Study Your Competitors

Indra Nooyi

Lesson time 06:13 min

Indra shares her approach on using competition to better your own business. She provides a case study of the process she followed at PepsiCo to launch Bubly, a billion-dollar sparkling-water brand.

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Topics include: Indra shares her approach on how to use competition to better your own business. She provides a case study of the process she followed at PepsiCo to launch Bubly, a billion dollar sparkling water brand.


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Competitors keep you on your toes. Competitors make you better. So just be happy you've got competition out there. One of the best experiences I had in my career is that even when we didn't have a competitor, we create a competitor. Because when you oriented all the energies of the company against a competitor, you got everybody's juices going. [MUSIC PLAYING] The great news is that in the industries that I've been a part of, we had great competitors. So we respected all of the competition and we learn from them. But when you have great competitors, it's harder to compete with them. OK. And so if you have a healthy respect for them, you study them more and then you compete better. How do you study them? You taste every product they're making. Not just them, but also the small guys who are just upstarts in the industry. In my time as a consumer products company leader, I tasted our product or competitor's products every week. Some product or the other from some part of the world would show up in big boxes. And we would taste it and say, hey, this is a great product. Does is have any legs? That was a great thing about working for a food and beverage company. You got to taste everything that was out there in the marketplace. And that gives you such a great window into how people are thinking about new products. What are all the new categories coming on? I remember nitro coffee came in at that time, Colombo something. Tasted great. And we always struggled with how are we going to make it. Because we had a joint venture with Starbucks. And Starbucks got it right, and then we launched it. And so you look at interesting products that come out of some companies, and then you learn from that. We do to the competitor what we do to ourselves, which is we understand their value drivers. We understand their cost structure. How different is it from us? What's their way of going to market? What is their selling proposition? So everything that we are doing, we try to mirror it and study the competitor through that lens. But then we walk the market. That's the most important thing. Walk the market. If there's a competitor's truck stocking shelves, go stand like a shopper behind the guy who's stalking the shelves and see how he's stalking the shelf. You've got to be humble about innovation and competition. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you look at a marketplace and you say I want to enter it, you should only enter it if you have a proposition for yourself. Either you have a low cost product, you've identified an unmet space in that marketplace and you have a product to fulfill that unmet space, or you have a product with such characteristics that betters anything out there in the marketplace. But it's got to be meaningfully better that has some barriers to entry because a big company will copy it right away, especially if yours is not patent protected. So most little companies a startup, let's t...

About the Instructor

Ever wonder what it takes to be the CEO of a Fortune 50 company? Indra Nooyi didn’t set out to become the first woman of color to do so. She simply (and tenaciously) focused on big ideas. As the former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra transformed a global industry. Now she’s teaching you her transformational approach to leadership. Learn to simplify complex problems, persuade others to buy into your vision, and discover how leading with purpose can improve your life beyond the boardroom.

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Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, teaches you to think big, be brave, and make purpose-driven changes at work.

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