The Corporate Brand: An Intangible Resource as a Basis for Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Studies of the sources of sustainable competitive advantage basically focus on one of the following alternatives: isolating the opportunities and threats and describing the strengths and weaknesses of the companies or analyzing how the first and second alternative to be integrated in order to choose the appropriate strategy. This is the main subject analyzed in this paper. Thinking that the competitive advantage, rather than the external environment, is the primary source of profitability for the company, the attention of companies is drawn towards the sources of sustainable competitive advantage. The resource position of the company is an equally important issue in strategic management just as the choice between differentiation and cost leadership in either wider or narrower market segment. For example, the selection of a strategy of cost leadership implies the existence of: economy of scale, superior process technology, ownership or access to cheap inputs as well as cheap labor. Analogous to this, the advantage of differentiation involves: strong brand, reputation, protected technology, specific channels of distribution and specialization in sales and aftersales services.
The purpose of this paper is to show that the company's strategy should defocus from the claims for monopoly profits (returns from market power) and look for the Ricardo’s earnings (return on the resources that provide a competitive advantage over the actual cost of such resources). The corporate brand as the most specific resource of companies plays well such a role. The process of selection and implementation of the strategy should result in a choice that most effectively utilizes this key resource.
Thus, the research involved analysis of a sample of companies, using a semi-structured questionnaire and the results were acquired through proper statistical analysis.The research results lead to a clear understanding of the dominance of the corporate brand in terms of the features that a source of sustainable competitive advantage should meet.