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Competitive Analysis


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich




Most of us face competition. Even those who work in the “not-for-profit” world compete for resources. In fact, competition may be defined as the alternative use of the same resources. That is, the solutions to problems are usually found by the application of these resources, whether by the purchase of a standard product or one that is made to serve its purpose. It’s the old hammer and screwdriver model. When we don’t have a hammer, a screwdriver will do.

In many open markets, most goods and services can be purchased from any number of companies, giving customers a wide variety from which to choose. It’s the work of companies in the market to find their competitive edge and to meet customers’ needs better than their competitors. So, how can one company gain competitive advantage over the others? Whether there are few or many like products and services in the chosen marketplace, how do different organizations sell basically the same things at different prices and with different degrees of success? It is a classic question, and one addressed by many over the years. Among them is Michael Porter, business professor at Harvard University, and market student. In his original work, “Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors,” he summarizes competition into three classic strategies:

  1. Cost Leadership
  2. Product Differentiation
  3. Market Segmentation

These three generic strategies outline the ways organizations provide their customers with what they want at a better price or more effectively than others. Essentially, Porter maintained that companies compete either on price (cost), on perceived value (differentiation), or by focusing on a very specific customer (market segmentation).

Competing on lower prices or by offering more perceived value became very popular (as competitive advantages) for simple reasons. Price is ever present in the mind of the consumer and easily confused with value. If the analysis of value becomes too arduous, many “sellers” of product and service revert to price as the distinguisher to attract customers. Ultimately, price becomes the value proposition.

For many, however, the detail in the choice among the three strategies revealed opportunity. Thus, tools were developed to assist the analysis of competitive advantage. In developing Bowman’s Strategy Clock, Cliff Bowman and David Faulkner looked at Porter’s strategies in a different way.

In 1996, this led to the development of Bowman’s Strategy Clock. As with Porter’s generic strategies, Bowman considers competitive advantage in relation to cost advantage or differentiation advantage. This model of corporate strategy is another suitable way to analyze a company’s competitive position in comparison to others’ offerings. There are six core strategic options, eight in total:

  1. Low Price/Low Added Value. This strategy is commonly considered to be appropriate only on a segment-by-segment basis. It is generally a high-volume strategy.
  2. Low Price. This strategy calls for the company to position itself as the “low-cost leader.” The company risks low margins, price wars, and ultimately devalues the market.
  3. Hybrid of Low Price/Differentiation. Here, the company establishes a low-cost base and reinvests to keep prices low, while still seeking differentiation.
  4. Differentiation. There are two versions of this strategy — with and without a price premium. With a price premium, the company adds enough value to the product to justify its relatively high price and so, increases margins. Without a price premium, the company adds value to the product in hopes of gaining market share despite lower margins.
  5. Focused Differentiation. Here, the company adds enough value to the product for a specific customer segment to justify a price premium. This is also called an “exclusivity market.”
  6. Increased Price/Standard Product. With this strategy, the company raises prices without adding value to the product in hopes of higher margins. Unless the product is the de facto industry standard, however, the company risks losing market share.
  7. Increased Price/Low Values. This strategy pertains only to monopoly situations.
  8. Low Value/Standard Price. This strategy invariably ends in loss of market share.

Bowman’s Strategy Clock

The Strategy Clock is adapted from the work of Cliff Bowman


As an exercise, place the following product/services in their likely categories onto the Strategy Clock. Add your own as you get the hang of it.

  • New Zealand lamb
  • A standard domestic 40-watt light bulb
  • A colored 40-watt light bulb
  • Pay per view TV
  • Hyundai autos
  • First class airline flights
  • A standard paperclip

The idea is to find out where your product/service rests in the Strategy Clock to determine either your competitiveness or the opportunity to improve it. Products in the high price/low value segment (6-8) are likely to fail. Most brands don’t make money and consequently, company portfolios are replete with loss-making and marginally profitable brands. This occurs because companies too often see core competencies as far as their product definitions reveal, and not as far as the skills necessary to making a market for them. Knee jerk reaction to competitive entries is also at the root of much product formation.

The opportunity in competitive analysis is to capture a clearer picture of the brand strength — either actual or expected. Once identified, the work necessary to effective positioning can begin. As is always the case, if you don’t do your own positioning your competitor will do it (to you).


February 16, 2018 |

Simple Seafood Solutions for Lent


In Good Taste








(Family Features) With people across the country observing Lent, a religious tradition observed during the 40 days before Easter, it’s time to rethink the standard family meal menu.

