Three Ways to Distinguish Yourself from Rivals

If your company does a lot of benchmarking, you may be perpetuating "competitive convergence," whereby players become less and less distinguishable from each other. To avoid this outcome, articulate your "strategic positioning"--the ways in which you perform different activities from rivals or perform similar activities in different ways.

You can define your strategic position in one of three ways: 1) serve few needs of many customers (for example, Jiffy Lube provides only auto lubricants), 2) serve broad needs of few customers (Bessemer Trust targets only very high wealth clients), or 3) serve broad needs of many customers in a narrow market (Carmike Cinemas operates only in cities with populations under 200,000).

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  September 11, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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