BusinessLevel Strategy: Competitive and Cooperative Moves

CHAPTER 6
Supporting the BusinessLevel Strategy: Competitive
and Cooperative Moves
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After reading this chapter, you should be able to understand and articulate answers to the following
questions:
1. What different competitive moves are commonly used by firms?
2. When and how do firms respond to the competitive actions taken by their rivals?
3. What moves can firms make to cooperate with other firms and create mutual benefits?
Can Merck Stay Healthy?
The financial stakes are high for Merck and its rivals in the pharmaceutical industry.
© Thinkstock
On June 7, 2011, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Company Inc. announced the formation of a strategic alliance
with Roche Holding AG, a smaller pharmaceutical firm that is known for excellence in medical testing. The
firms planned to work together to create tests that could identify cancer patients who might benefit from
cancer drugs that Merck had under development.[1]
This was the second alliance formed between the companies in less than a month. On May 16, 2011, the
US Food and Drug Administration approved a drug called Victrelis that Merck had developed to treat hepatitis
C. Merck and Roche agreed to promote Victrelis together. This surprised industry experts because Merck and
Roche had offered competing treatments for hepatitis C in the past. The Merck/Roche alliance was expected
to help Victrelis compete for market share with a new treatment called Incivek that was developed by a team
of two other pharmaceutical firms: Vertex and Johnson & Johnson.
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Experts predicted that Victrelis’s wholesale price of $1,100 for a week’s supply could create $1 billion of
annual revenue. This could be an important financial boost to Merck, although the company was already
enormous. Merck’s total of $46 billion in sales in 2010 included approximately $5.0 billion in revenues from
asthma treatment Singulair, $3.3 billion for two closely related diabetes drugs, $2.1 billion for two closely
related blood pressure drugs, and $1.1 billion for an HIV/AIDS treatment.
Despite these impressive numbers, concerns about Merck had reduced the price of the firm’s stock from
nearly $60 per share at the start of 2008 to about $36 per share by June 2011. A big challenge for Merck is that
once the patent on a drug expires, its profits related to that drug plummet because generic drugmakers can
start selling the drug. The patent on Singulair expired in the summer of 2012, for example. By mid-2013, the
loss of this patent had hurt sales of Singulair more than Merck had anticipated.[2]
A major step in the growth of Merck was the 2009 acquisition of drugmaker Schering-Plough. By 2013,
Merck ranked fifty-eighth on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies. Rivals Pfizer (forty-eighth) and
Johnson & Johnson (forty-first) still remained bigger than Merck, however. Important questions also loomed
large. Would the competitive and cooperative moves made by Merck’s executives keep the firm healthy? Or
would expiring patents, fearsome rivals, and other challenges undermine Merck’s vitality?
Friedrich Jacob Merck had no idea that he was setting the stage for such immense stakes when he took
the first steps toward the creation of Merck. He purchased a humble pharmacy in Darmstadt, Germany, in
1688. In 1827, the venture moved into the creation of drugs when Heinrich Emanuel Merck, a descendant of
Friedrich, created a factory in Darmstadt in 1827. The modern version of Merck was incorporated in 1891. More
than three hundred years after its beginnings, Merck now has approximately ninety-four thousand employees.
Merck’s origins can be traced back more than three centuries to Friedrich Jacob Merck’s purchase of this
pharmacy in 1688.
Source: Image courtesy of Wikimedia, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/ENGEL_APHOTHEKE.png.
For executives leading firms such as Merck, selecting a generic strategy is a key aspect of business-level
strategy, but other choices are very important too. In their ongoing battle to make their firms more successful,
executives must make decisions about what competitive moves to make, how to respond to rivals’
competitive moves, and what cooperative moves to make. This chapter discusses some of the more powerful
and interesting options. As the situation faced by Merck illustrates, often another company, such as Roche, will
be a potential ally in some instances and a potential rival in others.
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1. MAKING COMPETITIVE MOVES
FIGURE 6.1 Making Competitive Moves
Source: Image courtesy of 663highland, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Enchoen27n3200.jpg.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 163
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first mover
An initial entrant into a
market.
first-mover advantage
When the initial move into a
market allows a firm to
establish a dominant position
that other firms struggle to
overcome.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of being a first mover.
2. Know how disruptive innovations can change industries.
3. Describe two ways that using foothold can benefit firms.
4. Explain how firms can win without fighting using a blue ocean strategy.
5. Describe the creative process of bricolage.
1.1 Being a First Mover: Advantages and Disadvantages
FIGURE 6.2 First Mover Advantage
© Thinkstock
A famous cliché contends that “the early bird gets the worm.” Applied to the business world, the cliché
suggests that certain benefits are available to a first mover into a market that will not be available to
later entrants (Figure 6.1). A first-mover advantage exists when making the initial move into a market allows a firm to establish a dominant position that other firms struggle to overcome (Figure 6.2).
For example, Apple’s creation of a user-friendly, small computer in the early 1980s helped fuel a reputation for creativity and innovation that persists today. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was able to develop a strong bond with Chinese officials by being the first Western restaurant chain to enter China.
Today, KFC is the leading Western fast-food chain in this rapidly growing market. Genentech’s early
development of biotechnology allowed it to overcome many of the pharmaceutical industry’s traditional entry barriers (such as financial capital and distribution networks) and become a profitable firm. Decisions to be first movers helped all three firms to be successful in their respective industries.[3]
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On the other hand, a first mover cannot be sure that customers will embrace its offering, making a
first move inherently risky. Apple’s attempt to pioneer the personal digital assistant market, through its
Newton, was a financial disaster. The first mover also bears the costs of developing the product and
educating customers. Others may learn from the first mover’s successes and failures, allowing them to
cheaply copy or improve the product. In creating the Palm Pilot, for example, 3Com was able to build
on Apple’s earlier mistakes. Matsushita often refines consumer electronic products, such as compact
disc players and projection televisions, after Sony or another first mover establishes demand. In many
industries, knowledge diffusion and public-information requirements make such imitation increasingly
easy.
