Sample Marketing Presentation Paper on Foundations of Strategy

Foundations of Strategy

CHAPTER 1: The Concept of Strategy

Question 1

The Apple company is a globally recognized and the world’s leading brand in the technology industry founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Its success and ability to remain competitive and provide quality products are in its incorporation of the four criteria for assessing strategy outlined in chapter 1.The initial objective of founding the company was to advance computers into small devices that were portable. The developers intended to achieve user-friendly computers and change people’s perception. Inconsistency with their objective, Apple Inc. strives to produce devices that are easy to use and carry around. It has dominated the market for touchscreen tablet computers with brands such as iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple watch, and Macintosh, among others. Apple Inc. demonstrates a profound understanding of the environment in the way they invent products that are efficient and in line with daily changes. Creating new customer segments for its existing product concepts helps open up new market spaces.

Initially, Apple Inc. did not invent the personal computer, but it launched the home market for computers. In positioning itself as a leading tech company, Apple Inc.’s products are focused on new designs, innovation, and self-marketing. The client-friendly staff with adequate knowledge of the products on sale and the quality services offered in their outlets are the most effective marketting strategies implemented by Apple Inc. The company engagesits customers in providing reviews and conducting studies to understand the needs of the technology market.

CHAPTER 2: Industry Analysis


The five forces of Porter’s framework are essential in governing the profit structure of an industry by determining how the economic value generated is allocated. This value is at a risk of being drained by competitive rivalry or be bargained away through the power of customers or suppliers. Entry of new companies into the market also poses an imminent threat to the value of the industry. The process of building up a defense against these competitive forces is referred to asa strategy, which also functions by finding weaker links of the market forces. In as much as the model has its benefits in strategy formulation, there are various limitations it exhibits because it was developed in a different environment to the one the company is currently operating in. These include the relatively static modern market structure and the rapid pace of change in the economy compared to that of the 1970s when the framework was invented. In Porter’s model, it is difficult to define an industry, as it only provides a shallow insight of the environment, which is significant in strategy design.

An equally important limitation is that the framework does not integrate the complexities of the modern market as it is only applicable to simple market structures. In his work, Porter failed to acknowledge non-market forces that affect strategy and only based the model on the idea of competition. To compensate for the drawbacks of the model, it is essential that companies integrate the use of the model with other strategy formulation tools. It is also vital that an industry look beyond the external threats and use their internal resources to achieve competitive advantage. Lastly, use of technology that can cope with the rapid change of today’s market in combination with the model allows it to handle the complexity of the modern industries

CHAPTER 3: Resources and Capabilities

Question 5

The success of any company is dependent on the capacity of the enterprise to combine its resources with production. These skills include IT infrastructure, culture, the company’s processes, and corporate reputation but the most significant is human resource. Highly skilled employees are the most significant in any company, and investment in them reflects in the returns. Considering the figures on table 3.5 that illustrates the division of returns, it is evident that the workers bring in the most returns.From the table, the compensation per employee of Golden Sachs ranges from as high as $300,000 to $500,000 between 2008 and 2011 compared to the returns due to profits and dividends to shareholders. In sports, the individual players in a team have different expertise, and their values vary with their positioning. The star players are well positioned to exploit their value of the contribution to the team’s performance. Similarly, in organizations, the performance is identified relative to the skills of the individual employees.

In generalizing the company’s achievement to give credit to a team other than one person for an achievement, the companies evade the risk of the deployment of that employee to another firm. Consequently, the management of the employees is not universal to all companies and it is essential that companies maintain their unique strategies to prevent loss in competitive advantage. By adhering to customized management policies, the company can identify the strengths and be able to capitalize on them, as well as improve on the weaknesses of its human resource. It is, therefore, rational to conclude that employees possess the utmost strategic importance, and therefore, their value should be recognized to maximize returns.