This nearly eight-week period typically calls for a special diet. Specifically, red meat is cut out on Fridays for some and for the entirety of Lent for others. According to Datassential, 26 percent of consumers observe lent and of those, 41 percent said they eat fish on Fridays instead of meat.

Eating two servings of seafood per week – as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – is one way to make a positive commitment to you and your family’s health during Lent and throughout the year. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, research shows eating seafood 2-3 times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood also provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is a quality source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.

With so many seafood options available, including Alaskan cod, snapper, salmon and more, it can be easy to incorporate this nutritious lean protein into your diet.

This simple recipe for Blackened Catfish with Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette can help you on your way to a more nutritious meal plan that includes consuming seafood twice per week. If you can’t find catfish or prefer to substitute, any white fish such as cod, mahimahi or flounder will work.

For more seafood recipes and Lenten meal inspiration, visit or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.

Blackened Catfish with Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy of chef Tim Hughes on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership

Servings: 4

Blackening Seasoning:

1             tablespoon salt

1             tablespoon pepper

1             tablespoon cayenne pepper

1             tablespoon garlic powder

1             tablespoon thyme

Quinoa Salad:

1             tablespoon peanut oil

1             cup corn, canned and drained or frozen and thawed to room temperature

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1/2             cup edamame, shelled and thawed to room temperature

3             cups quinoa, cooked

Blackened Catfish:

1            tablespoon peanut oil

1             pound catfish, cut into four fillets

5             tablespoons Blackening Seasoning

Citrus Vinaigrette:

2             tablespoons lemon juice

1             teaspoon lemon zest

1             tablespoon honey

1/2             teaspoon thyme

2             tablespoons olive oil

To make Blackening Seasoning: Combine salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and thyme.

To make Quinoa Salad: Heat and oil skillet. Add corn; salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until golden brown. Add edamame and sauteed corn to quinoa and set aside.

To make Blackened Catfish: Heat cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon peanut oil added. Coat both sides of catfish fillets with Blackening Seasoning. Add catfish to skillet and cook 5-6 minutes per side, or until well done.

To make Citrus Vinaigrette: Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and thyme. Slowly add olive oil, whisking until dressing is formed.

Serve Blackened Catfish on top of Quinoa Salad and drizzle with Citrus Vinaigrette.



Photo courtesy of Getty Images

February 14, 2018 |

Top Tips to Get Ready to Run


To Your Health









(Family Features) You’ve made the decision to get in shape, and whether your goal is a full marathon or simply a few laps around the neighborhood, there are a few steps to consider taking before you strap on those shoes and head toward the finish line.

Here are a few tips to help get you ready for the big race:

Seek Quality Sneakers – Feet come in a variety of widths and sizes, so visit a specialty running store to find perfect-fitting sneakers. These may come with a hefty price tag, but there are no shortcuts for comfort and support while running long distances.

Make a Schedule – Try to aim for at least 10 hours of training per week, including three days where you run and two or three days of other physical activity such as cycling or strength training. To avoid exhaustion, be sure to include at least 1-2 “rest” days per week.

Stick with Water – Avoid sports drinks that are loaded with preservatives and sugars. You can’t go wrong with the hydrating power of water. As a rule, try to consume at least 6-8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you run. Proper hydration after the run is also vital.

Go Online – Many websites have training guides for various skill levels or different types of races. If you have a smartphone, look for apps that can take you through day-by-day workouts to get you marathon-ready.

Nutrition – Filling your body with the proper amount of fuel can help ensure finish-line success. Load up on quality carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, whole-wheat pastas, whole-grain cereals, apples, brown rice and root vegetables. Protein also plays an important role in a runner’s nutrition, so fill up on lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, peanut butter and soy protein sources, as well.

By following these general rules, you’ll be able to focus on achieving your goal and enjoy the thrill of finishing the race. Find more tips for a healthier lifestyle at



Photo courtesy of Getty Images




February 14, 2018 |

Important Information Needed When Babysitting

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Whether you have a babysitter for just the evening or for an extended period of time, there is vital information all parents should leave posted before they go out. Case in point is when we had the opportunity to mind our two grandchildren for the week when their parents took a plane trip out of town. Since we live in another state we were not familiar with the children’s daily routine, so before our visit I sent our daughter an extensive email asking for important phone numbers and schedules. It was pleasurable being with and taking care of our six- and eight-year old grandchildren for that week; however, to feel more comfortable I wanted all the necessary emergency phone numbers at my fingertips. One sheet of information was posted on their refrigerator and the other kept in our car’s glove compartment since we would be doing errands with the children and picking them up from school by car.

