The Brand, The Competition, and The Disruptor


by Mathew Slavica | via Linkedin |

Do you really have competitors? Is it important to constantly watch what they are doing and try to second-guess what they might do next. If you are the leader in your industry are you watching over your shoulder to see who is following you? Alternatively, if you are number 2 in your market, are you looking up at the No 1 and saying, I wish we were like them, or they do not deserve their position.

When I talk with clients or individuals who’s focus is primarily on the competition, I get frustrated. To focus this way on your competition is a bad use of limited resources and time. Let me explain:

1. Your market or clients only care about what you are doing, and what you are able to offer them.

2. True innovation only occurs in a business when they look for problems to solve in their industry and for their clients. You will not find a competitive advantage modelling your competition.

3. Offering the same solutions as your competitors only leads to pricing as leverage to win business or clients.

4. A business focused on client and customer needs is far more likely to be successful than one that is just modelling another business.

5. It is a distraction, and you will get drawn into their frame of reference for the world. Meaning they could be wrong, and you will be right there beside them failing at the same time.

6. It is a negative type of focus, concern based; price based; feature and function based. It robs from the creative mindset.

7. It is easy to do. The things that are worth doing are usually hard to do.

Worst still, it opens you up to be disrupted. When Uber came into the market did they ask, who are the major players in the transportation industry? Did they ask how do we buy a fleet of Taxi’s or Town Car’s so we can compete?

No Uber created a mobile app. Think about that for a second. They disrupted the transportation industry in the US and now across the world with an “App” and a number of willing participants.

Their app solves a problem (tap a button get picked up in minutes) that existed around timeand certainty.

Time and Certainty Benefits of Uber

Time & Certainty: One tap to ride. It uses your phones GPS to detect your location and connects you to the closest vehicle. You do not even need to know where you are.

Certainty: You can track the driver, call the driver if you need to (face and name provided), and they will SMS you when they arrive.

Certainty: Clear pricing, you can enter your pick up and drop off locations to get a quote for your trip.

Time: Your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file, and they e-mail you a receipt.

Certainty: You can rate your driver, and your experience. I would have loved this feature for some of the Taxi rides I have had.

Time & Certainty: You can invite your friends to opt into the ride, and the fare will be split equally across each individual.

Uber started in March of 2009. It is currently now valued at $18 billion dollars, and raised $1.2 billion in funding on 6 June 2014.

Marc Andreessen is quoted as saying to CNET “Uber is software eats taxis, it’s a killer experience.”

Software that eats taxis, not a taxi company that beat another taxi company.

While brands watch their competition, Uber and companies alike are solving bigger problems. Uber is giving back to the individual time and certainty. Our most valuable resource as individuals is time. Worth a premium?

Your challenge is not your competition; it is that you think about your competition.

Mathew Slavica is the Founder of Digital Stand, a Sydney Social Media Agency. We focus on social media to drive meaningful engagement for the most innovative companies.@mathewslavica 

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