|November 2, 2012|
Previously published on October 23, 2012
Businesses having strategic advantages over their competitors will take market share. Think of a business as engaged in a series of battles in a long war, a war with many competitors and few allies, all competing for market share. Each business needs to gird itself with the warware it needs for market share battles, that is to say, with intellectual property. Battles will be won and lost; market share will change hands often. But the prize is always market share and it will go to the competitor with the most powerful intellectual property.
Intellectual property includes know-how, innovation, message, and reputation. These are the warware of a business. The advantage goes to the possessor of the better warware. The more powerful its warware, the greater its advantage in the fight for market share.
No business can compete for market share without an army, but the army of employees and management must have formidable know-how. This army must be trained and disciplined, organized into teams each with their different capabilities. Most importantly, the business army needs management with a vision of the competitive battlefield that enables them to see the strategic high ground and to formulate effective marketing strategies for each battle. To execute this strategy, management must have the leadership to command the respect of their employees.
A business needs to innovate. It cannot fight today's battles for market share with yesterday's tactics. It needs the advantage of surprise coming from innovation. It needs smart products and services, new channels of delivery, and a demonstrably better value proposition than its competitors.
A business needs a message for its army of employees, a message that overcomes resistance, that persuades and motivates, that gives heart. The message to employees must embody a clear and compelling vision. The business must also have a message for its customers, namely, a superior value proposition.
A business needs a reputation. Its competitors should have a profound respect for that reputation, knowing that they will have to work as hard and smart to acquire a reputation that rivals it. Customers should welcome the new products and services of a business as they would welcome a liberator, the reputation of the previous products and services of that business having preceded them.
Intellectual property is warware for market share. The business that fails to arm itself with intellectual property will lose battles, because its employees will do shoddy work, its management will be indifferent, its products, undistinguished, its message, unheeded and garbled, its reputation, tawdry, and it will see its market share crumble and blow away in the wind.