Negatives to Positives: Creating A Competitive Advantage in a Declining Market


Situation: As a make-or-break snow season approached, Aspen/Snowmass Ski Resort’s faced an unenviable problem: Its exclusive reputation and remote locale was hurting, more than helping, its overall business. An upmarket, albeit out-of-the-way, winter paradise made up of four ski/snowboard areas owned by Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen Snowmass was viewed by skiers as expensive and unapproachable. The company also faced an overall ski industry in decline as well as increased competition from nearby resorts.

Core Strategy Group’s Approach: Aspen/Snowmass needed to reposition itself and find ways to attain new customers in a hurry. We started with research, in-depth interviews and hypotheses testing, which identified several distinct segments the resort should target. Further analysis uncovered breakthrough insights that, in the client’s words, “completely changed the way we thought about our business” and led to the development of a new brand architecture and positioning. By tapping into key customer benefits and then repositioning Aspen/ Snowmass’ remote location as a competitive advantage, the client was able to refocus its efforts and deliver a new brand promise across the entire company. From resort reservations and operations to ski school and restaurant staffers, the new positioning came to life.

Results: With their new brand positioning in tow across multiple touch points, the results were remarkable. Earnings lifted 36%. The company was rated the #1 resort in the U.S. by Skiing magazine for the first time ever. Even though the competition was cutting prices, Aspen/Snowmass’ sales were up and customers were thrilled.

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.