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Offensive strategy

Offensive strategy

Vinnie JonesThe offensive strategy can be considered by the number two players in the market. It does however come with a serious health warning and should only be considered by those number twos who prepared to take a big risk to displacing the incumbent and secure market leadership. For most number twos, a flanking strategy is the less risky route to capturing the throne.

The key principles of an offensive strategy are:

  • To build share out of the leader’s defects, not the challenger’s merits.
  • To identify the weakness in the leader’s strength.
  • To launch the attack at the point of weakness in the strength.
  • To hold nothing in reserve – this is a high risk do or die strategy.

Procter and Gamble wrestled market leadership from Unilever’s Persil brand in the 1990’s by creating a portfolio of carefully positioned brands (Ariel – superior cleaning, Bold – cleaning and softness), Daz (value for money cleaning) and Fairy (non-biological cleaning with care) that over time nibbled away at Persil’s dominant ‘cleaning with care’ position. It is difficult to defend a position when being heavily attacked from all sides over a succession of years.

In the early 1990’s, the North American division of United Biscuits, a highly regarded FTSE 100 Plc at the time, decided to launch simultaneous head-on attacks against its largest competitor in one market and its largest competitor in another market. Great pain ensued and not just for the North American division. To survive, the Plc was forced one by one to dispose of its international operations and retrench to its core UK and Northern European markets. In 2000, it succumbed to a take-over. Today, it a shadow of its former self having retrenched even further to its UK biscuits core.

An offensive strategy is not for the faint-hearted.

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