Blacks Leisure Group Board

Hence, for the development and sustenance of a competitive advantage the marketing planner of a company needs to recognize that the advantage an organisation or brand possesses that is meaningful will be copied or improved upon by competitors sooner rather than later (Wilson R. and Gilligan C., 2005, p 405).
Established a century and a half earlier in 1863, by Thomas Black, the Blacks Leisure Group has come a long way from being a humble sails manufacturing company to a camping, outdoor and sporting goods retail empire. Today, for millions of those out-door loving enthusiasts, the company is more of an institution that a mere retail store.
Presently, the Black Leisure Group holds a powerful presence within two of the exclusive markets in which the company operates: Broadwear and Outdoor. Currently the management team of the group is focusing on restoring and, developing and sustaining its competitive advantage. The management is also concentrating on building upon the disciplines of operational improvements that was achieved in the current financial year (Black Leisure Group plc, 2008). However, to in order to return to its past performance levels and to develop and sustain its competitive advantage an innovative business strategy with further radical changes will be required. To be able to lock horns with other competitors and to come on top in the present era of fasted paced innovation and ruthless competition, the sustainability and competitive advantage of companies are defined by innovative strategies.
Henceforth, in order to conceive of a corporate strategy through the company will successfully be to develop and sustain its competitive advantage, first a better understanding of the link between strategy and competitive advantage is a must.
&nbsp.Strategy and Competitive Advantage
According to the definition of competitive advantage, it as an advantage gained over competitors by offering the consumers a greater value for their investments either by means of low prices or by the provision of greater benefits that does justice to higher prices. For a company to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors Michael E. Porter has identified four "generic" business strategies (Porter E.M, 1980). These "generic’ strategies relate to the extent to which the scopes of a business’ activities are narrow against the extent to which a business seeks to differentiate its products. The four strategies are as follows:
Differentiation Strategy: This strategy is based on studying the different criteria used by consumers while buying products and selecting one or more of these criteria and then positioning the business to meet the chosen criteria. This differentiation strategy is all about charging a premium price for a product that covers the added production costs, ensuring profit and as well as giving the consumers obvious reasons to choose the product over the other less or not differentiated products.
The examples of differentiation strategy can be better understood with case studies of Mercedes cars and Bang &amp. Olufsen Company (Porter E.M, 1980).&nbsp.

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