Is your company competitive? Here are 4 strategies to make it one! 

“No competition, no progress”

Bela Karolyi 

I could not agree more with the world-renowned Hungarian-born Romanian American gymnastics coach, who transformed gymnastics coaching in the US and was responsible for bringing home numerous international laurels. His words are not only applicable in sports but are equally fitting in the business world as well.  

Businesses do not operate in isolation. Gone are the days of monopoly where companies could dominate a market or industry. Today, in the fast-moving-digital-world, every business, big or small, faces stiff competition to hold a fair share of the market.  

Carefully analyze company’s competitive environment when formulating a business plan

When formulating a business plan, it is essential to analyse the company’s competitive environment. The competitive environment is the intricate external system in which the business operates and comprises of several factors or elements that affect and shape the industry. These elements include, and are not limited to:  

1. Competitors – Direct and Indirect  

2. Government regulations and laws  

3. Suppliers  

4.  Substitutes  

5. Technological trends  

6. Demographic Composition  

7. Network of Distribution  

8. Corporate culture  

Industrialists, innovators, and entrepreneurs need to think critically about these factors that affect the company’s profitability and success. (Also, check out our blog on 7 ways to improve critical thinking). It is imperative to understand the competition landscape and scope. This is necessary to prepare the kind of resources, investment, and technology required to build a sustainable and profitable business. In the good ol’ days, companies could thrive with little or no competition. In comparison, companies now must adopt new and innovative means to compete with other firms in the business environment and to have a competitive advantage over them. Strategic forecasting, planning, and implementation can lead to success in competition. Various strategies can help businesses build undefeatable and sustainable products and services.  

Caption – PESTEL model (reference)

Here are 4 strategies that can help build competitive advantages for your business:  

1. Cost Leadership  

Businesses run for profit. By definition, profit is a financial gain realised due to the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent on buying, operating, or producing a product or a service. It is one of the oldest tricks in the (business) book to be a cost-leader. When a business decides to pursue the cost-leadership strategy, it vows to provide the goods or services at a competitively lower price than any of its rivals can ever offer.

Such firms operate on the lowest cost structure, have reasonable control over the entire supply chain, suppliers, and raw materials, and have tight controls on the whole value chain activities. Walmart, IKEA, McDonald’s, Primark, and RyanAir are a few examples of firms that attribute their business success to a cost-leadership strategy.  

2.  Differentiation  

“You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it  differently”.

Steve Jobs  
Why HERMES?

Offering a low-cost product is not always an option in a competitive environment. Different consumers have different demands. Companies, by providing high-end quality products, also influence many customers’ buying decisions, who would otherwise choose the cheaper alternative. Even though companies always intend to keep their costs low, they are willing to spend on research and development costs, marketing, customer service, or innovation to develop a niche product or service, for which consumers are willing to pay a premium price. Apple, Starbucks, Tesla, Tiffany & Co., Emirates, and Hermes are examples of companies whose thoughtful approach to differentiation and compelling storytelling strategy makes millions of consumers spend premium prices for their products and services.  

3. Focus  

This strategy is quite different from the above two strategies. Business here focuses its primary strategy, i.e., operating at a lower cost or adding value but on a limited market, much narrower in scope than the broader cost leader or differentiator. The company intends to make concentrated efforts based on either a particular buyer group, geographic uniqueness, a unique product line, or a special attribute appealing to a niche customer class to cater to the specific demand of a limited number of customers. Gucci, Rolls Royce, Diet Coke, NetJets, and DC Design are a few examples of companies that have successfully adopted the focus strategy.  

4. Strategic group  

“Anytime you find someone more successful than you, especially when you’re both in the same business, you know they are doing something that you aren’t”. 

Malcom X  
The Cosmetics Industry has close knit competition and companies follow similar strategies to build competitive advantage

Groups of businesses of comparable size and range that operate in the same industry and follow the same strategies to build competitive advantages are termed strategic groups. The competition is so closely knit in such environments that even a small movement by the competitor affects the others’ market position. It helps build a strategic group map to identify businesses’ closest competitors and evaluate how your company is positioned in the industry. Common examples of strategic groups are the restaurants, retailers, cosmetic brands, and the aviation industry.  

These are four strategies, more commonly known as Michael Porter’s ‘generic’ business-level strategies as these can be applied to any business, by any firm in any industry.  

Which strategy do you think is the most powerful in building a competitive business advantage in your own context? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.  

