Strategy is as much about what you will not do as it is about what you will do, perhaps even more so, as it forces difficult choices.

Equally, the old marketing buzz-word ‘positioning’ which was defined in my university days 45 years ago as ‘how your customers see you’ benefits hugely from the addition of a clear statement of what you are not, what you will  not do, and even calling out the ‘enemy’.

When you define who is your enemy, those who feel the same way as you will find it very hard to do anything but support you, it rallies support to your cause.

This means that you can never create a product for everyone, the more defined you are the better, as you will then have more potential for rallying groups of those who are against what it is you are against.

Where would Mohamed Ali be without Joe Frazier?

Where would Apple be without Microsoft?

Would Neil Armstrong have taken a moon walk in 1969 without the Russians?

Mr. Churchill would have remained a backbencher without Herr  Hitler

Would Coles and Woolworths be the most successful FMCG retailers (as measured by domestic market share) in the world without each other?

In the back streets of Ashfield in Sydney there are two small grocery stores, almost opposite each other, fighting to the death for the last 20 years, and in the process keeping Woolies and Coles at bay, at least in the very local area they service.

Respect your enemy, and learn from them, they make you stronger.

Photo credit MrT HK via Flikr