One caution is that first movers must be willing to commit sufficient resources to follow through
on their pioneering efforts. RCA and Westinghouse were the first firms to develop active-matrix LCD
display technology, but their executives did not provide the resources needed to sustain the products
spawned by this technology. Today, these firms are not even players in this important business segment
that supplies screens for notebook computers, camcorders, medical instruments, and many other
products.
To date, the evidence is mixed regarding whether being a first mover leads to success. One research study of 1,226 businesses over a fifty-five-year period found that first movers typically enjoy an
advantage over rivals for about a decade, but other studies have suggested that first moving offers little
or no advantages.
Perhaps the best question that executives can ask themselves when deciding whether to be a first
mover is, how likely is this move to provide my firm with a sustainable competitive advantage? First
moves that build on strategic resources such as patented technology are difficult for rivals to imitate
and thus are likely to succeed. For example, Pfizer enjoyed a monopoly in the erectile dysfunction market for five years with its patented drug Viagra before two rival products (Cialis and Levitra) were developed by other pharmaceutical firms. Despite facing stiff competition, Viagra continues to raise
about $1.9 billion in sales for Pfizer annually.[4]
In contrast, E-Trade Group’s creation in 2003 of the portable mortgage seemed doomed to fail because it did not leverage strategic resources. This innovation allowed customers to keep an existing
mortgage when they move to a new home. Bigger banks could easily copy the portable mortgage if it
gained customer acceptance, undermining E-Trade’s ability to profit from its first move.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 165
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disruptive innovation
An improvement that
conflicts with, and threatens
to replace, traditional
approaches to competing
within an industry.
1.2 Disruptive Innovation
FIGURE 6.3 Shaking the Market with Disruptive Innovations
© Thinkstock
Some firms have the opportunity to shake up their industry by introducing a disruptive innovation—an innovation that conflicts with, and threatens to replace, traditional approaches to competing
within an industry (Figure 6.4). Smartphones, for example, have wreaked havoc on the video camera
industry, for example. The Flip video camera was introduced in 2007 by a start-up firm as a small, inexpensive, and easy-to-use digital video recorder. The firm sold two million Flips before being acquired
by Cisco Systems in 2009 for a whopping $590 million. Despite this massive investment, Cisco decided
to shut down Flip production in 2011. Demand had dried up because consumers could now shoot
good-quality video on their smartphones.[5]
The iPad has proved to be a disruptive innovation since its introduction by Apple in 2010. Many
individuals quickly abandoned clunky laptop computers in favor of the sleek tablet format offered by
the iPad. And as a first mover, Apple was able to claim a large share of the market.
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FIGURE 6.4
Two million Flip video cameras were sold from 2007 to 2009, but by 2011 there was no reason for consumers to
carry these cameras around. Smartphones had disrupted the video camera business and killed off Flip.
Source: Photo courtesy of Alex.muller, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flip_Video.jpg.
The iPad story is unusual, however. Most disruptive innovations are not overnight sensations. Typically, a small group of customers embrace a disruptive innovation as early adopters and then a critical
mass of customers builds over time. An example is digital cameras. Few photographers embraced digital cameras initially because they took pictures slowly and offered poor picture quality relative to traditional film cameras. As digital cameras have improved, however, they have gradually won over almost
everyone that takes pictures. Executives who are deciding whether to pursue a disruptive innovation
must first make sure that their firm can sustain itself during an initial period of slow growth. And they
need to be wary of future disruptive innovations—many consumers use smartphones to take photographs rather than relying on a digital camera.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) may be a threat to disrupt higher education. In
2009, SNHU was a small (2,000 students) university facing big challenges: falling enrollment, little
brand identity, and a shaky financial situation. The president of SNHU, Paul LeBlanc, happened to be
friends with a Harvard professor named Clayton Christensen whose book, The Innovator’s Dilemma,
introduced the concept of disruptive innovation. After consulting with Christensen, LeBlanc decided
that SNHU could offer a quality, inexpensive college education while boosting graduation rates. As of
early 2014, SNHU offered 180 programs to its 34,000 students. Undercutting rivals such as the
University of Phoenix on tuition, using data analytics to identify which SNHU students are struggling,
and relying on low-paid adjunct instructors rather than full-time professors are a few of the elements
that have been central to this success. SNHU does not seem likely to put other universities out of business like smartphones did to Flip video, but the SNHU approach is leading administrators at other
schools to ask hard questions about the traditional model of higher education.[6] Chances are that the
president of your university is exploring how online offerings at your university can be run better and
perhaps expanded in order to improve your education.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 167
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foothold
A small position that a firm
intentionally establishes
within a market in which it
does not yet compete.
1.3 Footholds
FIGURE 6.5 Footholds
Sources: Images courtesy of OiMax, http://www.flickr.com/photos/oimax/118738898/ (top left); National Archive USA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
File:Normandy_Invasion,_June_1944.jpg (bottom right); other images © Thinkstock.
In warfare, many armies establish small positions in geographic territories that they have not occupied
previously. These footholds provide value in at least two ways (Figure 6.5). First, owning a foothold can
dissuade other armies from attacking in the region. Second, owning a foothold gives an army a quick
strike capability in a territory if the army needs to expand its reach.
Similarly, some organizations find it valuable to establish footholds in certain markets. Within the
context of business, a foothold is a small position that a firm intentionally establishes within a market
in which it does not yet compete.[7] Swedish furniture seller IKEA is a firm that relies on footholds.
When IKEA enters a new country, it opens just one store. This store is then used as a showcase to establish IKEA’s brand. Once IKEA gains brand recognition in a country, more stores are established.[8]
Pharmaceutical giants such as Merck often obtain footholds in emerging areas of medicine. In
December 2010, for example, Merck purchased SmartCells Inc., a company that was developing a possible new treatment for diabetes. In May 2011, Merck acquired an equity stake in BeiGene Ltd., a
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blue ocean strategy
Creating a new, untapped
market rather than
competing with rivals in an
existing market.