Event Management during COVID-19

Well, I have said it before, and I am saying it again – we live in difficult times. But the more I think about it, maybe “difficult” is not the right term to use. I think the right word to use here is “challenging”, and “challenging” isn’t as bad as “difficult”. And what challenges give us, are opportunities.

This “opportunity” (and I know it might seem crass to term COVID-19 as an opportunity or as something positive, because it is definitely not positive, and I wish it never happened!) might not have been a choice and was forced on the world by COVID-19, but this is not the first time that the world faced a widespread pandemic and it will not be the last. Every time we faced something like this (global pandemic, world wars, etc.) in the past, we have come out of it stronger and better prepared for the future, so we might as well try to make the best of a bad situation now too.

Companies and individuals around the world are seizing on this opportunity that the challenge of COVID-19 has provided. New ways to think and work, new processes and operations, new businesses and technology, new products and services, and finally, new ways of managing events.

One of the sectors that have suffered greatly, at least in the short term, is Event Management. I mean, one of the basic ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, and that is the antithesis of a successful event.

The following are some of the challenges and/or solutions that event managers have come up with in dealing with COVID-19.

Cancellation: Events are being cancelled, primarily because the fear and risks are real, and it is always better to be safe than sorry! However, the silver lining is events still need to take place, especially in the corporate world. New products and services still need to be announced and launched, Comic Con needs to take place to announce new movies and television shows, and to keep the fans hooked.

A royal wedding event in times before Covid-19

Opportunity: While events like “grand weddings” might be a thing of the past, at least for the immediate future, the opportunity still exists to plan for a classy, intimate, and yet a memorable wedding. After all, the wedding day will always be one of the most important days in a couple’s married life, and couples still need to get married (life doesn’t come to a halt because of COVID-19) and make their day special. A grand wedding reception can always be planned for when things return back to normal, until then, recordings of the wedding can be shared with extended friends and family. Planning for an intimate, yet memorable wedding can challenge the creativity of an event planner, but in this case, it is the challenge to overcome.

Technology: That was on the personal side of things. I believe it is a lot simpler on the corporate side. Technology has made it a lot easier to plan corporate events and products launches. Earlier this month, Samsung had their Galaxy Unpacked August 2020 event, and unlike previous years, their entire audience – from the media, to reviewers, to creators – joined them virtually. Also, most of the product launches looked like they were pre-recorded and professionally edited (I felt it gave it a more completed look overall, polishing out the rough edges that were visible in previous years).

A similar strategy was adopted in this year’s Democratic National Convention, in the United States of America. Apart from the day’s presenters, most of the key speakers, spoke from their home through pre-recorded messages for the nation. Only the candidates, whose acceptance speeches had to be live, addressed a greatly reduced live audience. And even here the event was planned in such a way that it tried to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures – like having the live audience being seated 6 feet apart and wearing a mask.

Democratic National Convention 2020

Events similar to Comic Con have adopted a similar strategy to Samsung, having invited their audience to participate online, hosting pre-recorded interviews of creators, developers, and stars that the audience can view. While at the same time, having interactive sessions through video conferencing/streaming with live chat options with the stars and creators of new shows.

Staffing and Salaries: With the cancellation of events comes loss of business and revenue, and by extension (maybe) downsizing and layoffs. Because, lets face it, if companies don’t earn, they can’t pay. For those that have not been affected by downsizing, the beautiful thing about being an event management professional is the ability to work from anywhere, at least most of the time. All that is needed is your mobile phone and your laptop (and something, or someone, to occupy the kids).

Training and Planning: For the bigger event management firms that have a large clientele, this time is a great opportunity to train their staff and plan for the future. All events take time to plan and having the right vendors in place with an optimised supply chain will go a long way in bring down costs and the turnaround time in executing a successful event. Because once things go back to normal, I have a feeling that there will be a rush of back to back events, to make up for lost opportunities.

RKC's residency event - before and after Covid-19
RKC’s residency event – before and after Covid-19

If you are interested in learning and being better prepared for the opportunities in event management, Robert Kennedy College through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford, UK, offers a 100% Online MSc in International Events Management to better prepare you for the challenges to come.

You can chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Why are companies using Big Data Analytics?

After a long day, I settled down for some binge-watching on Netflix (you may be a Prime fan). I had been watching this series Ozark and wanted to watch something different that evening. Netflix had some recommendations for me – similar dramas, suspense thrillers that Netflix thought I would like based on what I had been watching. I stopped to wonder how Netflix generates content recommendations that appeal to my taste and do so for millions of other users globally. 

How do algorithms work to find me my recommendations?  

