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In Outhink the Competition, I introduce the framework called the 8Ps which says that if you want to create a truly disruptive company, you want to unleash winning moves (strategic choices the competition will not or cannot react intelligently to) across eight dimensions: position, product, price, place, promotion, processes, physical experience, and people. My research shows that you can actually calibrate a company's competitive advantage by using this eight Ps framework to come up with a "Outthinker Score" that correlates with a company's growth rate and profitability (the score explains 40% of firm's relative growth and profitability). In other words, the more points of differentiation you can create across the eight Ps and the more sustainable those differences are, the faster your company will grow and the more profitable it is.

Use this tool to calculate your company's Outthinker Score and see how you stack up to other disruptive companies and identify your best opportunities to increase your competitiveness.
Instructions

Assess your competitive advantage across eights dimensions (the 8Ps). For each P this tool will give you an explanation and example and then ask you to give your company one of three scores. It is critical that you be brutally honest with yourself. Remember that most companies, even successful ones, operate with a score of zero, meaning they win through better execution not strategy.

0 - You are essentially doing what your competition does

1 - You are doing something unique that matters to your buyers, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years

2 - You doing something unique that matters to consumers and it is likely to take five years or longer for the competition to copy you
Position
The key to creating a positioning advantage is to differentiate yourself in your customers' minds in at least two dimensions and hold positions in those dimensions that your competition will not want to occupy.

Example: Urban Outfitters, a fast-growing U.S. clothing retailer, markets only college-age students. Traditional competitors, like Gap, will resist copying this positioning because to do so would be to give up other important market segments, like baby, maternity, and, generally, adults. Urban Outfitters also differentiates itself by making every store look a little different. Gap, who depends on efficiencies gained by every store looking similar, will resist adopting Urban Outfitters's layout strategy. Of course, traditional competitors can replicate this "college student-focused and every store unique" positioning with a new brand, a new concept, or a new area in each store, but that takes years of planning. While competitors plan, Urban Outfitters grows.

Does your position give you an advantage?
  0 - Positioned similarly to key competitors
  1 - Doing something unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Doing something unique that it is likely to take five years or longer for the competition to copy
Product
Does your product or service have a characteristic that your target buyers want and that competitors cannot or will not copy?

Example: Nintendo introduced the Wii, a game console with a motion-sensor device that allows players to manipulate video games with natural movements. With this innovation, this relatively small player lurched ahead of larger competitors Microsoft and Sony, who took years to respond with competing products.

Is your product/ service giving you an advantage?
  0 - Your product/service is similarly to key competitors
  1 - Doing something unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Doing something unique that it is likely to take five years or longer for the competition to copy
Price
Creating a winning move in pricing is rarely about offering a lower price; it involves pricing differently.

Example: Redbox places vending machines in supermarkets where customers can rent DVD movies. The concept was originally developed by McDonald's and was then spun off as an independent business. Redbox prices its DVDs at $1 per day, whereas traditional competitors price their rentals (online or physical) at $3 to $4 per rental. By pricing per day, Redbox creates the perception that customers can rent a video for one third the price. But because customers rarely return their video in one day, they often end up paying much more than they would have had the rented from the competition. By changing the basis of pricing, Redbox charges more but creates the perception that it charges less.

Do you have a price advantage?
  0 - Price on a basis similarly to key competitors
  1 - Doing something unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Doing something unique that it is likely to take five years or longer for the competition to copy
Placement
Placement stands for distribution. You can create a competitive advantage by pursuing a new distribution path.

Example: Dell revolutionized computer selling by selling directly to consumers while its rivals, HP and Compaq, felt PC buyers would require face-to- face interaction.

Do you have a placement/ distribution advantage?
  0 - Your distribution model is similar to that of key competitors
  1 - Your distribution model is unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Your distribution model is unique and a motivated competitor is not likely to copy it within four years
Promotion
If you can adopt a promotion (or advertising) model that is different than your competition, you have a chance at building a competitive advantage.

Example: Vistaprint, for example, spends little or no money on traditional promotion. Instead, it offers customers free business cards (customers pay only for shipping). The business cards have the customer's design on the front and a small Vistaprint logo on the back. This strategy lowers barriers to trying the Vistaprint service, encourages peer-to-peer marketing (when customers hand out business cards, they are spreading the Vistaprint brand), and lowers marketing costs (the marginal cost to print new cards is minimal). By not having to spend on traditional advertising, Vistaprint is able to achieve gross margins above 50 percent.

Do you have a promotion advantage?
  0 - Your promotion strategy is substantially similar to key competitors
  1 - Your promotion strategy is unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Your promotion strategy is unique and a motivated competitor not be to to copy it within four years
Processes
Many competitive advantages of disruptive companies are the result of them making seemingly tactical choices about the process with which they run their businesses.

Example: Corporate Creations helps companies register their businesses across multiple jurisdictions. It is rapidly challenging an oligopoly controlled by two entrenched competitors. One strategy is its unique employee compensation process. It starts by running an open book, so all employees know every month exactly what the company's revenue and profit was. It then gives monthly bonuses based on that month's gross profit. This forces employees to be accountable to each other and work as a team. Vistaprint forces customers to use the same size and paper type, then consolidates customer orders into one large batch. This lets them produce small orders of business cards at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. What unique process choices have you made that could help you sail past the competition?

What unique process choices have you made that could help you sail past the competition?
  0 - Your process are substantially similar to those of key competitors
  1 - Your process model is unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - One or more of your processes is unique and a motivated competitor not be to copy it within four years
Physical experience
Subtle physical cues like colors, textures, and smells can have profound impact in customer loyalty and perceived differentiation of your product/ service.

Example: When Apple launched Apple Stores many viewed this as a dangerous diversion from Apple's core. But the stores have achieved one of the highest revenue per square foot of retailers around the world, and they allow Apple to better manage the physical experience customers have with the Apple brand. When you buy a Dell or HP computer, you interact with the brand remotely (via phone or Internet) or indirectly (through a retailer's salesperson). With Apple, you can, usually with a short drive, directly interact with an Apple expert in an Apple environment.

Have you created a differentiated physical experience?
  0 - Your physical experience is substantially similar to those of key competitors
  1 - Your physical experience is unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Your physical experience is unique and a motivated competitor not be to copy it within four years
People
The skills, behaviors, and values of your people can provide a powerful cultural advantage. To maintain this, Outthinkers often focus on recruiting a unique type of person, developing distinctive skills through training and development, motivating them through differentiated incentive systems, and maintaining a strong and distinctive culture.

Example: Rosetta Stone does not hire traditional learning experts; instead, it hires people who have learned a second language naturally. Vistaprint does not hire printing experts; it hires young, technology-savvy marketers. Urban Outfitters does not hire retailing experts; it hires "sensory merchandisers" that it can trust to make decisions about how to decorate their individual stores.

Do you have a people advantage?
  0 - Your people are of a substantially similar profile to those of key competitors
  1 - Your people policies (recruitment, training, etc.) are unique today, but a motivated competitor would likely copy it within four years
  2 - Your people policies will take years to replicate
Your Score