Our client was satisfied that it understood its competitive position in Europe and North America but was concerned that its understanding was limited in growth markets. Our client needed to define a clear strategy for growth markets, specifically Africa, and could only do this with knowledge of and insights into the competition it faced there.
We visited the retail and distribution outlets in urban and rural parts of Africa and used observations from other growth markets well known to us, for example the Middle East and Latin America. We found that our client’s understanding of the competition was limited and, as suspected, largely formed by press reports. The market is composed of a set of agile and opportunistic local firms and one large global player. The local players copied our client’s innovations quickly and, in some cases, modified the packaging to create single servings that were more affordable and convenient for the consumer. The global competitor demonstrated a more successful operation, with a better sales and marketing strategy than our client and, in many ways, a corporate culture that provided a competitive advantage.
We made several recommendations that varied from tactical advice regarding the management of sales resources to significant recommendations regarding our client’s company culture. Specifically, we found that our client’s supply chain was failing to satisfy the demand created by the sales and marketing effort and demonstrated that fixing this would provide an immediate increase in sales of 15%. Additionally, we found the competition to be more clearly embedded in the local community. We therefore gave specific recommendations to improve community relations.