Defending Your Brand: How Smart Companies Use Defensive Strategy to Deal with Competitive Attacks
Author: Tim Calkins
Year of Publication: 2013
Tim Calkins is a clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Other books under his authorship are Breakthrough Marketing Plans and How To Wash A Chicken: Mastering the Business Presentation.
Before I dive into the synopsis you may ask what a brand is.
According to Wikipedia, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
A few examples are MTN Ghana and Vodafone Ghana as telecommunication brands. Lipton is a tea brand. CNN and BBC as news broadcasting brands. Successlink Consult as a travel and tour brand. Ghana International School and Harvard University as education brands and Samsung as an electronic manufacturing brand.
The moment you start reading the first few pages of this book, Tim impresses readers that in the world of business, competition can’t be left out. Whether you are a big company or a small/medium size business have it at the back of your mind that somebody or a company somewhere is planning on entering your kind of business.
You must protect your position in the market against new entrants. A new entrant means a drop in your profits or market shares. Hence, the need for defense strategies.
Business defense includes everything a company does to react to competitive threats. He does excellent work to explain that whereas growth strategies include all the proactive steps taken to build your business such as advertising, new product introduction, cost reduction efforts, promotional offers, defensive strategies are your response to your competitor’s moves.
There are not many books written on this topic because some of the tactics employed aren’t supposed to be in the public domain.
I DID, YOU WOULD TOO
Reading this book is not cumbersome because of how the author weaves real-life business establishment examples to support every issue he raised. At a point, the reader will have an a-ha! moment. This book is simply a pack of knowledge. You will be able to relate to it even if you aren’t in the business field.
Interestingly, Tim states that this book is primarily for people who lead organizations, companies be it small or big, or a charitable church organization. But I see it as an oversight that he didn’t mention teachers, married couples, health professionals, and indeed any individual at all.
I hold a personal belief that we are our unique brands even as individuals and we must also master the art of defense because our whole being is a company and what we stand for is our brand that needs to be defended from intruders just as a lioness would her cubs.
On the other hand, I’m blown away by his presentation on the moral lessons learned from what happened between the movie rental company, Blockbuster, Netflix, and Red box.
In his quest to create awareness of the importance of defense strategies, he expatiates on the subject of financial challenges businesses might face and getting to know your competitor by gathering information.
Social media also plays a key role here. He also advises that lawyers be consulted in areas that bother on state laws on businesses.
IT’S A WRAP!
To wrap up, Defending Your Brand has not disappointed me at all. It has succeeded in exposing the various interesting, enlightening, and sometimes shady tactics used by smart businesses to stay in their game. The book is available here.