It is said that the first fast-food restaurant to offer breakfast was McDonald’s in the early 1970’s. As soon as the next fast food restaurant chain began serving breakfast, McDonald’s was no longer different or unique. Now the fast-food restaurant offering breakfast pool is full of swimmers, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, What-A-Burger, and so many more.
Why do leaders, every fast-food restaurant after McDonald’s offering breakfast, implement the same processes or products/services (offerings) of their competitors or like organizations not in competition for the same customer (Offering Payor) or consumer (Offering End-User)? The simple answer is, it easier to duplicate the thought, process, or offering of another organization, especially if we conclude, with or without valid and reliable data, that the thought, process, or offering generates positive outcomes.
At the forefront of your organization, there must be a philosophy that you will provide the highest quality offerings that cannot be purchased from another organization (differentiation) and at the lowest cost to the organization. Do not misconstrue this statement. We are not sacrificing quality for cost.
To differentiate your organization from others and not compete against them you must engage in two assessments. The first assessment is of your organization. Have team members across all departments engage in a very honest assessment of the quality, benefit, and value of your offerings. If your organization earns and deserves a score of zero, on a scale of zero to ten, do not lie to make it look good. Do you want your physician to give you an honest assessment of your test results or lie to you? Ask your customers and consumers, remembering they may be different for a one-purchase process, to assess your quality, benefits, and values of your offerings. Make sure you have a good representation of your four customer/consumer groups:
1) Currently pleased customers and consumers
2) Currently disgruntled customers and consumers
3) Previous customers and consumers and
4) Customers and consumers who have never considered your organization as an option.
You may and probably will discover that how you view and assess your organization internally may not be how the customers and consumers view and assess your organization. The perception of the customer and consumer is your reality.
As you begin the process of revising current offerings or developing new offerings based on your honest assessments, engage in the second assessment phase to evaluate the (PEST) Political, Economic, Sociological and Technological landscape.
According to Will Kenton (2022), The political analysis focuses on the areas in which government policy and/or changes in legislation affect the economy, the specific industry, and the organization in question. Areas of policy that may particularly affect an organization include tax and employment laws. The general political climate of a nation or region, as well as international relations, can also greatly influence the organization. The economic analysis targets the key factors of interest and exchange rates, economic growth, supply and demand, inflation, and recession. The social factors that may be included in the analysis are demographics and age distribution, cultural attitudes, and workplace and lifestyle trends. The technological component considers the specific role and development of technologies within the sector and organization, as well as the wider uses, trends, and changes in technology. Government spending on technological research may also be a point of interest in this area.
To delve into the depths of understanding the process of differentiation AND low cost, NOT differentiation OR low cost, I would recommend that you read and study the books, The Blue Ocean Strategy and The Blue Ocean Shift authored by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.