Competitive advantage is built not just in the R&D lab and manufacturing fabs, but in the marketplace and in customers’ minds.
That’s the first of three lessons professor Niraj Dawar imparted to readers in his recent Harvard Business Review article, “What Intel Needs To Remember About Marketing.” Professor Dawar called these “lessons that every technology company should heed” but I think this one applies to every company—not just tech firms.
In fact, growing numbers of marketers and brand journalists in just about every industry are taking this valuable lesson to heart. How? Not with sales pitches and advertising come-ons but with content that shares their companies’ expertise helps establish credibility with key audiences. With content that enables audiences to experience the knowledge, values and characteristics that set an organization apart.
Content is a great vehicle for building competitive advantage in customers’ minds, and social media has become one of the hottest channels for sharing content, as we pointed out in a previous post, “More Brand Engagement Is Happening on Social.” But a website built on great messaging … a steady stream of valuable, non-promotional content … and a truly powerful, well-conceived presence at tradeshows and industry events … all go a long way toward helping you create competitive advantage in your customers’ minds.
Of course, none of this is to say that messaging, marketing and brand journalism are all you need to build competitive advantage. They’re not. The foundation for competitive advantage will always be the strategy, R&D and talented people it takes to build (and continually improve) great products and services.
In case you’re interested, Professor Dawar’s other two lessons are: 1) “The brand becomes the competitive advantage.” And 2) “You don’t just build products, you build markets.” Although they’re not quite as universally applicable as his first lesson, both are worth thinking about even if your company isn’t in the technology niche.
About the Author: Michael Civiello is a communications strategist and senior writer at fisher VISTA. He collaborates with clients every day to develop messaging, content and PR campaigns that build brand awareness and marketplace credibility.