Chinese firm that was developing novel cancer treatments and detection methods. Competitive moves
such as these offer Merck relatively low-cost platforms from which it can expand if clinical studies reveal that the treatments are effective.
A British-owned restaurant chain called Pret A Manger—which means “ready to eat” in
French—has established a foothold in the very competitive U.S. fast food market. The firm emphasizes
customer service and employee welfare. As a result, Pret A Manger’s workforce turnover is about 60
percent per year, far better than the 300 to 400 percent annual rates suffered by most fast food companies. As of May 2014, the firm had more than three dozen outlets in New York City, three in Boston,
nine in Chicago, and seven in Washington, DC. If Pret A Manger continues to succeed in the United
States, it could build upon the lessons it learns from operating this four-city foothold in order to spread
across the country, much as IKEA has done.[9]
Research Round-Up
© Thinkstock
Footholds: How Often Are They Used as Launching Pads for Expansion?
Although IKEA has expanded from its footholds, not all firms follow this path. A recent study of the computer
industry identified 285 footholds that firms had established. Over a period of three years, eighty-five attempts
were made to grow a firm’s foothold through such actions as lowering prices, launching a new promotional
campaign, introducing a new product, or acquiring a competitor. Meanwhile, seventy-four of the footholds
were shut down during the three-year period. More than 100 of the 285 footholds simply did nothing during
the study.
These findings illustrate the options that are created for firms when they establish footholds. Some footholds
are maintained in case they might be needed in the future. Others end up serving as launching pads for new
competitive moves. When a foothold outlives its usefulness or becomes too expensive to maintain, the firm
that established the foothold is likely to shut it down.
Source: Upson, J., Ketchen, D. J., Connelly, B., & Ranft, A. 2012. Competitor analysis and foothold moves.
Academy of Management Journal, 55, 93–110.
1.4 Blue Ocean Strategy
It is best to win without fighting.
– Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
A blue ocean strategy involves creating a new, untapped market rather than competing with rivals in
an existing market.[10] This strategy follows the approach recommended by the ancient master of
strategy Sun-Tzu in the quote above. Instead of trying to outmaneuver its competition, a firm using a
blue ocean strategy tries to make the competition irrelevant (Figure 6.6). Baseball legend Wee Willie
Keeler offered a similar idea when asked how to become a better hitter: “Hit ’em where they ain’t.” In
other words, hit the baseball where there are no fielders rather than trying to overwhelm the fielders
with a ball hit directly at them.
Nintendo openly acknowledges following a blue ocean strategy in its efforts to invent new markets.
In 2006, Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo’s vice president of marketing and corporate affairs for Nintendo of
America noted in an interview, “We’re making games that are expanding our base of consumers in
Japan and America. Yes, those who’ve always played games are still playing, but we’ve got people
who’ve never played to start loving it with titles like Nintendogs, Animal Crossing and Brain Games.
These games are blue ocean in action.”[11] Other examples of companies creating new markets include
FedEx’s invention of the fast-shipping business and eBay’s invention of online auctions.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 169
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The owners of One Flew South have successfully applied a blue ocean strategy by locating their
high-end restaurant featuring fresh sushi, contemporary southern fare, and craft cocktails in the Atlanta airport rather than where premier establishments are usually placed—the city center or crowded
suburbs. After bringing their unique offerings to a space that is full of hungry people but is seldom pursued by high-end restaurants, One Flew South has been named one of ten great best airport restaurants
as well as the top restaurant bar in the world.[12]
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FIGURE 6.6 Blue Ocean Strategy
© Thinkstock
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 171
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bricolage
Using whatever materials and
resources happen to be
available as the inputs into a
creative process.
Actor Johnny Depp uses
bricolage when creating a
character. Captain Jack
Sparrow, for example,
combines aspects of Rolling
Stones guitarist Keith
Richards and cartoon skunk
Pepé Le Pew.
Source: Reproduced with permission
from Ketchen, D. J., Short, J. C.,
Combs, J. G., & Terrell, W. 2011.
Tales of Garcón: The Franchise
Players. Irvington, NY: Flat World
Knowledge.
1.5 Bricolage
Bricolage is a concept that is borrowed from the arts and that, like blue ocean strategy, stresses moves
that create new markets. Bricolage means using whatever materials and resources happen to be available as the inputs into a creative process. A good example is offered by one of the greatest inventions in
the history of civilization: the printing press. As noted in the Wall Street Journal, “The printing press is
a classic combinatorial innovation. Each of its key elements—the movable type, the ink, the paper and
the press itself—had been developed separately well before Johannes Gutenberg printed his first Bible
in the 15th century. Movable type, for instance, had been independently conceived by a Chinese blacksmith named Pi Sheng four centuries earlier. The press itself was adapted from a screw press that was
being used in Germany for the mass production of wine.”[13] Gutenberg took materials that others had
created and used them in a unique and productive way.
Executives apply the concept of bricolage when they combine ideas from existing businesses to
create a new business. Think miniature golf is boring? Not when you play at one of Monster Mini
Golf’s more than twenty-five locations. This company couples a miniature golf course with the thrills of
a haunted house. In 2012, Monster Mini Golf partnered with the rock band KISS to create a “customdesigned, frightfully fun course [that features] animated KISS and monster props lurking in all 18 fairways” in Las Vegas.[14] The facility hosts birthday parties and even weddings.
Braveheart meets heavy metal when TURISAS takes the stage.
Source: Image courtesy of Cecil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Turisas_-_Jalometalli_2008_-_02.JPG.
Many an expectant mother has lamented the unflattering nature of maternity clothes and the boring
stores that sell them. Coming to the rescue is Belly Couture, a boutique in Lubbock, Texas, that combines stylish fashion and maternity clothes. The store’s clever slogan—“Motherhood is haute”—reflects
the unique niche it fills through bricolage. A wilder example is TURISAS, a Finnish rock band that has
created a niche for itself by combining heavy metal music with the imagery and costumes of Vikings.
