The onset of World Wide Web gave consumers access to a wide range of information regarding different products. Consequently, most of the consumers take a thorough research about the functionality and benefits of a product they intend to purchase.
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Besides, customers compare products with other readily available products with respect to their functionalities, durability, and cost. Before individuals decide to purchase a digital camera, they normally visit the Internet to identify the various models, prices, and performance features of digital cameras available in the market.
While some of the customers are price sensitive, most of the customers prefer to purchase certain cameras due to their performance. Hence, to enhance competitive advantage, companies offering digital cameras use various approaches. Some companies develop new and improved models of cameras; others enhance the performance of their existing cameras while some go to the extent of changing the bodies of their cameras and improving their inner software.
As a way of enhancing its competitive advantage, BLink embarked on improving the performance of its existing digital camera. The main reason the company opted to improve on its existing cameras, was to cut down on the costs associated with staging product promotion for new models of cameras, and looking for new retailers to stock the new cameras, advertising costs among others.
One of the enhancements the company introduced into its cameras was to increase color bracketing. Initially, it was hard for the cameras to record a single image in three different color settings. Nevertheless, to address the consumer desire to have a range of contrasts to select from, when saving their images, the company decided to enhance the contrast range of its cameras. Now, it is possible for customers to save their images in three different color settings.
Another enhancement made by the company was to increase the field of view for its cameras. For decades, it had been hard for camera users to capture wide images. In most cases, some of the necessary details ended up being left out as the cameras could only capture a small area.
Moreover, the cameras that captured wide areas, had low resolving power thus producing blurred images. As a way of enhancing its market strategy, BLink worked on enhancing the field of view for its cameras. All the company’s digital cameras were mounted with lenses that captured a 28 mm angle, thus helping consumers capture wide pictures.
Apart from working on contrast bracketing and field of view, BLink also embarked on enhancing the speed of their memory cards. This aimed at enhancing the performance speed of their digital cameras. The company introduced new memory cards with rating speed of 600x.
With this memory card, the camera is capable of storing data at a speed of 90MB per second. Enhancing the storing speed also made it possible for consumers to capture more photos using the same camera, than before, and capture moving images without difficulties.
On the other hand, the competition embarked on developing new models of cameras to enhance their competitive advantage. They came up with new models of cameras with enhanced speed. The cameras could capture moving images with no difficulties. Nevertheless, they did not enhance the storage capacity of their cameras. Consequently, most of the consumers preferred to purchase the old models offered by BLink that had enhanced performance capabilities to buying the new models offered by competitors.
Offensive and defensive strategic options
According to Best (2004), all procurement strategies ought to align with strategies in the marketing field to guarantee rejoinder to market demands and steadiness of effort. Normally, offensive strategies aim at helping an organization expand its market share by penetrating new markets and reaching more consumers in its existing markets. Among the offensive strategies, which BLink adopted, include venturing into new markets, especially in the Europe-Africa region. Numerous countries offered potential market for the company.
One of the countries was Nigeria. Consequently, the company decided to look for franchisees, in the country, to help sell its products. Apart from venturing into new markets, BLink also worked on enhancing market demand for its products.
The main reasons, why it decided not to come up with new models of digital cameras, was to enhance demand for its existing models, and cut down on production cost. Improving the performance capacity of its digital cameras made consumers crave for the cameras. Consequently, the demand for the cameras went high.
Besides, BLink embarked on increase the number of cameras purchased by its target consumers and opening new market segments in its existing markets. By enhancing the field of view for its cameras, the company aimed at opening a new market segment comprising of family members and tourists. These groups of people are fond of capturing wide pictures, and in most cases, they are incapable due to a small area covered by the available cameras.
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Hence, the company enhanced the field of view of its digital cameras thus attracting this market segment. Furthermore, by enhancing the speed of its cameras, the company established a new market segment comprising of tourists and people that enjoy travelling. At times, these people are faced with challenges of capturing moving images or taking photos while in a traveling vehicle. BLink solved this problem by enhancing the speed of its digital cameras.
