How do great companies grow in a crowded marketplace?
It's fascinating how Rolls Royce and Bentley have managed to carve out their own niches, despite both belonging to the “luxury car market”.
Rolls Royce and Bentley - Prospering and Growing
Both Rolls Royce and Bentley have found viable business models. But this was not always the case. Up until the late 1980s, the cars were very much competing for the same customers, with Bentley effectively a rebadged Rolls Royce.
The two brands started to migrate apart before they were separated under different ownership in 1998, but the gap widened significantly thereafter. Bentley (owned by VW) and Rolls Royce (owned by BMW) charted very different courses.
Rolls Royce and Bentley have developed their own very distinct identities, such that their offerings now hardly overlap.
As a result, they are both prospering and growing. And most importantly - competing on their own terms.
The big question – How have they achieved this?
It's not been by accident, both brands have developed their individual elements of differentiation around the specific needs and desires of their target customers. These elements have been underpinned by building ever stronger competences to support them.
The key point is what they haven’t done, is try to be all things to all people.
I think this is a great example of how companies can survive and grow sustainably despite what at first appears to be a crowded market place.
So, how can we use this to shape our own futures?
We can all apply the basic principles to our own businesses – and it starts with identifying who our target customers are.
Good Fit Customers
Often a good place to start is our current “good fit” customers (i.e. those that yield good margins and value what we do).
Why Customers Buy
Secondly, dig deep to really understand why your target customers are buying, but be aware this is not always what they tell you.
Find Core Competences
Thirdly, determine the competences that support these buying criteria and assess your capabilities against your competitors.
Improve Core Competences
Develop a competence improvement plan to strengthen and differentiate your business both now and into the future.
And perhaps last, but not least, we must ensure we deliver the plan!
About the Author: Tony Prouse
Tony Prouse is a well-respected strategic mentor. From his personal experience and through his work with the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge University, Tony has been instrumental in developing strategies for a wide range of businesses.
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