I hope that you are already using one of the existing models (I touched the Moore core & context: https://ongalaxies.com/2018/11/22/using-the-moore-core-context-for-better-explaining-the-difference-between-innovation-and-disruption/) to understand your competitive advantage. I want to hope, but I’m realistic enough to know the gloomy reality and the catastrophic results of the ignorance approach.
To help others, I’m posting to increase awareness for the need to use a model to understand any company competitive advantage as a crucial way to improve any business.
If you already used any model to identify your competitive advantage, I encourage you to augment this model with two other points of view of your competitive advantage. If you didn’t find a model that you feel it is simple enough, use it and then keep on reading.
The first point of view is to understand what your customers think your competitive advantage is (if they see one at all). Getting this data from customers is an easier task comparing to the third view, which required you to understand what your competitors think your competitive advantage is.
Once you have those three different points of view, first take an in-depth look at what your customer sees as your competitive advantage. If your customers are in line with the way you see your competitive advantage, you are on the right path. If your customers see a different competitive advantage, you might want to think very seriously to adapt your customers point of view or at least part of it (the only exception is if you create a brave new world that will change people habits or behavior).
Your last check is to compare how your competitors see your competitive advantage to the competitive advantage you defined for yourself. It is not so easy to find out what your competitors think your competitive advantage is, but it is feasible. in contrast to customers, you don’t want competitors perspective of your competitive advantage to be in line with your competitive advantage point of view. In this scenario you prefer your competitors to focus on a competitive advantage they believe that you are after, but it is not the competitive advantage you are seeking. Once your competitors understand your competitive advantage, it is just a matter of time until it won’t be a competitive advantage anymore.
Probably the best way to look at those three views of competitive advantage is by using three different circles.
One circle depicts your perception of your competitive advantage.
The second circle depicts how your customers see your competitive advantage.
The third circle depicts how your competitors see your competitive advantage.
This view is where you want to be:
This view is where you never want to be:
This view is one variation form endless options between the two first diagram:
Now, after you understood this model try to create a view that depicts your situation. Once you can visually see it, you can plan for a better future.