judo strategy — movement, balance and leverage. The offer lessons and specific techniques that other companies can emulate in order to compete successfully with a stronger player.
The Internet has created new markets, customers, products and modes of conducting business. The authors explain why seven popular strategies are not the path to profitable growth and provide thoughtful guidelines for avoiding misconceptions and taking a sensible approach to business on the Internet.
The more companies outsource, the more they approach virtual organization, with knowledge centers interacting through mutual interest and electronic systems. To mitigate the risks associated with reduced authority, companies must develop “best in world” capabilities, leverage the capabilities of others and innovate constantly. The author shows how to slash innovation cycle times and costs by 60%-90% and develop the full potential of intellectual outsourcing.
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