The band’s website describes their effort at bricolage as “inspirational cinematic battle metal brilliance.”[15] No one ever claimed that rock musicians are humble.
The possibilities for combining business ideas in clever ways seem to have no limits. Cannon
Beach Hardware in Cannon Beach, Oregon, is a hybrid of a hardware store, a restaurant, and a taproom. The firm’s hard good offerings include sixteen types of tarps. Seating for eighty customers is
available to enjoy the work of a trained chef as well as six different draft beers. The entrepreneur behind
Cannon Beach Hardware, Ryan Dewey, copied his business idea from a similar establishment in Ireland.[16]
In early 2014, thirty-one-year-old Lee Kerzner opened the Wash House in New York City. The
Wash House is anything but a boring laundromat. In addition to laundry services, gourmet sandwiches
and coffee drinks are offered. In contrast to the sterile feel of a laundromat, the Wash House features
wood flooring and high-end décor. According to Kerzner, “The response from the local community
has been amazing. We’re doing more laundry than we ever expected and selling out of coffee.”[17]
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Strategy at the Movies
© Thinkstock
Love and Other Drugs
Competitive moves are chosen within executive suites, but they are implemented by frontline employees. Organizational success thus depends just as much on workers such as salespeople excelling in their roles as it
does on executives’ ability to master strategy. A good illustration is provided in the 2010 film Love and Other
Drugs, which was based on the nonfiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.
As a new sales representative for drug giant Pfizer, Jamie Randall believed that the best way to increase sales
of Pfizer’s antidepressant Zoloft in his territory was to convince highly respected physician Dr. Knight to prescribe Zoloft rather than the good doctor’s existing preference, Ely Lilly’s drug Prozac. Once Dr. Knight began
prescribing Zoloft, thought Randall, many other physicians in the area would follow suit.
This straightforward plan proved more difficult to execute than Randall suspected. Sales reps from Ely Lilly and
other pharmaceutical firms aggressively pushed their firm’s products, such as by providing all-expenses-paid
trips to Hawaii for nurses in Dr. Knight’s office. Prozac salesman Trey Hannigan went so far as to beat up Randall after finding out that Randall had stolen and destroyed Prozac samples. While assault is an extreme measure to defend a sales territory, the actions of Hannigan and the other salespeople depicted in Love and Other
Drugs reflect the challenges that frontline employees face when implementing executives’ strategic decisions
about competitive moves.
Source: Image courtesy of Marco, http://www.flickr.com/photos/zi1217/5528068221.
KEY TAKEAWAY
< Firms can take advantage of a number of competitive moves to shake up or otherwise get ahead in an
ever-changing business environment.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 173
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EXERCISES
1. Find a key trend from the general environment and develop a blue ocean strategy that might capitalize
on that trend.
2. First opened in 1753, the Pirates’ House in Savannah, Georgia, is one of the oldest restaurants in America.
Examine their website. Why do you believe they have continued to be successful while so many other
establishments have failed?
3. Provide an example of a product that, if invented, would work as a disruptive innovation. How widespread
would be the appeal of this product?
4. How would you propose to develop a new foothold if your goal was to compete in the fashion industry?
5. Develop a new good or service applying the concept of bricolage. In other words, select two existing
businesses and describe the experience that would be created by combining those two businesses.
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2. RESPONDING TO COMPETITORS’ MOVES
FIGURE 6.7 Responding to Rivals’ Moves
© Thinkstock
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 175
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LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. Know the three factors that determine the likelihood of a competitor response.
2. Understand the importance of speed in competitive response.
3. Describe how mutual forbearance can be beneficial for firms engaged in multipoint
competition.
4. Explain two ways firms can respond to disruptive innovations.
5. Understand the importance of fighting brands as a competitive response.
In addition to choosing what moves their firm will make, executives also have to decide whether to respond to moves made by rivals (Figure 6.7). Figuring out how to react, if at all, to a competitor’s move
ranks among the most challenging decisions that executives must make. Research indicates that three
factors determine the likelihood that a firm will respond to a competitive move: awareness, motivation,
and capability. These three factors together determine the level of competition tension that exists
between rivals (Figure 6.8).
FIGURE 6.8 Competitive Tension: The A-M-C Framework
© Thinkstock
An analysis of the “razor wars” illustrates the roles that these factors play.[18] Consider Schick’s attempt
to grow in the razor-system market with its introduction of the Quattro. This move was widely publicized and supported by a $120 million advertising budget. Therefore, its main competitor, Gillette, was
well aware of the move. Gillette’s motivation to respond was also high. Shaving products are a vital
market for Gillette, and Schick has become an increasingly formidable competitor since its acquisition
by Energizer. Finally, Gillette was very capable of responding, given its vast resources and its dominant
role in the industry. Because all three factors were high, a strong response was likely. Indeed, Gillette
made a preemptive strike with the introduction of the Sensor 3 and Venus Devine a month before the
Schick Quattro’s projected introduction.
Another example of the A-M-C framework is the decision of bookstore giant Barnes & Noble and
many small traditional bookstores to not carry books published by Amazon Publishing. Both large and
small booksellers are fearful of Amazon, so they monitor its moves closely. Thus they were very much
aware of Amazon’s expansion into publishing when it created Amazon Publishing. Because Amazon
has taken a lot of business away from its rivals, those rivals were motivated to extract a measure of revenge by not carrying Amazon’s new books. Although this move meant that the bookstores would lose
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multipoint competition
A situation in which a firm
faces the same rival in more
than one market.
mutual forbearance
A situation in which rivals do
not act aggressively because
each recognizes that the
other can retaliate in multiple
markets.
some sales, Amazon Publishing is not a big enough player in the publishing world for this to be a major
financial problem.[19]
Although examining a firm’s awareness, motivation, and capability is important, the results of a
series of moves and countermoves are often difficult to predict and miscalculations can be costly. The
poor response by Kmart and other retailers to Walmart’s growth in the late 1970s illustrates this point.