I am equally fascinated by how fashion brands like Burberry provide ‘personalised’ experience and buying suggestions. Not to mention how the retail and tech giants like Walmart, Amazon and Google seem to know more about you than your own mother.

All these companies have one thing in common: Big Data and Analytics. 

What is Big Data? 

The concept of big data has been around for several years. The term big data refers to data that are so large, complex, and comes in so fast that they are difficult to process using traditional methods. It gained momentum in the 2000s when industry analyst Doug Laney articulated a new definition for big data as three V’s: Volume, Velocity and Variety. Companies are evolving from being “knowing” organizations to “learning” organizations. 

What is Data Analytics? 

Big Data Analytics in simple terms can be defined as the application of advanced analytical techniques to big data. These techniques might typically include variety of tools like statistics, data mining, AI, predictive analytics and natural language processisng (NLP). The hottest trend in business intelligence today is amalgamation of these two technical entities: Big Data and Big Data Analytics.

Why is Big Data Important and why are companies using Analytics? 

Gathering big data is not enough, you also need to know what you do with it. If data are the crude oil then analytics is knowing how to refine them. into actionable business insights unleashing their potential. Most of the top-performing organizations identify data analytics as to the ‘differentiating factor’ from the competition in the industry. Here’s it is how:

Boost customer acquisition and retention 

Many companies are now using data analytics to understand and predict consumer behaviour. The information is in turn being used in advertising algorithms. Amazon found another use of such data – maintaining customer relations by providing faster and more efficient customer service.

Marketing Insights – focus on targeted adverts. 

In the modern age, personalization is highly valuable and a differential factor for consumers. Real-time analytics have made it possible for companies to deliver more targeted and precise service and product options to their users. 

Product Innovation and Development 

Data Analytics provides valuable information and reveals the future trends. Companies can take advantage of big data to branch out to different avenues and open up new revenue streams. Amazon’s Whole Foods and Amazon’s Fresh are perfect examples of how Amazon utilised the analysis of consumer grocery buying behaviour from its huge supply chain database. It applied this acquired knowledge to diversify and establish new innovative businesses. 

Risk Management 

One of the basic premise for any business to be profitable in the long run is its ability to identify and mitigate business risks. The wide variety of innsights provided by data analytics come in handy for institutions to develop better risk management solutions. The future is to be able to carry out real-time risk analysis. 

How can you build your career in Data Analytics?

Have you got a knack for numbers and an analytical mindset? Data analytics may be the right fit for you. As an analyst, you will be responsible for analysing and understanding the trends in big data and help improve business processes. You can launch your data analyst career with these simple steps: 

Earn an Information technology, CS or statistics bachelor’s degree  

If you are just starting off your career, earning a bachelor’s degree is a great place to launch your career in the right direction. 

Gain analytics work experience 

No education degrees are useful unless they are gainfully applied. Gain valuable experience while in school or after. Entry-level positions will provide you with much needed on-the-job training which is otherwise difficult to obtain.

Advance your Analytics career with a Masters  

Work experience and a bachelor’s degree may get you to a certain level of success. For further career development and growth in the field and into the management, you should consider pursuing a master’s degree programme in data science, data analytics or big data management. These programs will provide exposure to the latest trends and knowledge.

How can we help? 

Robert Kennedy College offers 100% Online MSc Data Analytics in exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria. With an in-depth curriculum, you will study data analytics, advanced databases and learn new trends in digital marketing and artificial intelligence. The University of Cumbria is ranked 8th in the world and is recognised by the British government. Trust me, with such credentials until its belt, you do not need much (big data) analytics for choosing the University of Cumbria as your online graduate school. Join us today!  

RKC Launches 100% Online Master’s Degree Programmes

In today’s world of “social distancing”, online education has taken on an unprecedented importance. To remain professionally relevant, we must constantly find ways of self-improvement and adding more value to the organisation we work for. Online education is one of the easiest ways through which we can achieve these goals, all while maintaining social distancing!

Who are we? 

What we offer

Until now, one of the unique value propositions of RKC’s online programmes has been the one-week mandatory residency programme, which was conducted either in the university campus in the United Kingdom or the college campus in Zürich, Switzerland.  

However, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and to cater to the changing requirements of our students, RKC and its partners have moved to an online delivery for the residency as well, therefore all our Master’s degree programmes are now 100% online. 

OnlineResidency™ at work

There’s a caveat here – we really do like, and know students benefit greatly from, face to face residencies. It is likely that, as the pandemic ends, some of the programmes may go back to face-to-face residencies for new students. 

