A competitive advantage is something that will give your company a better chance for long-term success, but the advantage must be sustainable. It isn’t always easy to know exactly how to get ahead of your competition, but it is often even harder to stay there once you reach the top. As you look at ways to build your brand, consider long-term options that will help maintain the brand in the way that you want.

The “Wow” factor.

When it comes to a competitive advantage, offering a product or service that is unique is absolutely vital for your business. It should also be hard to copy, since an easily replicated service or product is impossible to sustain. File for patents and copyright protection as soon as possible if you have the option. When your customers realize that what your business offers is truly one of a kind, the numbers will increase due to FOMO (fear of missing out). If you can’t patent your “wow” factor, try to create it on a larger scale that is hard to copy.

Long-term strategies.

Instead of creating a lot of short-term marketing and implementation strategies that will fade fast from the marketplace, develop plans that will help your company in the long term. When you consider brands that have been around for years, you notice that while they may launch small campaigns that are unique from one another, the overall brand message typically doesn’t change over time. If your company has a breakout tech product, focus on marketing that while employing staff to create new and unique products to keep up with demands, instead of pinning hopes on one lasting product.

Brand loyalty.

When you can develop a strategy that encourages brand loyalty, your business will have a much better chance of maintaining sustainability. Think about some of the biggest brands in the world and how they encourage customers to stay loyal. McDonald’s endures negative press practically on a daily basis, yet it continues to successfully focus its marketing strategies on families by offering Playplaces in its restaurants and toys for kids with its meals. Apple has a long line of loyal customers who will shop for the newest products as soon as they are available because it offers cutting-edge technology.

Cost improvement.

One of the first questions that an investor will ask about your product is the cost to make versus the cost to purchase. Markup is key in product sales, so if you have a low value in this area, you can’t sustain your business. Smart business owners are always looking for ways to get the cost of manufacturing down to increase the value. This might mean producing more inventory to receive volume discounts or reevaluating the manufacturing process. When you can produce a product for less, without sacrificing quality, it will ultimately benefit your sustainability.

Build a great team.

Your staff has a huge impact on whether or not your business is successful. From the customer service rep, who might provide the only interaction a customer has with your company, to the CEO, every team member plays a role in public perception. A great experience will often result in a higher chance for brand loyalty, while a negative one might mean your company has a scathing review posted online for others to read. You can also work with a consultant like Ruota on transformation implementation to encourage better workflow and processes among team members.

As you meet with your operations and marketing teams to develop strategies in building and maintaining a competitive advantage, keep these ideas in mind. Companies all over the world achieve great success every day due to excellent ideas combined with better ways of accomplishing tasks.

In order to maintain that sustainable competitive advantage that your company has already achieved, you must also be willing to analyze processes and create new products and variations that will keep customers loyal to and interested in your business. As long as you are in a market or industry that is growing, the possibilities are endless.

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