In discussing Kmart’s parent corporation (Kresge), a stock analyst at that time wrote, “While we don’t
expect Kresge to stage any massive invasion of Walmart’s existing territory, Kresge could logically act
to contain Walmart’s geographical expansion.…Assuming some containment policy on Kresge’s part,
Walmart could run into serious problems in the next few years.” Kmart executives also received but ignored early internal warnings about Walmart. A former member of Kmart’s board of directors lamented, “I tried to advise the company’s management of just what a serious threat I thought [Sam Walton,
founder of Walmart] was. But it wasn’t until fairly recently that they took him seriously.” While the
threat of Walmart growth was apparent to some observers, Kmart executives failed to respond. Competition with Walmart later drove Kmart into bankruptcy.
2.1 Speed Kills
Executives in many markets must cope with a rapid-fire barrage of attacks from rivals, such as head-tohead advertising campaigns, price cuts, and attempts to grab key customers. If a firm is going to respond to a competitor’s move, doing so quickly is important. If there is a long delay between an attack
and a response, this generally provides the attacker with an edge. For example, PepsiCo made the mistake of waiting fifteen months to copy Coca-Cola’s May 2002 introduction of Vanilla Coke. In the interim, Vanilla Coke carved out a significant market niche; 29 percent of US households had purchased
the beverage by August 2003, and 90 million cases had been sold.
In contrast, fast responses tend to prevent such an edge. Pepsi’s spring 2004 announcement of a
midcalorie cola introduction was quickly followed by a similar announcement by Coke, signaling that
Coke would not allow this niche to be dominated by its longtime rival. Thus, as former General Electric
CEO Jack Welch noted in his autobiography, success in most competitive rivalries “is less a function of
grandiose predictions than it is a result of being able to respond rapidly to real changes as they occur.
That’s why strategy has to be dynamic and anticipatory.”
2.2 So…We Meet Again
Multipoint competition adds complexity to decisions about whether to respond to a rival’s moves.
With multipoint competition, a firm faces the same rival in more than one market. Cigarette makers
R. J. Reynolds (RJR) and Philip Morris, for example, square off not only in the United States but also in
many countries around the world. When a firm has one or more multipoint competitors, executives
must realize that a competitive move in a market can have effects not only within that market but also
within others. In the early 1990s, RJR started using lower-priced cigarette brands in the United States
to gain customers. Philip Morris responded in two ways. The first response was cutting prices in the
United States to protect its market share. This started a price war that ultimately hurt both companies.
Second, Philip Morris started building market share in Eastern Europe where RJR had been establishing a strong position. This combination of moves forced RJR to protect its market share in the United
States and neglect Eastern Europe.
If rivals are able to establish mutual forbearance, then multipoint competition can help them be
successful. Mutual forbearance occurs when rivals do not act aggressively because each recognizes
that the other can retaliate in multiple markets. In the late 1990s, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines competed in some but not all markets. United announced plans to form a new division that would
move into some of Southwest’s other routes. Southwest CEO Herb Kelleher publicly threatened to retaliate in several shared markets. United then backed down, and Southwest had no reason to attack.
The result was better performance for both firms. Similarly, in hindsight, both RJR and Philip Morris
probably would have been more profitable had RJR not tried to steal market share in the first place.
Thus recognizing and acting on potential forbearance can lead to better performance through firms not
competing away their profits, while failure to do so can be costly.
2.3 Responding to a Disruptive Innovation
When a rival introduces a disruptive innovation that conflicts with the industry’s current competitive
practices, such as the emergence of online stock trading in the late 1990s, executives choose from
among three main responses. First, executives may believe that the innovation will not replace established offerings entirely and thus may choose to focus on their traditional modes of business while
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 177
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
fighting brand
A lower-end brand that a firm
introduces to try protect the
firm’s market share without
damaging the firm’s existing
brands.
The Geo brand was known for its low price and
good gas mileage, not for its styling.
Source: Image courtesy of Bull-Doser,
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/
Geo_Metro_Convertible.JPG.
ignoring the disruption. For example, many traditional bookstores such as Barnes & Noble did not
consider book sales on Amazon to be a competitive threat until Amazon began to take market share
from them. Second, a firm can counter the challenge by attacking along a different dimension. For example, Apple responded to the direct sales of cheap computers by Dell and Gateway by adding power
and versatility to its products. The third possible response is to simply match the competitor’s move.
Merrill Lynch, for example, confronted online trading by forming its own Internet-based unit. Here the
firm risks cannibalizing its traditional business, but executives may find that their response attracts an
entirely new segment of customers.
2.4 Fighting Brands: Get Ready to Rumble
A firm’s success can be undermined when a competitor tries to lure away its customers by charging
lower prices for its goods or services. Such a scenario is especially scary if the quality of the competitor’s offerings is reasonably comparable to the firm’s. One possible response would be for the firm to
lower its prices to prevent customers from abandoning it. This can be effective in the short term, but it
creates a long-term problem. Specifically, the firm will have trouble increasing its prices back to their
original level in the future because charging lower prices for a time will devalue the firm’s brand and
make customers question why they should accept price increases.
The creation of a fighting brand is a move that can prevent this problem. A fighting brand is a
lower-end brand that a firm introduces to try to protect the firm’s market share without damaging the
firm’s existing brands. In the late 1980s, General Motors (GM) was troubled by the extent to which the
sales of small, inexpensive Japanese cars were growing in the United States. GM wanted to recapture
lost sales, but it did not want to harm its existing brands, such as Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac, by
putting their names on low-end cars. GM’s solution was to sell small, inexpensive cars under a new
brand: Geo.
Interestingly, several of Geo’s models were produced in joint ventures between GM and the same
Japanese automakers that the Geo brand was created to fight. A sedan called the Prizm was built side by
side with the Toyota Corolla by the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI), a
factory co-owned by GM and Toyota. The two cars were virtually identical except for minor cosmetic
differences. A smaller car (the Metro) and a compact sport utility vehicle (the Tracker) were produced
by a joint venture between GM and Suzuki. By 1998, the US car market revolved around higher-quality
vehicles, and the low-end Geo brand was discontinued.