What does an “OnlineResidency™” look like? We’ve just finished our very first delivery this last week, and, some small technical challenges aside, given how everyone is online and video conferencing these days, we believe the experience has been successful and useful to our students, who learned about designing and conducting research for the Master level dissertations.

What can you study with us? 

100% Online Programmes offered through our exclusive partnership with the University of Cumbria

Online MSc Computer Science and International Business 

Online MSc Data Analytics 

Online MBA Artificial Intelligence 

Online MBA Digital Marketing 

Online MBA Information Technology 

Online Master of Business Administration 

Online MBA Energy and Sustainability 

Online MBA Finance and Sustainability 

Online MBA Media Leadership 

Online MBA Leadership and Sustainability 

Online MBA Public Health Management 

Online MBA International Healthcare Management 

Online MBA International Business 

Online MBA Risk Management 

Online MBA Tourism 

Online MBA Educational Leadership 

Online LL.M – Master of Laws in International Business Law 

100% Online Programmes offered through our exclusive partnership with the University of Salford

Online Master of Science in Global Management 

Online Master of Science in Project Management 

Online Master of Science in Financial Services Management 

Online Master of Science in Marketing 

Online Master of Science in Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management 

Online Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development 

Online Master of Science in Information Systems Management 

Online Master of Science in International Banking and Finance 

Online Master of Science in Accounting and Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Business with Law 

Online Master of Science in International Corporate Finance 

Online Master of Science in International Events Management 

Online Master of Science in Digital Business 

Online Master of Science in Fraud and Risk Management 

Online Master of Science in Finance and Investment Management 

Online Master of Science in International Business 

Online LL.M – Master of Laws in International Commercial Law

100% Online Programmes offered through our exclusive partnership with York St John University

Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change 

Online MBA in Coaching Mentoring and Leadership 

Online MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation 

Online MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting 

Online MBA in Leadership and Management 

Online MBA in Management Consulting

Which programme is right for you? Not a question I am able to answer via a blog post, I’m afraid, but if you want to find out, you can get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.  Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with our Education Advisor today! Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

Writing Masters Level Assignments

A Master’s degree is critically different from a Bachelor’s degree. Though similar on some, Master’s degree will involve a lot of different aspects than a Bachelor’s.

At Master’s level you could be studying one of the many specialised courses offered by Robert Kennedy College, as MBA International Health Management, LLM – Master of Law International Business Law , MBA Leading Innovation and Change or Master of Science Project Management.

Taught Master’s are usually modular in form, featuring a range of optional modules the student can choose from, with a final dissertation at the end of the course, usually produced over the final semester.

Writing assignments at Master’s level

You must use language appropriate to the academic environment, and a coherent and strong structure to your work is essential. Assignments will be longer at Master’s level, even for unassessed pieces of work. Do not be overwhelmed by larger word counts. Remember, you made a large step up in intensity of work from school to university, so another step-up is well within your capabilities.

Clarity is important. Do not use over-elaborate vocabulary and grammar just because you think you have to. It is more important to be understood.

Time management is crucial for the Master’s student – with a heavier workload you will find that a good weekly plan, and a firm grasp of deadlines, is essential. This is especially true with the dissertation which will be the longest assignment you will have done yet at university, usually covering a period of several months. It is important to set yourself deadlines for drafts.

Here are the various aspects of writing skills that Master’s students should be concentrating on in order to succeed.

THE MASTERS LEVEL

One of the first things most Master’s students notice once they have started is how much more intense a Master’s degree is than an undergraduate degree. It is a less passive experience; you will not be guided as much by the lecturers, and will be expected to think for yourself more.

Master’s requires a new way of approaching academic work, all the groundwork has been done at undergraduate level. Let’s look at the features of a Master’s more closely.

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

A Master’s degree is geared towards the delivery of a piece of original research. For research Master’s students this will be your primary focus. For those doing taught Master’s this will form part of all aspects of your degree, not just the final dissertation.

In your original research you should also aim for originality where possible. You are being asked to look at your subject in a fresh and innovative way, and finding a new or underdeveloped area of your subject, or a new way of looking at an established area, will help you gain better marks.

THEORY

Master’s are not exercises in description. You will need to find a theoretical basis for your work. Many Master’s will run modules on the subject of theory, it is advisable to attend all available classes on the subject of theory as it will help you to form an idea of the theory which surrounds your subject. Theory forms a useful framework to hang your research on.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Another important part of Master’s writing is critical analysis. A critical analysis is one which assesses the quality and usefulness of the sources which you are using in your assignments. This process involves considering all aspects of the source and its contents.

