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Brand Intelligence – Paul Smith

By | Brand Intelligence

Why they are fab...

"Iconic well made fashion presented within a superb, but understated experience".

Brand Intelligence – How they differentiate themselves

Walking into a Paul Smith store is rather like walking into a top 5 star hotel.

You are walking into an experience where the products for sale are part of the experience. Also, Part of the art.

Therefore, you are not bombarded by the brand and signs proclaiming discounts, sales and directions. So, you have take your time and explore the store to find something interesting.

Subtle branding does not shout at you or the world. You know it’s Paul Smith and that is all that matters.

Moreover, the fashion has extreme attention to detail and quality with a premium price that you appreciate rather than struggling to understand the value.

Even the receipt is placed into a well designed envelope.

The staff are considered, professional, welcoming and leave you alone.

Fashion with a twist. Classic cuts with the unexpected. Like this year’s Octopuses.

Their competition

Hugo Boss, Prada and Burberry

Octorating

8/8

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Want to know more? Then get in touch here.

Paul Smith and Brand Intelligence
Paul Smith and Brand Intelligence
Paul Smith and Brand Intelligence
Intelligence assessment Iran flag on border

Intelligence assessment on the Iranian situation

By | Intelligence

We assess the situation between the US and Iran.

A number of quotes and Tweets directed towards the Iranian leadership, included:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump Jul 22:

“To Iranian president Rouhani: never, ever threaten the united states again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton:

“Iran will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before”. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – written in English and Farsi:

“Hypocritical holy men who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer”. 

The media would have you believe that Mr Trump is barking mad and unstable. This may or not be true.

But, what’s going on?

  • Firstly, the USA’s threats against Iran are not merely a foreign policy diversion to distract from growing scrutiny over Russia and North Korea.
  • And there appears to be a regime change strategy for Tehran.
  • Also, the economic and social pressure in Iran intensifies under the White House’s sanctions policy.
  • So, the Iranian government diverting anger onto external threats to reduce popular unrest.
  • Also, Iranian President Rouhani is likely to lose political ground to hard-liners, with many of them already wanting to walk away from the nuclear deal commitments.
  • Significant protests in early 2018 in the poorer parts of rural Iran and with more widely reported Tehran Merchant class demonstrations in Tehran are signs that the people are in the mood for change.
  • So, this unrest will force Iran to increase using their security apparatus to contain dissent and get around sanctions.
  • Moving away from Iran nuclear deal and reemploying sanctions is an attempt to provoke the Iranian people to rise.
  • However, it would appear that regime change is still going to be very difficult but will be working with Israel and Saudi Arabia on the ground to support the economic turmoil and propaganda strategy.

So, back to the negotiation table?

  • It could bring the Iranian government back to the negotiating table.
  • And it’s unlikely that the Strait of Hormuz will be blockaded as it would invite a serve US Military response.
  • Negotiations with North Korea will need to remain on track to show there is an exit plan for Iranians.
  • So, if the US can keep a lid on North Korea, there will be more resources to escalate military pressure on Iran.
  • Russia will be a complicating factor, and senior political meetings between Iran and Russia will continue.
  • Iranian economy is already under enormous strain, and that pain will be compounded when sanctions snap back in August and November.
  • There is some debate about how much influence has with Iran especially if things hot up on the ground.
  • Possible signs that Russia is partly onside to protect their interests as they are looking to reduce Iranian military activity in Syria especially near the Israeli border.

Conflict

The potential of military conflict will depend on:

  • President Rouhani’s political weakening and
  • A growing reliance on the Revolutionary Guard to rebuild risky and covert ways to get around the sanctions.
  • Iran’s navy harassing Military vessels and Saudi, Kuwaiti or Emirati tankers and production and loading platforms.
  • Cyber-attacks on its neighbours.
  • Turning the threat to close the Strait of Hormuz into action.
  • Withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Iranian weaknesses

  • Allied forces would attack their important oil terminal based at Kharg.
  • Block the Strait of Hormuz will also prevent their own trade from being exported.
  • Ripping up the nuclear deal could result in a Saudi and or US military response.
  • Any actions could give Israel an excuse to take unilateral military action.

US weaknesses

  • The massive increase in oil prices could deter them.
  • Saudi Arabia would struggle to keep the oil moving.
  • The potential self-inflicted trade war threat to the world’s economy.
  • Russia is extremely interested in them, and the US has no desire to escalate tensions with the Kremlin.

So what?

