Our client invested in a transportation company in Central Asia and soon found stronger competition than originally forecasted. Our client’s analysis of its key competitor markedly undervalued its capabilities and assumed the company would likely fold in the near future. Not only did the competitor survive some of the challenges the industry faced, but it continued to gain market share at a rapid pace. We were brought in to study the competitor and determine how it was achieving its competitive advantage.
We investigated the matter thoroughly and explained that the competitor was offering a complete solution to its customers through a joint venture with a foreign logistics company who maintained a solid infrastructure in Europe. More importantly, the competitor showed a high level of skill in the area of corporate affairs, whereas our client did not have a corporate affairs department. The competitor had a foundation of strong public relations: awards, press coverage, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and charity sponsorship. It then used this foundation to drive its agenda with politicians and regulators, which helped streamline some of the bureaucracy involved in obtaining port permissions, a key strategic advantage point. We gave our client examples of well-run projects in which the competition achieved its political objectives.
We recommended that the client build a Corporate Affairs function within the business, responsible for both lobbying and PR, with a Director of Corporate Affairs reporting to the CEO. Our team prepared the responsibilities of the job position and highlighted some of the key contacts the new Director should become acquainted with. As a result of its new corporate affairs capability, the client has seen greater success in the area of public relations.