The experience I have had in the last one decade as a consultant in business strategy, as well as a strategic planning executive in a corporation, continues to trigger my interest to explore companies with exceptionally good performance and brand-name. My curiosity has always been to know how these businesses are being managed from a zero level to becoming a market leader. One of the secrets, which I have just discovered about these businesses, is the fact that their managers are gifted with entrepreneurial skill with a quest to differentiate the business from the crowd.

In the study I conducted, a larger percentage of the businesses I surveyed have something in common; they are easily differentiated by the choice of the strategy, and they are unique and do not fall into the category of market followers. For instance, in the early 1990s, Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank entered the Nigerian banking market with a distinctive strategy by modernising banking with sophisticated IT systems, thus redefining the tradition and pattern of banking in Nigeria. Lagos Business School (LBS) in a similar manner penetrated the private sector in Nigeria by providing a world-class business executive training programme which is much like Harvard Business School, especially its world-class branded MBA program that consequently changed the quality and standard of managers in various companies. Tantalizers came into the fast-food business with a totally different strategy; in so doing it became the fastest-growing brand name in the eatery business. Channels Television started operation with a unique style and approach in news broadcasting, much like that of CNN. Dana Motors (the sole distributors of KIA cars) changed the entire automobile marketing industry with a matchless and well-implemented marketing strategy. Babcock University has also redefined university education in Nigeria, while Zinox Computers, MainOne, Interswitch Limited and Dataflex triggered the IT market with an aggressive marketing strategy, thus becoming the fastest growing brand of locally built system. Multi-Links Telecommunications, IGI Insurance, Indomie, City People Magazine, and GlobaCom, are notable brands in Nigeria that have achieved tremendous growth due to a deployment of distinctive strategies in the various lines of business.

All the above brands and many others that have achieved rapid growth in recent times are noted to have achieved this feat due to their ability to differentiate their business from their competitors with a unique strategy that consequently remains their strength today.

The purpose of an organisation is to create wealth for the shareholders, the employees and the whole society at large. Every company’s management, especially the CEO, is therefore at liberty to display its competence by designing a pathway for the business to succeed and stand out of a crowd. But in a situation where wealth creation has become very competitive and the company must strive with other organisations in the industry for its own share of profit and returns on assets, then the use of a distinctive and well-designed strategy must be deployed to create a competitive edge ahead of other players in the industry to succeed.

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