The Implications of this are ever present to organisations across a huge range of sectors and industries, how resilient do you think you are?

Brought to you by Octopus Intelligence, the Global Competitive Intelligence Agency.

www.octopusintelligence.com

Time to get competitive with Intelligence analysis tool

By | Intelligence
When gathering Competitive Intelligence, there is often more than one path we can go down.

To help us decide the best path, we use a tool called Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, or ACH to keep things simple.

Analysis of Competing Hypotheses

Created in the 70s by the CIA, to reduce limitations in its analysis, ACH is proven and effective, and we find it to be a great tool. At the same time, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about how it works. We’ve found it has often been explained in a way that makes it sound more complicated than it actually is.

In short, ACH works as a 7 step tool to test all the options open to us. It then judges which path is best for our clients.

Step 1

Collect the information surrounding the problem, and start to think about what is going on and what you are going to do about it.

List all the things that could be going on. No silly answers excluded or criticised.

Step 2

Find the evidence, assumptions and deductions for and against each theory found in Step 1.

Step 3

Put the theories where you have found evidence into a matrix to enable you to compare and contracts with each other. Try your hardest to disprove each hypothesis.

Each hypothesis is given a number to rank them between -2 and 2 to test the evidence, assumptions and deductions against the hypothesis. The higher the number, the more likely that evidence supports the theory.

 

Deductions – The process of reaching the answer by thinking about the known facts.

For instance. The Russians will support the Syrian regime because they want to maintain their influence in the Middle East and have a Mediterranean seaboard.

Octopus Intelligence

We are Octopus, the Global Competitive Intelligence Agency. Get the better of your competitors and market.

Thank you www.octopusintelligence.co.uk

If you would like a pdf version of this, please feel free to email us on hello@octopusintelligence.co.uk

Will Asda & Sainbury’s supermarket merger be a success?

By | Intelligence

The grocery market faces stiff competition in the United Kingdom from four significant players. Tesco enjoys the most significant share hence the need for other market players to fight for their space in the market.

As a result, ASDA and Sainsbury’s have shown interest to merge.

ASDA Stores is a British owned retailer supermarket founded in 1965 as a branch of Walmart. The supermarket also offers financial and mobile phone services.

Sainsbury’s was founded in 1869 and has grown to the second most abundant supermarket in the UK with a market share of 16.9% in the region. The store operates supermarkets, bank, and Argos.

The merger of the two major competing supermarkets in the UK is likely to have a significant impact on the grocery market. The purpose of this essay is to explore ASDA and Sainsbury’s Merger in the United Kingdom focusing on the dynamics, benefits, and potential outcomes.

The merger between ASDA and Sainsbury’s is likely to lead to stiffer competition in the grocery market. The two supermarkets are likely to surpass the market share of Tesco. After Tesco was approved to takeover wholesaler Booker, Sainsbury’s had a significant loss in the market share.

Therefore, the new merger will help the stores have a competitive advantage (Warner 1). ASDA will benefit from Sainsbury’s strengths in the private sector and battle against discounters if the merger is successful.

Warmer states that Sainsbury’s will benefit from ASDA’s freehold property hence reducing the money it would spend on rent.

The Competition Market Authority which will investigate the request is likely to consider if the requested merger is against the interest of the consumer.

If the merger is authorised, Walmart will have a market share of 42% hence giving the Company a strong hand in negotiating with the suppliers.

Consequently, the suppliers will be worried about a small bargaining margin and reduced market. Also, the issue of reducing prices for the regularly purchased items which are at the core of the merger deal is likely to affect the suppliers.

Some analysts, however, believe that with the stiff competition in the grocery market, reduction of prices is not a practical idea due to lack of opportunity to recover the margin.

Since the merger between ASDA and Sainsbury’s is likely to take one year to be approved by Competition Market Authority, Tesco and Morrison could take advantage of the distraction period between the two to strike a better deal with the suppliers.

Such a move will help them secure suppliers before ahead of the two supermarkets. According to Coyne, Morrison will have a smaller market share after the merge, but since it owns its stores and has low debts, the store is not likely to have major challenges in its operations.

Moreover, Amazon may target acquiring Morrison since they have an alliance in the pantry and that would be a benefit, Morrison.

Moreover, ASDA-Sainsbury’s merger is likely to benefit the consumers since the stores will invest in quality, lowered prices, technology, and range.

Customers will experience more flexible ways of shopping including online.

Moreover, the idea of reducing prices on regularly purchased items will help customers save money. Additionally, the merger will create a leading retailer of clothing, groceries, and other merchandise leading to higher revenue.

