Are rivalries as good for brands as they are for sports?

28 Nov

Watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal bash it out at the World Tour Finals today left no doubt in my mind that tennis is the beneficiary.

Mind you, tennis is just entertainment. Do rivalries between businesses stimulate interest in product categories? Are they any good for the companies themselves?

They do and they are. Rivalries drive creativity, product innovation, sales success and consumer interest.

Coke and Pepsi’s rivalry went through the roof in the 80’s, paving the way for massive growth and diversification by the two fizzy pop giants. Think McDonald’s versus Burger King, Ford versus GM, Nike versus Reebok. Hell, Playboy versus Penthouse.

Competition is not merely good for businesses, it’s essential. Intense rivalries bring better products, cheaper prices and (wait for it) – better advertising – to the consumer.

Monopoly is the beast to be feared. It brings complacency, inflated costs and a constant inward focus. Monopolistic companies always seem to complain  the loudest about how difficult it is to be them.

So it’s good that Roger finally beat Rafael again. Everybody wins.

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2 Responses to “Are rivalries as good for brands as they are for sports?”

  1. dianajwalter November 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I agree Doug. The most innovative advertising and product approaches have been from intense rivalries.

    However this game of cat and mouse is a huge cost to companies and after a considerable spend, it is tough to swallow coming in second. The companies and people (if we are talking sports) that have really succeeded from rivalry have been the ones that quit the chasing game and instead create a new expertise/category and become the best at it.

    We have seen this with MAC versus PC. Apple had no chance chasing after Windows in the computer sector so they got into music with iPod/iTunes and gave people a reason to look at them with great design and functionality. Once consumers were hooked it was natural for them to look at macbooks and other mac products and thus a new kind of rivalry was formed. Windows tried to get into the music field but it got in too late and now the chaser has become the chased.

  2. dougbrowncreative November 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Hey I love the Mac vs. PC example Diana. Funny thing is, Mac is a brand and PC is a category. Remarkable for a brand to take on a category and win. Diversification…that’s what great competition creates.

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