I wanted the telephone number for their elementary school and their teachers’ names in case I had to call the school if one of them were sick and not going to class. Since it was wintertime, I asked how we would be notified in the event of a delay or school closing. “The school will call the house with a recorded message” was the answer. More important than the school’s telephone number were the names and phone numbers of their pediatrician and dentist. What is the name/address of the nearest hospital and the name of their medical insurance company and ID number? Grandparents or caregivers in charge of young children when parents are away and can’t be reached should have a note designating them to authorize treatment. Last, but not least, I wanted the name/number of the veterinarian used for their little dog.

Making sure all bases were covered for our week babysitting, we were able to enjoy our time together and not think about what to do or who to contact in an emergency. It was certainly an eye-opener to go back in time and be part of getting two young children ready for school each morning, helping with homework, bath time, listening to them practice their reading, playing classic board games, and best of all reading some of my favorite stories to them at bedtime.

Today’s working parents certainly have a complex life and hectic daily routine – that’s for sure!





February 14, 2018 |

Art Exhibit: Frozen in Time



Works by Crystal Keeler at Studio Around the Corner

The Cultural Arts Coalition is thrilled to present Frozen in Time, works by Crystal Keeler, at Studio Around the Corner.

Crystal Keeler is a local artist in the greater Danbury area, currently residing in the Putnam Lake community of Patterson, NY. She has a degree in Media Arts & Animation, and loves to explore a wide range of artistic disciplines, from animation and digital art, to painting, sculpting, soap making, and writing. Crystal has a deep passion for both science and the arts, and her work is often a juxtaposition of the two, such as combining traditional and digital 3D sculpting techniques, or abstract work mixing the effects of heat and gravity in a fast setting epoxy resin. Her latest abstract series uses this technique and others to capture a range of motions, colors and forms. From calm vistas reminiscent of a spring meadow or cresting waves on an ocean, to dynamic expanding nebulas glowing in brilliant colors, each represents a transient emotional state, frozen in time.

In addition photography by youth artist, Maxwell Likens will be displayed. Maxwell is a senior at Brewster High School and an incoming freshman at RIT for Biomedical Engineering.

Opening Reception & Meet the Artist:  Friday, March 2, 7p – 9p.

Additional Studio Hours:  12 – 2p

Saturday, March 3

Saturday, March 10

Saturday, March 17

Saturday, March 24

Studio Around the Corner

67 Main Street, Suite 101

Brewster, NY 10509

(845) 363-8330

For more information on this and other Cultural Arts Coalition events, visit:, call (845) 363 – 8330, email or find us on Facebook at “Cultural Arts Coalition”.

Cultural Arts Coalition and Studio Around the Corner
67 Main Street, Suite 101, Brewster, NY 10509

(845) 363-8330






About The Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition

The Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining cultural arts within the Town of Southeast and its surrounding region. TOSCAC was established as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation in August 2010 with the purpose, as detailed in the incorporation papers, “… to promote and raise funds for the development and effective management of affordable, accessible performance space that will provide citizens of the Town of Southeast opportunities to participate in and appreciate cultural arts, including lectures, theater, dance, film, music, visual arts, and inclusive community events.”

Our current focus is the renovation of the Southeast Old Town Hall, a historic landmark within the Village of Brewster and a perfect venue to serve as a cultural hub. The Old Town Hall has been described as a “Jewel in the Center of Brewster” and its renovation will help foster the revitalization of downtown Brewster.


February 12, 2018 |

Mid Hudson Adirondack Mountain Club Outings Schedule

If changes/additions to these hikes occur, they will be found on the website

MID-WEEK HIKES – The leaders offer hikes of varying difficulty to different areas of the Mid-Hudson Valley.  Hikes may be followed by a stop for refreshments.  Leaders: Ginny Fauci,  845-399-2170 or Lalita Malik,  (845) 592-0204. They will be held every Thursday, weather permitting.  

HARRIMAN DOG-FRIENDLY HIKES – Susan Sterngold and her dogs lead hikes every day in Harriman.  Dogs will be on all the hikes and you’re welcome to bring yours.  Hikes are scheduled a few days ahead of time.  To receive notifications of the hikes, please join her yahoo group  When signing up, pick special notices and mention you are a Mid-Hudson ADK hiker.

Sat, Mar 3 – Minnewaska SP X-Country Ski Tour 10-17 miles  Experienced in Kerhonkson, NY
Leader: Marty Carp, 845-303-3764 cell, 845-255-0531 home, or
Route and miles determined by conditions and group preference.  Meet at Minnewaska State Park`s upper lot overlooking Lake Minnewaska at 10 AM ($10/person ski fee).  Confirm with leader.  