Some fighting brands are rather short lived. Merck’s failed attempt to protect market share in Germany by creating a fighting brand is an example. Zocor, a treatment for
high cholesterol, was set to lose its German patent in 2003. Merck tried to keep its high
profit margin for Zocor intact until the patent expired as well as preparing for the inevitable competition with generic drugmakers by creating a lower-priced brand, Zocor
MSD. Once the patent expired, however, the new brand was not priced low enough to
keep customers from switching to generics. Merck soon abandoned the Zocor MSD
brand.[20]
Two major airlines experienced similar futility. In response to the growing success
of discount airlines such as Southwest, AirTran, Jet Blue, and Frontier, both United
Airlines and Delta Airlines created fighting brands. United launched Ted in 2004 and
discontinued it in 2009. Delta’s Song had an even shorter existence. It was started in
2003 and was ended in 2006. Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran in 2011 created a large
airline that may make United and Delta lament that they were not able to make their
own discount brands successful.
Despite these missteps, the use of fighting brands is a time-tested competitive
move. For example, very successful fighting brands were launched forty years apart by
Anheuser-Busch and Intel. After Anheuser-Busch increased the prices charged by its
existing brands in the mid-1950s (Budweiser and Michelob), smaller brewers started
gaining market share. In response, Anheuser-Busch created a lower-priced brand: Busch. The new
brand won back the market share that had been lost and remains an important part of AnheuserBusch’s brand portfolio today. In the late 1990s, silicon chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices started
undercutting the prices charged by industry leader Intel. Intel responded by creating the Celeron brand
of silicon chips, a brand that has preserved Intel’s market share without undermining profits.
KEY TAKEAWAY
< When threatened by the competitive actions of rivals, firms possess numerous ways to respond,
depending on the severity of the threat.
178 MASTERING STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT VERSION 1.1
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
joint venture
A cooperative arrangement
that involves two or more
organizations, each
contributing to the creation
of a new entity.
EXERCISES
1. Why might local restaurants not be in the position to respond to large franchises or chains? What can local
restaurants do to avoid being ruined by chain restaurants?
2. If a new alternative fuel was found in the auto industry, what are two ways existing car manufacturers
might respond to this disruptive innovation?
3. How might a firm such as Apple computers use a fighting brand?
3. MAKING COOPERATIVE MOVES
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
1. Know the four types of cooperative moves.
2. Understand the benefits of taking quick and decisive action.
In addition to competitive moves, firms can benefit from cooperating with one another. Cooperative
moves such as forming joint ventures and strategic alliances may allow firms to enjoy successes that
might not otherwise be reached (Figure 6.9). This is because cooperation enables firms to share (rather
than duplicate) resources and to learn from one another’s strengths. Firms that enter cooperative relationships take on risks, however, including the loss of control over operations, possible transfer of valuable secrets to other firms, and possibly being taken advantage of by partners.[21]
3.1 Joint Ventures
A joint venture is a cooperative arrangement that involves two or more organizations each contributing to the creation of a new entity. The partners in a joint venture share decision-making authority,
control of the operation, and any profits that the joint venture earns.
Sometimes two firms create a joint venture to deal with a shared opportunity. In April 2011, a joint
venture was created between Merck and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., an Indian pharmaceutical
company. The purpose of the joint venture is to create and sell generic drugs in developing countries.
In a press release, a top executive at Sun stressed that each side has important strengths to contribute:
“This joint venture reinforces [Sun’s] strategy of partnering to launch products using our highly innovative delivery technologies around the world. Merck has an unrivalled reputation as a world leading,
innovative, research-driven pharmaceutical company.”[22] Both firms contributed executives to the new
organization, reflecting the shared decision making and control involved in joint ventures.
In other cases, a joint venture is designed to counter a shared threat. In 2007, brewers SABMiller
and Molson Coors Brewing Company created a joint venture called MillerCoors that combines the
firms’ beer operations in the United States. Miller and Coors found it useful to join their US forces to
better compete against their giant rival Anheuser-Busch, but the two parent companies remain separate. The joint venture controls a wide array of brands, including Miller Lite, Coors Light, Blue Moon
Belgian White, Coors Banquet, Foster’s, Henry Weinhard’s, Icehouse, Keystone Premium, Leinenkugel’s, Killian’s Irish Red, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Milwaukee’s Best, Molson Canadian,
Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Pilsner Urquell, and Red Dog. This diverse portfolio makes MillerCoors a
more potent adversary for Anheuser-Busch than either Miller or Coors would be alone.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 179
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
strategic alliance
A cooperative arrangement
between two or more
organizations that does not
involve the creation of a new
entity.
FIGURE 6.9 Making Cooperative Moves
Sources: Images courtesy of AsianFC, http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/884470146/ (first); other images © Thinkstock.
3.2 Strategic Alliances
A strategic alliance is a cooperative arrangement between two or more organizations that does not
involve the creation of a new entity. In June 2011, for example, Twitter announced the formation of a
strategic alliance with Yahoo! Japan. The alliance involves relevant Tweets appearing within various
functions offered by Yahoo! Japan.[23] The alliance simply involves the two firms collaborating as opposed to creating a new entity together.
The pharmaceutical industry is the location of many strategic alliances. In January 2011, for example, a strategic alliance between Merck and PAREXEL International Corporation was announced.
Within this alliance, the two companies collaborate on biotechnology efforts known as biosimilars.
180 MASTERING STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT VERSION 1.1
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
colocation
When goods and services
offered under different
brands are located close to
one another.
This alliance could be quite important to Merck because the global market for biosimilars has been predicted to rise from $235 million in 2010 to $4.8 billion by 2015.[24]
3.3 Colocation
Colocation occurs when goods and services offered under different brands are located close to one another. In many cities, for examples, theaters and art galleries are clustered together in one neighborhood. Auto malls that contain several different car dealerships are found in many areas. Restaurants
and hotels are often located near on another too. By providing customers with a variety of choices, a set
of colocated firms can attract a bigger set of customers collectively than the sum that could be attracted
to individual locations. If a desired play is sold out, a restaurant overcrowded, or a hotel overbooked,
many customers simply patronize another firm in the area.
