25 Jul Why competition is losing to collaboration
The days of hyper-aggressive competition between brands are being mollified as progressive businesses put aside competitive inclinations in favour of collaboration.
Sure, healthy competition can drive people and businesses to innovate and improve. But aggressive competition, the type that blindingly seeks to destroy the enemy and win at all costs, focuses on the wrong thing, the competitor, as opposed to the customer.
The goal of competing is to win. And winning is simply an outcome; one that is generally short-term in nature and often achieved in isolation of the service you provide, the experiences you create and the journey your customers take.
Business meeting rooms are regularly referred to as war rooms and often littered with the language of the locker-room and battlefield. In this environment, it’s hard to stop and consider how collaboration and cooperation could deliver greater rewards.
Australia has seen its fair share of hyper-competitive business behaviour due to an all too common duopolistic category convention. Think Woollies/Coles, Telstra/Optus, Coke/Pepsi, Harvey Norman/JB Hi-Fi, Virgin/Qantas, etc.
At Sonder we applaud businesses that can get beyond the emotionally charged lens of competitiveness and seek to form long-term creative alliances where it makes sense for them and, importantly, their customers. Take Myer, which has recently announced a collaboration with John Lewis, the department store from the UK. Smart move by both to experiment and create a unique customer offering.
A stunning example of collaboration is Subaru and Toyota, which have succeeded in creating the 86/BRZ by working together as part of their Keiretsu, a uniquely Japanese informal corporate alliance. These are all examples of how collaborative creation can lead to responsible growth and smarter solutions for customers.
And then there is Apple and Nike, Spotify and Uber, GoPro and RedBull – all are examples of unique and category changing collaborations. And whilst they are not competitors for product sales, they are competitors for similar peoples attention.
So before you seek to destroy your competition and wipe them from the face of the market, consider an alternative approach. Consider establishing common ground to work together and grow together. Seek alliances where they make sense for customers and watch as the market flourishes.