Sun, Mar 4 – Peterskill/Awosting Falls Loop – 5-6 miles Difficult Joint with Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner NY
Leader: Ginny Fauci or 845-399-2170
We will do a loop from Peterskill on the Awosting Falls Carriage Road and then return on High Peterskill continuing over Compass Rock before going back down to Peterskill.  Parking is $10/car or free for those with Empire Pass or over 62.  Meet at Peterskill at 10 am.  This could be a hike/snowshoe or spikes.  Bring water, snacks and lunch and layer for the weather.  Confirm with leader.

Tues, Mar 6 – Mohonk Preserve x-country ski   (7-11 miles) Experienced in Gardiner, NY
Leader: Marty Carp 845-303-3764
We will x-country ski on the best available trails.  Bring a hot drink, water, lunch, snacks, and an extra pair of gloves.  Meet at the Spring Farm parking lot at 10 AM and please confirm with leader.  Hey we might have to hike or call it a day.  Do not forget the $15 fee if you are not already a member of Mohonk Preserve.

Fri, Mar 9 – Mohonk Preserve x-country ski   (7-11 miles) Experienced in Gardiner, NY
Leader: Marty Carp 845-303-3764
We will x-country ski on the best available trails.  Bring a hot drink, water, lunch, snacks, and an extra pair of gloves.  Meet at the Spring Farm parking lot at 10 AM and please confirm with leader.  Hey we might have to hike or call it a day.  Do not forget the $15 fee if you are not already a member of Mohonk Preserve.

Sat, Mar 10 – Two Short Catskills Hikes & Lunch at Bread Alone (each Moderate for both hikes)
Leader: Russ Faller 845-297-5126 (before 9:30 PM) or
In the morning we’ll do 2500′ Ticeteneyck Mtn. (3.5 mi. R/T, @1400′ ascent), just E of Boiceville.  Alan Via, author of The Catskill 67,writes that, with leaves off the trees, there are views all the way to the summit, culminating in a knock-out vista of the Ashokan Reservoir and an amazing array of high and low peaks.  We’ll retreat to Bread Alone for one of their gourmet lunches, then head out to climb 3000′ Silver Hollow (Edgewood) Mtn.  This is a 4 mi. R/T hike, with 1150′ ascent.  About this mountain, Alan Via says, “Although there is not much to see from the summit, the views along the way, especially when the leaves are off the trees, are showy.”  We won’t expect to share the trails with many other groups, if any.  Bring water, water-proofed hiking boots, snacks – no need to bring lunch unless you don’t like Bread Alone’s food.  Check the weather before you dress.  Contact leader to register and for carpooling time & place.  Trailhead parking is limited.  Joint w/ AMC.

Sun, Mar 11 –James Baird State Park in LaGrange, NY
Leader:  Annette Caruso at (845) 891-3361 or
Meet at 11am at the main parking lot by pool house.  Easy hike, on the red and blue trails, and golf course trails as after hike for those who want.  Snowshoe or spikes depending on conditions.  Bring snacks, water and dress for weather.  Reminder its daylight savings time so clocks are set ahead that day.
Contact leader to confirm.  Really bad weather cancels. 

Tues, Mar 13 – Mohonk Preserve x-country ski   (7-11 miles) Experienced in Gardiner, NY
Leader: Marty Carp 845-303-3764
We will x-country ski on the best available trails.  Bring a hot drink, water, lunch, snacks, and an extra pair of gloves.  Meet at the Spring Farm parking lot at 10 AM and please confirm with leader.  Hey we might have to hike or call it a day.  Do not forget the $15 fee if you are not already a member of Mohonk Preserve.

Fri, Mar 16 – Mohonk Preserve x-country ski   (7-11 miles) Experienced in Gardiner, NY
Leader: Marty Carp 845-303-3764
We will x-country ski on the best available trails.  Bring a hot drink, water, lunch, snacks, and an extra pair of gloves.  Meet at the Spring Farm parking lot at 10 AM and please confirm with leader.  Hey we might have to hike or call it a day.  Do not forget the $15 fee if you are not already a member of Mohonk Preserve

Sat, Mar 17 – Scenic Hudson’s Falling Waters Preserve (FWP) and Saugerties Lighthouse Trail Moderate approx. 3.5 miles. 
Leader: Carla Barrett or 315-527-8478. 
Start at 10AM at FWP and then go to the Lighthouse Trail. We can eat our packed lunch on the Lighthouse deck in the middle of the River.  Some hills and a few tricky spots along the Hudson River shoreline.  We’ll avoid those if it’s icy. The usual winter gear, including microspikes, and food/water.  No bathrooms.  Parking should be ample.  Confirm with leader. Meet at FWP, Dominican Ln, Saugerties, NY 12477.  Driving Directions: Off Route 9W or Route 32 south of Saugerties, follow Main St in Glasco NY to Delaware and York.  For GPS: 45 York St, Saugerties 12477 will put you near the entrance where there is a sign.