Because of these benefits, savvy executives in some firms colocate their own brands. The industry
that Brinker International competes within is revealed by its stock ticker symbol: EAT. This firm often
sites outlets of the multiple restaurant chains it owns on the same street. Marriott’s Courtyard and
Fairfield Inn often sit side by side. Yum! Brands takes this clustering strategy one step further by locating more than one of its brands—A&W, Long John Silver’s, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and
Pizza Hut—within a single store.
Small Business Spotlight
© Thinkstock
Colocating a Brewery and a Distillery: A Tasty Strategy
Although the best-known colocation moves are the ones made by giants such as Marriott and Yum! Brands,
small firms use colocation too.
In 2014, the Bucks County Brewery and Hewn Spirits opened for business side by side in Pipersville,
Pennsylvania. The two small businesses connected through Craigslist and decided to share a building in order
to cut costs. They worked together to achieve the needed permits and are now collaborating on some
products. For example, the brewery is currently aging beer in the distillery’s used barrels—a process that will
add a unique flavor to the beer.
Colocation is taken to the next level on weekends when food trucks set up in the parking lot outside the two
tasting rooms. This attracts a big set of customers, benefitting the brewery, the distillery, and the food
trucks.[25]
© Thinkstock
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 181
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
co-opetition
A blending of competition
and cooperation between
two firms.
3.4 Co-opetition
Although competition and cooperation are usually viewed as separate processes, the concept of coopetition highlights a complex interaction that is becoming increasingly popular in many industries.
Ray Noorda, the founder of software firm Novell, coined the term to refer to a blending of competition
and cooperation between two firms. As explained in this chapter’s opening vignette, for example, Merck and Roche are rivals in some markets, but the firms are working together to develop tests to detect
cancer and to promote a hepatitis treatment. NEC (a Japanese electronics company) has three different
relationships with Hewlett-Packard Co.: customer, supplier, and competitor. Some units of each company work cooperatively with the other company, while other units are direct competitors. NEC and
Hewlett-Packard could be described as “frienemies”—part friends and part enemies.
Toyota and General Motors provide a well-known example of co-opetition. In terms of cooperation, Toyota and GM vehicles were produced side by side for many years at the jointly owned New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) in Fremont, California. While Honda and Nissan
used wholly owned plants to begin producing cars in the United States, NUMMI offered Toyota a
lower-risk means of entering the US market. This entry mode was desirable to Toyota because its top
executives were not confident that Japanese-style management would work in the United States. Meanwhile, the venture offered GM the chance to learn Japanese management and production techniques—skills that were later used in GM’s facilities. NUMMI offered both companies economies of
scale in manufacturing and the chance to collaborate on automobile designs. Meanwhile, Toyota and
GM compete for market share around the world. In recent years, the firms have been the world’s two
largest automakers, and they have traded the top spot over time.
In their book titled, not surprisingly, Co-opetition, A. M. Brandenberger and B. J. Nalebuff suggest
that cooperation is generally best suited for “creating a pie,” while competition is best suited for
“dividing it up.”[26] In other words, firms tend to cooperate in activities located far in the value chain
from customers, while competition generally occurs close to customers. The NUMMI example illustrates this tendency—GM and Toyota worked together on design and manufacturing but worked separately on distribution, sales, and marketing. Similarly, a research study focused on Scandinavian firms
found that, in the mining equipment industry, firms cooperated in material development, but they
competed in product development and marketing. In the brewing industry, firms worked together on
the return of used bottles but not in distribution.[27]
182 MASTERING STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT VERSION 1.1
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
3.5 Get Moving!
FIGURE 6.10 Get Moving!
Source: Adapted from Chapter 4 of Atlas Black: The Complete Adventure. Irvington, NY: Flat World Knowledge.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 183
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
hypercompetition
A situation that involves very
rapid and unpredictable
moves and countermoves
that can undermine
competitive advantages.
Joseph Addison, an eighteenth-century poet, is often credited with coining the phrase “He who hesitates is lost.” This proverb is especially meaningful in today’s business world. It is easy for executives to
become paralyzed by the dizzying array of competitive and cooperative moves available to them. Given
the fast-paced nature of most industries today, hesitation can lead to disaster. Some observers have suggested that competition in many settings has transformed into hypercompetition, which involves
very rapid and unpredictable moves and countermoves that can undermine competitive advantages.
Under such conditions, it is often better to make a reasonable move quickly rather than hoping to uncover the perfect move through extensive and time-consuming analysis (Figure 6.10).
The importance of learning also contributes to the value of adopting a “get moving” mentality.
This is illustrated in Miroslav Holub’s poem “Brief Thoughts on Maps.” The discovery that one soldier
had a map gave the soldiers the confidence to start moving rather than continuing to hesitate and remaining lost. Once they started moving, the soldiers could rely on their skill and training to learn what
would work and what would not. Similarly, success in business often depends on executives learning
from a series of competitive and cooperative moves, not on selecting ideal moves.
KEY TAKEAWAY
< Cooperating with other firms is sometimes a more lucrative and beneficial approach than directly
attacking competing firms.
EXERCISES
1. How could a family jewelry store use one of the cooperative moves mentioned in this section?? What type
of organization might be a good cooperative partner for a family jewelry store?
