• Alex’s Angle

    品牌專欄作家 / Alex

    Seeking Advantages

    When asked “What are you good at?”, can you give me an answer straight forward without much thinking? And is your answer meaningful enough to demonstrate these are your advantages? Now imagine you are an executive of a Fortunate 500 company, what will your answer be? This is our focus point today by looking into the concept of “advantages”, which is one of the most vital points in the business today.

    Competitive Advantage1

    In 1985 Michael Porter proposed the theory of “Competitive Advantage”, which emphasizes on the ability of an organization to outperform its competitors by creating higher quality of goods selling at higher prices. Strategies developed to achieve this ability include:

    • Cost Leadership Strategy: seeking the minimum level of cost across all areas of business
    • Differentiation Strategy: utilizing the concept of branding to have products distinguished from its competitors
    • Innovation Strategy: utilizing the method of R&D in order to create better products
    • Operational Effectiveness Strategy: seeking higher effectiveness in all areas like customer services, vendor management,...,etc.
    • Technology-based Competitive Strategy: applying technology to identify issues and thus to create advantages

    It is very likely that your business has developed some or all these strategies to create certain advantages over your competitors.

    Comparative Advantage2

    Comparative Advantage, first described by David Ricardo in 1817, is to reach a higher consumption level by gaining more goods produced at a lower cost through exchange between nations. It is not a typical concept because it is mostly used in discussing international economics. However careful readers may observe this is not the case in the modern real world. Organizations especially can create advantages in this global economy by seeking partnership with various businesses.

    Turning Disadvantage to Advantage

    The practice of reverse thinking – Turning disadvantage to advantage - is another unconventional subject when we seek advantages, and once again mindful readers see this is not the case neither. When face disadvantages, we tend either apply a temporary and quick fix to solve this as soon as possible or blind ourselves by hoping this will be unnoticed and go away itself someday. The turning is rarely discussed in meetings. However this does not need to be the case. We learn this most times and probably are unaware of it. For example, how many people paid attention the quote below when watched the 1998 movie “Enemy of the State”3

    Brill: in guerrilla warfare, you try to use your weaknesses as strengths.
    Robert Calyton Dean: Such as?
    Brill: Well, if they're big and you're small, then you're mobile and they're slow. You're hidden and they're exposed. You only fight battles you know you can win. That's the way the Vietcong did it. You capture their weapons and you use them against them the next time.


    To survive in the global economy is hard today and to be at the top of the world is even harder. The seemingly advantages today can be turned into disadvantages tomorrow if not careful. However with a thoughtful and mindful approach we can always have advantages or turned disadvantages around on our end.

    Next we will take a look at the messages behind the 2011 movie “Moneyball”.

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_advantage
    (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage
    (3) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120660/quotes?ref_=tt_trv_qu





    • 成本領先戰略:在所有的業務領域,尋求成本最低水平
    • 差異化戰略:利用品牌的概念,以區別於其競爭對手的產品
    • 創新戰略:利用R&D的方法,以創造更好的產品
    • 作戰效能的策略:尋求更高的效益等各個領域的客戶服務,供應商管理…等
    • 技術為基礎的競爭戰略:運用技術來識別問題,從而創造優勢。



    於1817年,大衛‧李嘉圖提出比較優勢:「通過國家之間的交流, 以較低的成本獲得更多的商品,達到了一個較高的消費水平。」這不是一個典型的概念,因為它主要是用在討論國際經濟。但細心的讀者可能會發現,在現代真實世界,這不是一定的。通過尋求與各項業務合作,組織能創造比較優勢,特別是在今日全球的經濟環境。







    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_advantage
    (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage
    (3) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120660/quotes?ref_=tt_trv_qu