|How to Become an Alpha Company
Ask most business people how Alpha companies—businesses that dominate
their industry or product category—earn top-dog position, and they'll probably
list things, such as most-competitive price, great customer service, best-quality product and being the first-to-market. Surprisingly, these are not
the factors that create Alpha companies.
Below are six strategies tested in more than 75 companies and 40 product
categories that help companies increase revenues, beat the competition and rise
to the top.
1. Functionally satisfy at least the minimum; emotionally satisfy the
maximum. Alpha companies meet the minimal functional needs (e.g., quality
and performance) and focus more on making customers feel smarter, more
appreciated, more attractive, more respected and/or more fulfilled than their
2. Don't compete on price. Alpha companies compete less on price than
their competitors do. Don't get confused about the importance of price. Price is
the final value judgment customers make; the conclusion they create based
on weighing all of the benefits a product or brand seems to offer.
3. Drive expectations. Alpha companies differentiate their brands not by
what they do, but by what they make customers want. If your company can
satisfy desires and do so at a higher emotional level of satisfaction than the
competition, your company can generate a controlling influence with customers,
distributors, referral agents and competitors.
4. Measure causes over outcomes. Businesses that spend so much
time worrying about measuring and comparing sales, profits, market share, brand
awareness, stock prices, margins or any of the other outcomes only clouds the
focus on the causes that drive those desired outcomes. Instead, understand your
company's performance in terms of causal factors, such as perceived satisfaction
of needs (especially self-satisfaction and personal significance),
communications effectiveness, brand differentiation and loyalty generation.
5. Critical change occurs once competitors start to follow your lead.
This process of leading the pack starts with driving new and higher customer
expectations. Once competitors discover that your customers are influencing
customers of other products to buy your product because you have set new,
higher expectations, those competitors start to follow your lead.
6. Deep, sustainable strength takes time. Customers, competitors,
distributors, referral agents and even employees need to become accustomed to
seeing you in the leadership role and following your lead. Your corporate
management also needs to adapt your company's culture to that new lead position.
Companies that dominate their category make it a priority to be relentless in
maintaining and protecting their Alpha status.
About the Author
Wes Ball is founder of The Ball Group, located in Lititz, PA. It is a
strategic innovation management consulting firm that helps companies ranging
from Fortune 100 to medium-sized regional companies create dramatic new growth.
Wes is also the author of The Alpha Factor: The Secret to Dominating Competitors
and Creating Self-Sustaining Success (Westlyn Publishing, 2008.).Wes can be
reached at email@example.com.