2. Why is it that “any old map will do” sometimes in relation to strategic actions?
4. CONCLUSION
This chapter explains competitive and cooperative moves that executives may choose from when challenged by competitors. Executives may choose to act swiftly by being a first mover in their market, and
their firms may benefit if they are offering disruptive innovations to an industry. Executives may also
choose a more conservative route by establishing a foothold within an area that can serve as a launching point or by avoiding existing competitors overall by using a blue ocean strategy. When firms are on
the receiving end of a competitive attack, they are likely to retaliate to the extent that they possess
awareness, motivation, and capability. While responding quickly is often beneficial, mutual forbearance can also be an effective approach. When firms encounter a potentially disruptive innovation, they
might ignore the threat, confront it head on, or attack along a different dimension. Executives may also
react to competitive attacks by using fighting brands. Rather than engaging in a head-to-head battle
with competitors, executives may also choose to engage in a cooperative strategy such as a joint venture, strategic alliance, colocation, or co-opetition. Regardless of the decision executives make, in many
cases any attempt to act on a viable road map will result in progress that will get the firm moving in the
right direction.
EXERCISES
1. Divide your class into four or eight groups, depending on the size of the class. Each group should select a
different industry. Find examples of competitive and cooperative moves that you would recommend if
hired as a consultant for a firm in that industry.
2. What types of cooperative moves could your college or university use to partner with local, national, and
international businesses? What benefits and risks would be created by making these moves?
184 MASTERING STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT VERSION 1.1
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
ENDNOTES
Stynes, T. 2011, June 7. Merck, Roche focus on tests for cancer treatments. Wall Street
Journal. Retrieved from online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527023044323045
76371491785709756.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
Loftus, P. 2013, May 1. Merck earnings: Loss of Singulair exclusivity hurts profits.
Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/
SB10001424127887324766604578456500458857418
This section draws from Ketchen, D. J., Snow, C., & Street, V. 2004. Improving firm performance by matching strategic decision making processes to competitive dynamics. Academy of Management Executive, 19(4), 29–43.
Figures from Standard & Poor’s stock report on Pfizer.
Grobart, S., & Rusli, E. 2011, April 12. For Flip video camera, four years from hot startup to obsolete. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/technology/
13flip.html
Kahn, G. 2014, January 4. The Amazon of higher education. Retrieved from
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/01/
southern_new_hampshire_university_how_paul_leblanc_s_tiny_school_has_become.html
Upson, J., Ketchen, D. J., Connelly, B., & Ranft, A. Forthcoming. Competitor analysis
and foothold moves. Academy of Management Journal.
Hambrick, D. C., & Fredrickson, J. W. 2005. Are you sure you have a strategy? Academy
of Management Executive, 19, 51–62.
Clifford, S. 2011, August 6. Would you like a smile with that? Retrieved from
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/business/
pret-a-manger-with-new-fast-food-ideas-gains-a-foothold-in-united-states.html
Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. 2004, October. Blue ocean strategy. Harvard Business
Review, 76–85.
Rosmarin, R. 2006, February 7. Nintendo’s new look. Forbes.com. Retrieved from
http://www.forbes.com/2006/02/07/xbox-ps3-revolution-cx_rr_0207nintendo.html
Walker, J. 2013. Airport bars session at Tales of the Cocktail names a surprising No. 1
in the world. Times-Picayune. Retrieved from http://www.nola.com/drink/index.ssf/
2013/07/airport_bars_session_at_tales.html; Morse, C. 2013. Ten great airport restaurants. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
smartertravel/great-airport-restaurants_b_2482158.html#slide=1999368
Johnson, S. The genius of the tinkerer. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/
SB10001424052748703989304575503730101860838.html
KISS Mini Golf to rock Las Vegas this fall [Press release]. 2011, April 28. Monster Mini
Golf website. Retrieved from http://www.monsterminigolf.com/mmgkiss.html
http://www.centurymedia.com/artist.aspx?IdArtist=116
Andres, H. 2013, September. Hardware store we love. Popular Mechanics, page 30.
Powell, F. 2014, April 17. Beer, grilled cheese, and really clean clothes. Retrieved from
http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/17/smallbusiness/laundromat-cafe
Portions of this section are adapted from Ketchen, D. J., Snow, C., & Street, V. 2004.
Improving firm performance by matching strategic decision making processes to
competitive dynamics. Academy of Management Executive, 19(4), 29–43. Ibid.
Neary, L. 2013, October 30. Brick-and-mortar bookstores play the print card against
Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2013/10/30/241786954/
brick-and-mortar-bookstores-try-for-revenge-against-amazon
Ritson, M. 2009, October. Should you launch a fighter brand? Harvard Business Review,
65–81.
Portions of this section are adapted from Ketchen, D. J., Snow, C., & Street, V. 2004.
Improving firm performance by matching strategic decision making processes to
competitive dynamics. Academy of Management Executive, 19(4), 29–43. Ibid.
Merck & Co., Inc., and Sun Pharma establish joint venture to develop and commercialize novel formulations and combinations of medicines in emerging markets
[Press release]. 2011, April 11. Merck website. Retrieved from http://www.merck.com/
licensing/our-partnership/sun-partnership.html
Rao, L. 2011, June 14. Twitter announces “strategic alliance” with Yahoo Japan [Blog
post]. Techcrunch website. Retrieved from http://www.techcrunch.com/2011/06/14/
twitter-announces-firehose-partnership-with-yahoo-japan
Global biosimilars market to reach US$4.8 billion by 2015, according to a new report
by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. [Press release]. 2011, February 15. PRWeb website.
Retrieved from http://www.prweb.com/releases/biosimilars/human_growth
_hormone/prweb8131268.htm
Henninger, D. 2014, May 23. Brewery and distillery, side by side in Bucks. Retrieved
from http://articles.philly.com/2014-05-23/food/
50033053_1_distillery-licenses-sean-tracy
Brandenberger, A. M., & Nalebuff, B. J. 1996. Co-opetition. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Bengtsson, M., & Kock, S. 2000. “Coopetition” in business networks—to cooperate
and compete simultaneously. Industrial Marketing Management, 29(5), 411–426.
CHAPTER 6 SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS-LEVEL STRATEGY: COMPETITIVE AND COOPERATIVE MOVES 185
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>
186 MASTERING STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT VERSION 1.1
© 2018 Boston Academic Publishing, Inc., d.b.a. FlatWorld. All rights reserved.
Created exclusively for Spencer Boudreau <[email protected]>


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Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

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