Business strategy is all about competitive advantage. An brilliant strategy is be both unique and sustainable. If it’s not unique, then you’re simply running the same race as your competitors. And if it’s not sustainable, then it will be replicated and no longer be an advantage.
For some companies, technology, innovation and operational excellence are good sources of competitive advantage. Making them sustainable is the bigger challenge.
One of the smartest moves Kodak made had nothing to do with those sources of competitive advantage. They already were low-cost producers of high-quality film; but so was Fuji. Somehow they needed to differentiate their box of film from Fuji’s, in a way that loaded-up value for consumers. What they did was to shift the focus from film to memories by developing marketing messages about “Kodak moments.” It created tremendous value in the mind of consumers — value that lasted until digital cameras changed both the technology and the use of images.
What are you doing to create sustainable value for your customers?