Multiple blades. Three vibration settings. Bigger, better, more complex razors. It seemed like the market for men’s razors was headed towards increasingly high tech and even higher prices. Yet, the Dollar Shave Club – which started out with just five employees – went up against bigger companies like Gillette by competing differently.
From its irreverent and decidedly un-corporate video – which went viral just weeks after its launch in early 2012 – to its value proposition of offering monthly deliveries of high-quality, low-tech razors, the Dollar Shave Club is competing on its own terms against corporate Goliaths – and winning. In fact, while the Dollar Shave Club video has racked up more than 13 million views and an ever-expanding clientele, Gillette has been losing business.
Need more proof that companies who refuse to compete the way competitors expect, can earn higher-than-average margins?
Bessemer Trust Company committed to an exclusive focus on serving high-net-worth families, knowing that full service banks would not want to compete on that level. With one employee for every three clients, Bessemer delivers a level of service that Bank of America cannot match. And Bessemer earns margins that are unheard of for a bank.
Of course, intentionally competing differently is hard. We naturally look to industry leaders to identify business tactics we can adopt. But competing differently is a critical component of a Big Strategy – an approach that allows smaller companies to earn higher margins and to become more formidable competitors.
To begin thinking how you might be able to compete differently, ask yourself:
- Can we serve an underserved market—one that the big boys have forgotten (or ignored)?
- Can we sell around legacy channels?
- Can we elevate and enhance one aspect of our offering to emphasize our competitive difference?
Oh, and by the way, Gillette is now offering a shave club – taking a page out of the Dollar Shave Club’s book. Proof positive that David can teach Goliath a lesson on winning in a competitive marketplace.
Need help finding a way to grow more profitably or compete for effectively? Check out my Quick Start Strategy Sessions that includes working directly with you and your team to identify opportunities to increase your competitiveness, sharpen current strategies and formulate a more formidable competitive position.