CHAPTER 4: Nature and source of Competitive Advantage

Question 4

A firm gains a competitive advantage over its rival when it earns a persistently higher rate of profits within the same market. Starbucks has a competitive advantage over the Italian-based supplier as  the former is a preexisting coffee house. In cost leadership, Starbucks has managed to differentiate itself in a highly cost-effective manner which poses a challenge to the new entry company. To attain a competitive advantage over Starbucks, the Italian-based supplier can choose one of two strategies. One of the strategies would be to supply identical coffee and services as the Starbucks but at a lower cost. This way, they would gain a cost advantage over Starbucks as the majority of the customers may opt to have the same value for less. In a market where similar products or services are being sold, the company with the lowest price but highest quality of goods has the cost leadership. Hence a competitive advantage which increases their profit rates.

Alternatively, the Italian can opt for a differentiation advantage whereby the incoming company supplies products that are customized in a way that the customers are willing to pay extra for it. This type of advantage is more stable and less vulnerable compared to lowering cost. This is because the differentiated goods are hard to replicate and the changes in the external environments cannot impact on it. However, this strategy is capital intensive and require resource investment and capabilities to ensure the long-term success of the company. Sustainability of the competitive advantage is dependent on the ability of the firm to isolate themselves and bar the rivals from accessing resources that could be used in replication.

CHAPTER 5: Industry Evolution and Strategic Change

Question 2

Apple II was the first company to open up the education markets to personal computers. Later, Apple II personal computers were overtaken by IBM personal computers which became the dominant products in the industry of personal computers. The dominance and competitiveness of IBM Company in the field of computers was facilitated by several factors.First, IBM Company supplied personal computers with more advanced microprocessors and user-friendly operating systems. IBM personal computers had x86 microprocessors and MS/DOS operating system. Further, IBM Company established a long-term relationship with its large-scale customers and high levels of technical support. The company also developed its software and thus regularly upgraded it.

The IBM personal computers’ design details were made available to help the fast development of IBM-compatible software and hardware. The dominant design of the IBM personal computers has been imitated by other firms designing and selling PCs. This is because the personal computers produced and supplied by IBM Company have enhanced features and creates an incentive for users to purchase computers that are compatible with IBM/Wintel design. Therefore, the company set up IBM/Wintel as the standard factor for personal computing, and thus all the firms designing personal computers should meet this standard for their products to be competitive in the PC market.

Over the years, the IBM personal computers have evolved. They have undergone various phases of introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Currently, IBM is no longer a producer of personal computers. The company’s administration claim that the personal computer industry is not growing at the same speed as technology and thus personal computers have been replaced with tablets and Smartphones which are regarded to perform the functions of a PC faster and more efficiently.

CHAPTER 6: Technology-based Industries and Management of Innovations

Question 2

Over a decade, 3D printers have been used by designers and Engineers to create designs and prototypes for new products. The 3D printers are more enhanced and can work with wide range of materials. For instance, they can work with industrial grade metals and plastics. Recent innovations are making the 3D printer widely available and cheaper to use. Further, the technology of 3D printers is mainly used in organizations in various sectors such as the orthodontics, aerospace, football boots, and jewellery. Many organizations also use 3D printing technology to stimulate creativity among their employees thus enhancing productivity. Due to the many benefits attributed to the technology, there have been various efforts by innovators to develop 3D printers compatible with desktops.

The start-up companies intending to develop this technology anticipate to face several risks. For instance, they may face the risk of inadequate capital. The start-up company may lack the necessary and sufficient materials to facilitate the production of the 3D printers that meet the standards of the latest technology. Further, many start-up companies are unable to create conducive conditions for innovations. Due to the lack of enough monetary resources, the start-up companies lack enough personnel and thus low levels of creativity. It is important to note that inventions highly depend on creativity. Another risk facing start-up firms intending to invent a 3D printer that is compatible with a desktop is the lack of customers. Customers are regarded as important sources of innovation. They are mainly involved in an innovation process to help in the production of a product and service that meets their needs.