According to Rink and Fox (2007), defensive strategies aim at helping an organization from losing its existing market share to rival companies. As companies spend many resources in establishing and nurturing their brands, it is imperative for organizations to protect them in terms of profitability, positioning and market share. Another primary feature of defensive strategies is to safeguard the existing customer base (Hooley, Broderick, & Moller, 2005).
One of the defensive strategies that BLink adopted to counter its competition was mobile defense. The company embarked on expanding its product diversification by enhancing the capabilities of its existing digital cameras. This strategy made it hard for competitors to identify any BLink’s weakness and use it to lure customers. Moreover, the company used flank position defense strategy to counter competition.
BLink identified all potential markets that its rivals could use in strengthening their primary markets and asserted its influence there. For instance, after identifying that Nigeria offered potential market for digital cameras BLink established itself in this market before the competitors noticed the market.
Think global, act local
This strategic approach involve using similar basic competitive approach such as product differentiation and low-cost across the globe but giving local managers an opportunity to integrate some country-specific distinctions in product features to meet the demands of the local consumers (Thompson, 2012).
Additionally, think global, act local entails adjusting product distribution strategies to meet local needs. Currently, BLink serves a global market. Consequently, the company ought to acquire global resources to serve its market effectively. Gone are the days when products manufactured from one country could be sold to all other nations without problems. To succeed in global markets, companies require developing their products globally to suit local demands.
Currently, consumers in various parts of the world do not prefer generic products. Instead, they go for products that meet their varied needs. One of the ways BLink did to capture global market is to modify its digital cameras based on the need of the different markets.
In spite of offering products with similar brand name across the globe, BLink opted to enhance the superiority of digital cameras offered, in the northern market, to meet the numerous needs of its customers. Cameras offered in this region were equipped with more capabilities and offered at higher prices than similar cameras offered in other geographical regions.
To capture the global market BLink worked in collaboration with all its staffs in the various regions. The company established an Internet-based program and a team of experts to work on developing digital cameras for the various markets. This team worked around the clock with the help of local consumers in the various regions to establish digital cameras that best suit their demands. The companies’ staffs met global consumers at their different locations to identify their specific requirements.
Moreover, the company opted to sell its digital cameras at different prices in the different markets. For instance, in the Europe-Africa market, the company offered its cameras at reduced prices since most of the consumers in this region are price sensitive. While consumers in this region did not require high-speed cameras, they required cameras that could capture wide fields. Hence, the company worked on enhancing the field of view of the cameras offered in this region.
Decision to shift resources
There are numerous reasons why companies decide to shift their resources from one region to another. Among the reasons, include the demand level of resources and accessibility of the resources. To enhance strategy execution, an organization may opt to shift its resources from one region to another.
After BLink was established, the management found it hard to expand its market share across the globe since it was hard to ship products from the United States, where the company’s headquarter is to other countries, say those in the Asian-Pacific region. Hence, the company opted to shift its production facility to Taiwan. This enabled the company to assemble its cameras from a facility that is close to most of its suppliers and later ship its completed products to other regions.
Moreover, to manage its operations, the company decided to open regional sales offices in different regions. Currently, it has sales offices I Singapore, Milan, Toronto and Sao Paulo. These offices are responsible for gathering information about consumer demand, and relay the information to the production team in Taiwan.
Moreover, the offices facilitate in merchandising and promoting the company’s products. As a way of expanding its market share to African countries, the company has established a sales office in Lagos Nigeria. This office is responsible for selling its products across the African countries. BLink decided to open an office in Nigeria after it found that office in Milan Italy was not capable of reaching the African consumers affectively.
Efforts to pursue continuous improvement
For an organization to come up with a successful product, it has to enhance the product value in every stage that the product passes through. Therefore, an organization needs to synchronize activities in its entire value chain channel (Gereffi, Humphrey, & Sturgeon, 2006). As a way to pursue continued improvement in its value chain activities, BLink embarked on various efforts. One of the efforts was improving the company’s procurement activity.
