Competitors are brands which offer same values to same customers. A brand can belong to many categories and have many different types of competitors. A smart phone or a car brand are not competing only with other smart phone or car brands, but with jewelry or luxury fashion items, because they offer the same value. In such situation different strategies can be implemented.
Here are three examples:
1) Members of one category organize themselves to compete against other categories, instead of competing between themselves. Example is Got milk! campaign by California Milk Processor Board. In this case Milk producers compete against other types of drinks or foods.
2) Single brand dominates the category and starts to promote the category rather than its own brand. As category grows in customers and revenue, its brand grows as well. Example is A Diamond Is Forever campaign by De Beers. As demand for diamonds grew De Beers benefited.
3) Brands become so well known that they lose their uniqueness and become a common word, thus becoming a category name. Examples are xeroxing, speedos, googling. We can say “best way to xerox is to use an HP”, “I really like my Arena speedos”, or “worst way to google something is Bing”. This is a negative example and not a desired strategy. Brands should implement strategies to avoid this from happening by striving to be unique, meaning offering unique value compared to their competitors.
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