The Competitive Matrix seminar - insights on identifying competition

By , agencyfaqs! | In | September 01, 2003
Lines dividing categories are getting hazier, implying that apart from traditional rivals, there are many others, who don't seem to appear within a brand's competitive set, to fend off

"Recognise what business you are in," asserted Jayant Kochar, managing director, Amoretto's Retail Pvt Ltd, at the satellite seminar 'The Competitive Matrix' held on August 29, 2003, across 23 cities in the country. Presented by agencyfaqs! and Direcway Global Education, part of Hughes Escorts Communications Ltd, the seminar highlighted how the traditional belief that competition ensues from a small set of players within a certain category is not tenable any longer. "Many brands and companies define their markets too narrowly," said Rahul Kansal, director in charge of the Times of India brand, who along with Kochar, were the two guest speakers at the four-hour seminar.

Kansal emphasised the need to broaden one's business definition to preempt competition from unknown areas as well as to avoid the possibility of being trapped in an obsolete segment. "But first, establishing credentials in a narrowly defined market enables one to explore a broader definition," he said.

Cartoon character Disney, for instance, is a necessary precursor to Disneyland, he pointed out. Taking a cue from the same example, he charted a three-step ladder to defining one's market using the product functionality, terminal product benefit and terminal value to the consumer.

Going by the above parameters, Raymond, for instance, can identify competition within its product functionality, which is suitings, from brands such as Digjam, OCM or Dinesh. From the terminal product benefit, which is quality dressing for men, Raymond has a broader canvas including suitings and readymade garments.

The last parameter takes into account everything that goes into male grooming including suitings, readymade clothing, toiletries, perfumes, fashion accessories. "However, expanding to new categories within the same core brand value is often better than expanding within the same physical category but without synergies with one's core value," he said.

Vatika Hair Oil, for example, is better off with a range of herbal products across categories rather than trying to occupy every niche within hair care, he said.

Drawing from his TOI experience, Kansal highlighted how the paper attempted to reinvent itself with "far wider content - whether it is local or human-interest stories, news digests, summaries, infographics, colour, cartoons and overall packaging".

"Stories are far more crisper," he pointed out. This, he claimed was a result of expanding the business definition from provision of news to empowering readers to realise their dreams and master their concerns, whatever they may be. "With the advent of TV and Internet, the consumer is a trigger-happy zapper who wants to be in charge and have news on demand," he said. "He is not just content with politics and other weightier subjects but is actively seeking information on leisure, entertainment, travel and careers."

Kochar of Amoretto dwelled on the need to identify one's area of competence before proceeding to tempt a consumer. "Remember, you could well be in the business of time saving," he said.

Barista, for example, is not just about serving hot coffee but a place to be being seen at, which is why the café sports huge glass frames promoting open visibility. South West Airlines, which is a Texas air-carrier flying to different parts of the US, has a funky image visible in the colourful manner in which the planes are painted or the in-flight service is offered, he said. "You need to define your vision, create your positioning statement and define brand character to tempt a consumer," he added. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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