Sun, Mar 18 –Blueberry Run, “End to End.”  7-8 miles Difficult in Gardiner, NY   Joint with Mohonk Preserve
Leader: Roberta Forest 845-750-7059 
Meet at the Minnewaska State Park Preserve lower lot at 9:30 am.  This is a moderate 7-8 mile hike/snowshoe.  If not enough snow, bring micro-spikes.  The Minnewaska parking fee of $10/car or Empire Pass applies.  Confirm with leader.

Tues, Mar 20 – Mohonk Preserve x-country ski   (7-11 miles) Experienced in Gardiner, NY
Leader: Marty Carp 845-303-3764
We will x-country ski on the best available trails.  Bring a hot drink, water, lunch, snacks, and an extra pair of gloves.  Meet at the Spring Farm parking lot at 10 AM and please confirm with leader.  Hey we might have to hike or call it a day.  Do not forget the $15 fee if you are not already a member of Mohonk Preserve.

Sat, Mar 24 – Bear Mountain S.P.  4 miles, 3 hours. Short but strenuous in Rockland County.
Leader: Georgette Weir,
A beautiful loop hike up the Appalachian Trail from the Bear Mountain Inn parking area (parking fee or Empire State Pass required), returning via the Major Welch Trail. Lots of stone surfaces during mud season. Bring water, snacks, and lunch and dress for the weather. 
For meet time and place, contact leader.

Sun, Mar 25 – Mohonk Multi-Scramble Hike 11 fast & strenuous miles Experienced in Gardiner, NY, Joint with Mohonk Preserve
Leader: Marty Carp or 845-303-3764
This is a Ski Patrollers birthday hike: Marty is 75 on 3-23 and Marc is 56 on 3-24
We will go up and down Giants Workshop, through Zaidee`s Bower, through Rock Rift, and up and down Bonticou Crag.   For the summer solstice we`ll add Table Rocks.  Hiking stick or poles are okay.
Meet at Mohonk Preserve Spring Farm Trailhead at 9:30 AM.  Mohonk Day fee of $15 or season pass.  Confirm with leader.

Sun, Mar 25, 9:30AM – 4:00PM – Psalm Sunday Pilgrimage, 6 miles, 6 hours, Moderate, Stony Point, NY
Leader: Skip Doyle, 
Celebrate Palm Sunday by sharing the verses of your favorite psalm – mine is 118:24.  Hike to Big Hill shelter and JJ Mountain fire tower. Church services at 3 pm. Refreshments at 4 pm.   Meet at Saint John in the Wilderness church parking lot – Harriman State Park, 16 Johnstown Road, Stony Point, NY.  Additional information can be found at

Sat, Mar 31 – Scofield Ridge – Breakneck Ridge traversée, approx. 7 miles Difficult hike.
Philipstown, NY area Leader: Jean-Claude Fouéré 
We will hike, and/or snow shoe depending on the snow cover, up to Mount Beacon, on to the Breakneck Ridge, down to the parking area off Route 9D via the Wilkinson Memorial trail or the Breakneck Bypass trail for approximately 7 miles.  Pending weather and snow cover, group strength and interest, the hike could be extended a couple of miles along the Notch and the Washburn trails, up to Mount Taurus and down to Little Stony Point parking area off Route 9D for approximately 9 miles.  Dress for the weather and bring micro-spikes and/or snow shoes as needed.  Refer to Trail Conference map #102. Contact leader for meeting time and place.

Sat, Mar 31 – Full Moon Walk at John Burroughs Easy Hike, Esopus, NY
Leader: Shari Aber or 914-489-0654
We will explore some of the beautiful trails in the John Burroughs Preserve in Esopus.  Bring headlamps for an easy and pleasant evening hike.  If there’s snow, we’ll snowshoe; if there’s ice we’ll use micro-spikes.  Anticipate starting time 8 pm.  Call leader for specific details.
February 12, 2018 |
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