Know Thy Enemy: Developing a Strategy to Protect Category Leadership

Situation: Our client, one of the largest beverage companies in South America, had over 90% market share in two of its strongest and most profitable markets—Ecuador and Peru—and it faced virtually no competition in these countries. However, a formidable opponent announced its intention to geographically expand. The company needed to quickly develop a strategy to combat this intrusion.

Core Strategy Group’s Approach: To create a strategic defense against the new entrant, we conducted extensive competitive intelligence, realizing that the first step in anticipating the competitor’s future moves was to study its past ones. After developing a comprehensive checklist of informational needs and sources and crafting hypotheses for each item, we went to work. We researched how the competitor had entered previous markets, specifically how it positioned its product and what trade strategies it typically utilized. This involved interviewing the competitor’s past employees, customers and consumers to better understand what its future strategic initiatives and positioning would be. With extensive information on the competitor’s past and proposed moves, we built a comprehensive battle plan for our client that allowed them to control the dialogue with their consumers and solidify their leadership position in the marketplace.

Results: Our client was able to save over $100 million in shareholder value. Additionally, both threatened markets, Ecuador and Peru, withstood the introduction of the competition. In one of these two markets, the competition won only 5% market share a year after its entrance, compared to the 30% market share that it had gained during past expansions into new markets. In addition, in both markets our client was able to effectively launch a new product that preempted the competition’s introduction of an identical product days later to remain dominant and drive future growth.

The Core Strategy Group Difference: The problem that most companies face is that while markets have changed fundamentally, the practice of marketing has barely changed at all. Core Strategy Group combines traditional business focused marketing discipline with the aggressiveness and drive of an insurgent strategic model. It is a model built for clarity, speed and impact. This is the new model for companies who are serious about improving their market performance, revenues, share and return on marketing investment. It provides the most effective way for any organization to compete—and win.