Word count: not exceed 2,500 words (Weighted at 30% of final mark for the module)
In this module, you learned that industries define arenas within which firms operate to outperform competitors, or maintain a profitable competitive position. Each of the firms within an industry develops its own strategy in order to compete for a share of the overall product market. Over time, this competition between firms is gradually transformed into continuous strategic rivalry. Examples of such a rivalry include Apple vs. Microsoft in operating systems, Cola-Cola vs. Pepsi in soft drinks, or Ryanair vs. EasyJet in low-cost airlines.
Strong firms attempt to target their products towards the same customers to invade each other’s markets. Weaker firms may try to develop sales in selected niches. In either case, each firm seeks to develop a competitive advantage vis-à-vis the rest of the industry. But these efforts are facilitated or constrained by the resources and capabilities, and influence that each firm has at its disposal. In basic terms, each firm is typically confronted with two choices: (a) It can focus its strategy on defending and reinforcing its existing position; or (b) It can seek to improve and enlarge its position, often at the expense of its competitors. In the short run, firms in most industries tend to choose the first option. However, in the long run, one or more firms upset the industry status-quo by improving and enlarging their position. Merely defensive strategies, in fact, tend to fail in dynamic environments.
In this project, your task is to first analyse at greater depth the industry structure and second the competitive strategies of two of the firms within the industry. Once you have gathered the information, you must begin to assimilate, analyse it, and imagine possible future competitive scenarios.
Your analysis should focus on the following tasks:
PART 1 – Industry Analysis: You may start with an analysis of the competitive dynamics of the industry and show how these may have contributed to the present industry structure. Use Porter’s five-force model to explain both the past and current industry structure with special attention to the distribution of market leadership in the industry. If you prefer, you can focus on a specific area for the competition (a country, a continent, a region), as long as you have sufficient data to support your analyses (mind that for certain industries is significantly easier finding public data which are sufficiently granular and informative for your task). Pay meticulous attention to support your analysis with precise figures from reliable data sources (which should be carefully referenced).
PART 2 – Competitor Analysis: Once you have analysed the industry and its main direct competitors, move to the competitive analysis to the two players. Using secondary public sources (e.g., articles, case studies, industry reports) briefly illustrates the current situation of the two firms and their business model. Then use the most appropriate analytical frameworks among those discussed in class (e.g. SWOT; Resource and Capabilities, Business Models, others) to assess the position of the two firms you have been assigned.
PART 3 – Consulting and Forecasting: Is there a single firm that has clearly led the industry over the last few years, or even longer? Or are there a few firms that are locked into a struggle for industry leadership?
If you conclude that one of the firms that you have been assigned leads the industry, you must direct your analysis to the following questions:
What accounts for the leadership position that this firm occupies in the industry?
Which recommendation can you provide to the other firm to challenge the position that the dominant firm currently occupies?
Now focus on strategic rivalry. If you conclude that neither of the firms that you have been assigned clearly dominates the industry, you must direct your analysis to the following questions:
What industry developments (e.g., new technologies, changing consumer tastes, regulations), can lead to the emergence of a dominant firm?
Which of the two firms is best positioned to become an industry leader? Which recommendation can you provide to the other firm to challenge the position that the dominant firm currently occupies?
Note: While Part 1 and 2 are mostly focused on past and present situations, the third part focuses on future scenarios and your role as a consultant to present one recommendation that will massively improve one of the company’s position. Ask yourself: if I had a single option/move available, where would you focus my efforts? Remember to make explicit assumptions and forecast the impact of your strategies in performance (e.g., revenues, market share, product lines, etc.).
Selection of rival firms
In this project, you will analyse rivalry by two companies in a given industry. You can freely choose a pair from those presented below.
Visa vs. Mastercard
Rolls Royce and Pratt vs. Whitney
POD vs. EAT
Avon vs. L’Oreal
Airbus vs. Boeing (in commercial aircraft)
Financial Times vs. Wall Street Journal
Standard and Poor’s vs. Moody’s
Red Bull vs Monster (in energy drinks)
Alstom vs. Bombardier
Bloomberg Television vs. CNBC
ESPN vs. SKY Sport
British Petroleum vs. Exxon
Zynga vs. Electronic Arts
Boston Consulting Group vs. Bain
Christie’s vs. Sotheby’s
Federal Express vs. DHL
Gillette vs. Wilkinson
LG vs. Samsung (in flat-screen monitors)
P&O vs. Carnival Cruise Lines
Eurostar vs. Deutsche Bahn
Adidas vs. Nike (in footwear)
Mars vs. Cadbury
Pirelli vs. Michelin
Pizza hut vs. Domino’s pizza
Munich Re vs. Swiss Re
Ferrari vs. Lamborghini
Armani vs. Hugo Boss
Apple Music vs. Spotify (in digital music)
Fender vs. Gibson
Nikon vs. Canon
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer vs. Columbia Pictures
Pixar vs. Dreamworks
Amazon Prime Video vs. Netflix
Bookings vs. Expedia
American Airlines vs. Delta Air Lines
DC Comics vs. Marvel Comics
Honda vs. Yamaha (in motorcycles)
Tesla vs. BMW (in electric and hybrid vehicles)
Bosch vs. Magneti Marelli (in automotive components)
Transferwise vs. Revolut
Sony Playstation vs. Microsoft X-Box
Mattel vs. Lego
Cambridge Univ. vs. Harvard Univ.
Diesel vs. Abercrombie
Playstation vs. X-Box
AirBnB vs. HomeAway
Vodafone vs. O2 (in mobile services UK)
Yamaha vs. Steinway (in pianos)
Hilton vs. Sheraton
Pfizer vs. Bayer
LG Chem vs. Panasonic (in vehicle battery manufacturing)
Alrosa vs. The Beers (in diamonds)
Tiffany vs. Harry Winston (in jewelry)
Avis vs. Hertz
Trek vs. Specialized (in bicycles)
Huawei vs. Xiami (cell phones)
Hermes vs. Luis Vuitton
Deliveeroo vs. Uber Eats
Fitbit vs. Garmin
Peloton vs. Bowflex
Technogym vs. Life Fitness
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