CHAPTER 7: Corporate Strategy

Question 3

The Tata Group is an Indian-based company that has created employment for over 424,000 people. These employees work in various sectors including construction, IT, motor vehicles, jewellery, telecommunications, steel, tea, food products fertilizers, chemicals, and management consulting. Several factors have made the company’s broad-based diversification successful and profitable. The first factor is the established and big brand name owned by the company. The company exploits this name to diversify its business in other sectors. Further, the company adds value to its diversified businesses. The Tata Group Company deploys it top management experts in the newly established businesses.

The Tata group also use the Mr Mistry’s rational strategic analysis which has outlined the objectives of the diversification clear and concise. The success and profitability of diversification at Tata Company have also been facilitated by the availability of cheap labour within India. For instance, the company has employed highly skilled but cheap Indian engineers in the IT sector. Furthermore, the success of Tata Group diversification has been made possible by its management’s act of retaining the TCS’s dividends which are later used in facilitating operations in its poorly performing business sector. The leaders at Tata Company also regularly evaluate the company’s strategic needs and capabilities at different phases of the value chain. This helps in enhancing and making diversification a success and profitable. The success and profitability of business diversification at Tata Company have also been driven by the company’s management willingness to learn from their past mistakes.

CHAPTER 8: Global Strategies and Multinational Corporation

Question 5

Nestle company is the world’s leading food and beverage firm. It has opened up  branches in 191 counries worldwide while producing over 2000 brands extending from locally preffered favourites to global icons. The company is focused on ensuring that the members of the society live a better life, as well as encouraging them to live a healthy life. Further, the company is led by a Board of Directors, headed by the Chairman, Paul Bulcke. He was the company’s former Chief Executive Officer. The daily management activities at the company are carried out by the executive board. This board is led by Mark Schneider, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, Nestle Group is managed according to geographical zones by some managers who report to the CEO.

For me to judge whether Nestle Company is a transnational organization, I would get additional information on whether the company entered into a strategic agreement with their suppliers, business partners, and customers for this helps in saving capital and time. I would also seek information on the various challenges facing the top managers in the company and the measures they put in place to deal with these challenges. Some of these challenges include exploiting innovation andorganizing and fostering new product development.Besides, I would seek for additional information regarding the competitive nature of the company. This is because many companies tend to be very competitive in their home market but less competitive in the international markets and thus they cannot be regarded as transnational organizations. Further, I would like to know whether the decision-making process in the company is centralized or decentralized and whether every member of the company is involved in the process.

CHAPTER 9: Realizing Strategy

Question 2

The organizational structure of a company contributes greatly to the acceleration of the innovation. Over the years, organizational structure has exhibited several changes. These changes were influenced by the opportunities made through the advancements in technology and demands of their external environments. Further, the organizational structure plays a significant role in the implementation of strategies, which also leads to the acceleration of the innovation process.

Big and well-established companies such as IBM, Google, GE, 3M and Toyota have embraced amatrix organizational structure that enables them to carry out the process of innovation faster. For the organizational structure to facilitate fast innovation processes, these companies have taken the following crucial actions. First, decisions have been delegated to innovation teamswith an aim toprevent delays. Secondly, R&D has been integrated into business units. This helps in making the innovation management more efficient, as well as in improving the preconditions of a speedy innovation process. Further, an innovative organizational structure accelerates the process of innovation as it allows creative input from individuals and teams in the organization.

The companies outsource for specialists to help in the generation of new products. Further, the companies award grants to external investors to aid in the generation of new products. This form of organizational structure facilitates and improves the innovation process in these companies. Furthermore, other innovation companies have embraced the project organizational structure. This structure enables the companies to work on various projects to help the project managersselect one project that seems promising for the production of new products.


Grant, R. M., & Jordan, J. J. (2015). Foundations of strategy. John Wiley & Sons.