To ensure that it acquires requisite resources at low prices and on time, the company embarked on digitizing its procurement process. This would help the company source its resources from numerous suppliers thus procuring them at affordable prices. Moreover, the company started investing on technology as a way of coming up with quality products.
Currently, the company is working on enhancing the internal software of its digital cameras to boost their functionality. Besides, it is working on coming up with new models of its products as one of its product diversification strategy.
To support its overall strategic business plan, BLink has invested on enhancing the capacity of its human resource. The company is working on employee development to equip its staffs with requisite skills. The company has come up with an appraisal system to help it identify employee weaknesses and work on them.
Corporate social responsibility expenses
Corporate social responsibility or corporate citizenship aims at making the companies accountable for their activities, thus encouraging them to bring out positive results, in all their activities. Organizations are increasingly adopting corporate social responsibility in their activities (Bhattacharya, Sankar, & Korschun, 2008). They are now realizing that CSR adds value to an organization thus improving its profitability.
To enhance its profitability and public image, BLink aims at spending 5 percent of its revenue on corporate social responsibility. Among the activities, the company aims at spending this revenue on include supporting the education of the less fortunate children in Europe-Africa region and cleaning the environment. The rationale for spending this revenue on the identified CSR activities is the numerous benefits the company is likely accrue from the activities. CSR would help BLink in its brand differentiation strategy.
There are numerous competitors in all regions that BLink sells its products. Hence, investing in CSR would help consumers identify and associate with the company. It would help in enhancing customer loyalty founded on idiosyncratic ethical standards. Moreover, investing in corporate social responsibility would help BLink circumvent interferences in the global market.
Funding education for the less fortunate children in the region would help the company evade being subject to numerous regulations and taxes imposed by foreign governments. CSR is one of the best risk management strategies. Organizations take decades to build their reputation, but may take hours to ruin them. Corporate social responsibility helps a company come up with an authentic culture of carrying out its activities. Hence, it saves the company from engaging in activities that would ruin its reputation.
Internal operations of the company
The success and efficiency of any organization lies on its decision making structure. Organizations with centralized structures take long to make vital decisions on matters affecting the organization. The top executives are bestowed with the responsibility of making decisions and passing their decisions to managers for implementation (Malone, 2004). BLink adopts a decentralized system in its decision making process.
The company enjoys numerous benefits associated with this system of decision-making process. For instance, it is possible for managers running the various branches to make decisions on matters affecting the branches without consulting the top executive team. Hence, operations within BLink are flexible.
The top management has more time to focus on long-term goals of the organization. Decentralized decision-making process has enhanced employee accountability in the company. Employees in the company are encouraged to assume ownership of their activities thus boosting their morale and enhancing their productivity.
Despite the numerous benefits associated with decentralized system of the decision making process, there are numerous challenges associated with it. The highly decentralized nature of the company contributes to unhealthy competition being witnessed contemporarily (Malone, 2004). Local managers in the different branches do not share ideas on how to improve organizational performance, since each seeks to be recognized.
This competition inhibits the success of interdepartmental functions thus affecting organizational performance. It is hard for BLink to implement organizational-wide policies incase of emergencies. It becomes hard for the company to contend with independent policies brought about by decentralization.
Moreover, it is hard for BLink to conduct an effective performance evaluation. Subunits that generate high revenues for the company end up being rewarded for their performance, while those that act as cost centers ends up being treated unfairly, during the performance evaluation. It becomes hard for employees in the entire organization to have a clear picture of the company. As one moves down the organizational hierarchy, employees appear not to understand the organization’s vision.
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Bhattacharya, C. B., Sankar, S., & Korschun, D. (2008). Using Corporate Social Responsibility to Win the War for Talent. MIT Sloan Management Review, 49 (2), 37-44.
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