How Do They Do It? Facebook and Apple’s Competitive Advantage
There’s a reason why youngsters flock to Facebook and diehard geeks go gaga over Apple products – these companies have managed to set themselves apart in their respective fields with their distinct features and style.
In a world where a person’s virtual life would be incomplete without a Facebook account, as an entrepreneur you’ll need to know about competitive advantages for your business to survive in the thriving market.
Any factor or aspect that helps your business attract more customers than your competitors can be termed as a competitive advantage. The interesting thing about competitive advantages is that they keep shifting and are temporary in nature. A company’s competitive advantage will have a shelf life, before which its competitors will brainstorm to come up with another angle through which they can make their product better.
Where Your Competitive Advantage Needs To Strike
In order to give your business an edge over your nearest competitors, you should target:
Cost is always a factor that you should keep in mind because although people enjoy splurging their money time and again, saving up is everyone’s major concern. Identifying the rates that your competitors are charging and tweaking around with your own rates by the side can help. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to eternally focus towards bringing your expenditure down.
Identify where you can cut down on your expenses – there’s a reason why Korean cars rule the roads and Made in China is a label that speaks volumes. But there’s a point beyond which you will not be able to bring down your costs profitably. This is when you should start focusing more on developing new features for existing prices.
While pricing is a short term solution, providing value for money is a long term strategy that works. Building a reputation for quality in your field is very important, because people won’t mind paying a bit more for something that they’re sure will be a good buy. Good quality along with great customer service can help you gain an enormous competitive advantage.
Consider a scenario where some brands of airlines provide the same services with the same level of quality for the same prices. The only aspect that will play a key role in a traveler’s selection will be the customer service provided.
Innovation is a key aspect in any business and only by adding improved and unique features will you be able to create a separate identity for your business. List out the concerns that your customers are bound to have and try and work out ways through which you can address these concerns without any increase in the original cost. Sometimes providing additional features that are not essential but attractive can also work wonders.
The Facebook Phenomenon – A Quick Study on Their Competitive Advantage
Facebook’s success story has been a very interesting one and this is clearly a company that has managed to create a competitive advantage in its field plainly by increasing the level of interaction between its users. The social networking scene is a volatile one where people frequently shift between providers and grow tired of individual websites quite easily.
Then why is Facebook the preferred social networking website?
The answer is simple, because the website has many aspects that work in its favor.
The interface in Facebook is a very simple one and the design is plain and easy to use. The colors used are basic white and blue, and the overall layout is neat and well spaced. This sets Facebook apart from the networking sites that are cluttered with obsolete tools.
Facebook promotes interaction between its users through many features including the Like feature, the Comments feature and the Sharing feature. Users can poke each other and send private as well as public messages. The above mentioned features are innovative and previously unknown ones that provide a clear competitive advantage.
The target market for Facebook is quite broad, and there’s something for everyone. From discussion pages to fan pages to groups, communities and applications and games, the Facebook scene is never boring. One major competitive advantage that Facebook holds is its role as a platform for many fun and interesting applications – as these applications are the biggest rage online.
Privacy and Trust
Facebook has managed to create an image that’s synonymous with trust and efficiency. People trust that their personal information will be safe with Facebook, as they’ll have full control over their profile and what they choose to display.
Facebook goes through an image revamp every single year, and new features are added and unpopular ones removed in a continuous process. Thanks to its popularity and its huge number of users, advertising in Facebook has become effective and popular and the website generates a lot of revenue through this.
The Apple Phenomenon – The i-Life’s Competitive Advantage
Resisting stiff competition from Sony and Microsoft, Apple has managed to create a distinct image for itself and has a wide section of followers who swear by its products. The scene at every Apple product launch is one worth noticing – Steve Jobs walks in dressed up in his trademark jeans and turtleneck tee and lists out the key details about the product in a lucid and point blank way.
Apple products mainly work because of the following factors:
The Hardware Design
The engineers at Apple understand what people want and the designs of Apple products are simple – so much so that it’s become their signature style. Apple products are known for their aesthetics – clean and elegant looks coupled with compact sizing. IMacs and iPods are packed with significant features (like the power button on the screen) that make the user experience easier.
Dynamic Product Line
Creating a standalone product that’s a onetime hit is not the ideal way to go; as this will not help you sustain your competitive advantage. How can you ensure that customers keep coming back for more? Well, ask Apple. Apple’s strategy is the same – it creates a breakthrough initial product that defines an entire genre, and then the company builds on the same product and adds new features every now and then so that several upgraded versions of the same are available. The products evolve, and so do the customers.
The Marketing Campaigns
Apple is famed for its marketing campaigns, and their advertisements are never too aggressive or blunt. Rather than listing out the features of the iMac or the iPod, the advertisements talk about how the gadget can make your life easier, giving you reasons galore to buy the same.
This, when compared to the lackluster campaigns run by other giants like Microsoft and Dell, turns into a competitive advantage. The logos in all Apple laptops light up when the laptop is in use. This may seem trivial, but imagine the impact that the logo will have on a prospective customer who’s walking by a person using a Mac. Even most movies and TV shows feature Apple products passively – that’s efficient marketing for you!
Maintaining your competitive advantage in the market can be hard atleast initially, but that’s the mark of a successful business. All you need to do is capitalize on your competitor’s weaknesses, keep your customers’ qualms in mind and work towards making your product better in a cost effective way.