The Importance of Crediting the Competition

I’ve previously written about the importance of properly identifying the competition.  However, that post didn’t go far enough.  It’s not enough to simply know who the competition is, you must know why the competition is.  You must become their biggest proponent, take a walk on the dark side and sympathize with rival supporters.

In other words “to beat one, you must become one”…

Take business.

Sunkist Naturals is a Silicon Valley start-up that astonishingly sells juice rather than technology.  A large part of their success can be directly attributed to their obsession over the competition – from production to marketing.  For example, the size of the company was determined by being small enough to create a quality product – e.g. use premium ingredients and a state-of-the-art packaging facility with 0 oxygen – but large enough to get their product on the shelves of 5,000 stores nationwide.

Sunkist Naturals understands the pros and cons of being a large manufacturer/distributor in their vertical and effectively positioned themselves to enjoy the best of both worlds (sizable distribution while maintaining quality standards).

Thanks to Robert Scoble for the tip on these guys

Take politics.

Imagine how effective a candidate’s speech would be if it took the following form:

Today I’m going to talk about X.  My opponent’s policy is a,b,c.  People support that policy because d,e,f.  People criticize that policy because h,i,j.

My policy is z,y,x.  People support my policy because w,v,u.  People criticize my policy because t,s,r.

Ultimately, my opponent’s policy is good because k,l,m.  However, I believe my policy is better because I value p,o,n more than k,l,m.

(as an interesting aside notice how difficult it is to read examples in reverse alphabetical order – i.e. the second paragraph – as opposed to those in alphabetical order)

The best thing a politician could do to is give his/her opponent’s policies the strongest possible support and then explain why his or her own policies are still better.  What then could be the opponent’s response – you did a better job explaining my own position than I have…?

Identify, understand, and support the competition.  Then worry about beating them


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