 

Download our course catalogue.

Sam John, MSc Marketing student shares his experience of Residency @ Salford

                                                                        My Residency….

Being married and having 2 boys… a teenager and a pre-schooler. I almost gave up on studying until I chanced upon RKC @ Salford online MSc programme. It seemed exciting and challenging enough yet manageable. I took the plunge…

I still remember the first assignment vividly … I almost broke down with a sudden realisation that this was a new ball game. Picked myself up and packed up some tools for the long road ahead.

Soon enough the year had gone by, having finished all my modules I was preparing for my Residency. I attended the program week       30 Oct – 3 Nov 2017 @ Salford UK, and what an experience it was!!! All of those who attended this residency were in more or less a similar situation not knowing what to expect. But the Salford team was wonderfully hospitable and the week was an eye-opener. I was just baffled why I didn’t do this much earlier. Our special thanks goes to the team of – A. Deen Eileen, Profs’ – Chris, Tahir, Jonathan, Rasool, Jacque & other staff at the reception desk @ Lady Hale for their guidance & the most courteous Taz from Salford catering team who took care of our global appetites.

We had a fantastic time studying and also having fun there – were able to catch a Man Utd match @ Old Trafford was a bucket-list fulfilment for me. Sightseeing was amazing, sessions with mates @ Uni and many more small but enriching moments. The Atmosphere (Uni Bar), streets, library, eateries, buffets around town @ South African, Brazilian & Chinese outlets – the week ran away too fast. We all went back with good memories and more importantly good friends for life. Keeping in touch is more meaningful as there is a face to the chat. We are helping each other now through the dissertation process. We even started a group naming it CAT – Cronbach Alpha Team (you will know the reason when you attend your Residency 😉 ). We all love to continue this relationship with Salford in our own countries and collaborate on all avenues to stay in touch with the Uni from home.

My own thought from the experience will be to urge fellow students to attend your Residency right after you complete your first module. This will definitely help in your following modules as the whole perspective to approaching your assignments and exams will change tremendously. It will give you the needed guidance and step by step methodology to finding literature, avoiding plagiarism, research tactics, results analysis & even survey strategies. This would certainly help to save time and energy given that most of you are employed full time and are running a family. The experience can improve many fold and so will the outcome!

One year is super-fast with this course to challenge you … Enjoy the journey… So ALL THE BEST GUYS!!!
Cheers!
Sam John.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sam-john-7b21aa11a/

Online education is the future of education system

It’s a changing world. We live in era of technological innovation, digitization and an internet boom, and the education sector has evolved to a stage which would hardly have been believable a few years ago. Change is often inumbrated by resistance, and bringing about any change to education, likewise has been no simple task. Only a systemic change could prompt the establishment of new teaching methodologies and the application of advanced technology in education. But despite challenges, online learning is making tremendous progress in permeating all pillars of education, from corporate learning, to higher education, to K-12 schooling. Leaders in these areas have discovered some significant ways in which online learning is better than in-person learning, and as a result we’re seeing the widespread implementation of connected technology to drive education initiatives.

With the advent of digital innovation and e-commerce, the world is your oyster where you can get almost anything and everything at the tap of your finger, without leaving the comfort of your home. There is nothing in this world you cannot get online, so why not education? Gone are the days when the only way to learn and advance was to sit through tiresome lectures. As the number of online users grows by the day, more and more people are taking to the internet for their learning needs.

Yet if you’re considering moving to online learning, it’s important to know why you should. Well, there are several reasons why online education continues to grow in popularity and is indisputably the next big thing. The factors range from the wide variety of course offerings, flexibility, and learning pace, to quality of pedagogy and networking opportunities.

Robert Kennedy College has been a pioneer in online education for the last 19 years. Its online masters’ programmes combines Swiss quality education at a distance with residencies at the college’s premises in Zürich, Switzerland or in England at the campuses of the College’s exclusive partners: the University of Cumbria, the University of Salford and York St John University.

The advantages and benefits of online learning offered by Robert Kennedy College make their education unique and stand out from the competition:

  • Wide range of courses offered – Online MBA, MSc and LL.M
  • Blended Learning – Learning opportunity both online and in-person with one-week residency
  • Network building opportunity with peers and colleagues from all over the world
  • Proprietary state of the art technology
  • Outstanding teaching faculty
  • Superior student care

At RKC we are changing lives. Come and be a part of this revolution. Click here to find out more about the online programmes.