Finally, it is imperative to note that the merger between Sainsbury’s and ASDA is still waiting for approval from the Competition Market Authority.

The merger would have negative and positive impacts on the economy of UK. Competition among market players is likely to be stiffer with reduced item prices.

Suppliers are likely to face reduced market margin. The two stores are likely to enjoy a broader market share and a competitive advantage. Overall, both parties are likely to gain from the merger considerably.

www.octopusintelligence.co.uk

Intelligence is smart! Here are 6 reasons why

By | Intelligence

We live in unparalleled times. Almost everything is changing. Change will affect you, and it’s a dangerous assumption to think it won’t. Now, more than ever before, you need to be smart about Intelligence.

Intelligence isn’t the same as information and data. It’s about you and your competitors. It’s about reporting concisely to decision makers in an easily actionable manner. It’s about protecting the well-being of your business.

1. Smart intelligence future-proofs your business

Learning what your competition is doing is a game changer. You need to know who has their eyes on your business and marketplace. You have to understand what they’re planning and determine what to do about it. Don’t make the mistake of relying on only single sources such as Salesforce reports. Establishing what’s really happening with complete impunity is vital.

2. Smart intelligence understands the impact of new technologies

Right now, stories of technology replacing humans are commonplace. Do you have an understanding of how technology is likely to impact your marketplace? Or a conduit to how technology could open up new market opportunities for your business or for that matter your competition? How about technology aiding your productivity? This isn’t about product development. It’s about what will happen and how it will impact you.

3. Smart intelligence gives you the heads up on buying, selling and investing

When buying, selling or investing in a business, it’s a mistake to assume financial reports give useful intelligence. These are focused on historical information rather than what is really happening now and is likely to happen shortly. The smart thing to do is to confirm historical information, and use matrices to supplement historical data. In other words, find out about the skeletons in the cupboard.

4. Smart intelligence protects what you have

Can you be entirely sure that there are no dangers lurking within your organisation? Are plans being made to take vital information, secrets or practices to set up in competition? The truth is this happens more frequently than many business leaders realise. It’s usually a complete shock and can be utterly devastating when it happens. Be proactive, and be informed ahead of events. Smart intelligence protects your business.

5. Smart intelligence supports you to build international business

The challenges of building new opportunities can be daunting. So imagine the problems like those above happening in entirely unknown territories. By engaging professional support that is intimately aware of the local dynamics, culture and political landscape – and a whole host of things the export advisors never tell you – you can have more confidence in the people and country that you are investing in.

6. Smart intelligence ensures you have the right people

How much work do recruiters really undertake to fully inform you about the people you may be placing great store in? Smart intelligence gives you the heads up on new senior employees, business partners, suppliers and service providers.

There many protocols you can apply before making decisions to engage with people before you commit. Even in this age of technology, people are the ones that make the difference, cost the most and can be your biggest asset or most significant liability.

Thank you www.octopusintelligence.co.uk

Who are we? We provide a range of services for improving your internal intelligence capacity, making sure you get what you need and it does what you need it to. 

Our clients are smart.

They recognise the vital importance of intelligence in their planning and strategic activity.

We’re there for them anytime, anywhere, any issues. As a global organisation, we’re dedicated to and passionate about discreetly and efficiently delivering intelligence.

Call us on 0844 499 6179.

Marathons rule! How to outlive your competitors

By | Competitors

Ever noticed how many companies claim to be number one in their sector? So frequently has the term ‘market-leading’ been bandied around it’s actually lost all meaning.

Here’s why. Not everyone can be number one. Rules change over time and things never stay the same. This is abundantly clear when you look at the companies on the FTSE100 now compared to 10 years ago – there are major differences and some notable disappearances.

So if being first in your sector now has little cache, perhaps a better goal is not to beat your competitors, but instead to outlast them. After all, being first at the 400 metre mark of a marathon won’t necessarily help you win the race. Go too quickly and you’re more likely to hit the wall.

Solution: maintain your resources

Outlasting your competitors brings your strategic direction to the fore. A good starting point is to look at the activities which could damage your ability to outlast your competitors.

A good example is your pricing, and not dropping your prices just because your competitor has. Lower prices may be damaging. They may be unsustainable. Most of all, they may be unnecessary. If you understand why your competitors are doing what they’re doing, you don’t need to react to their every move.

So while your competitors may be doing some great things, you should only look to better what they are doing if they do not damage what you stand for and your most valuable tool, your resources.

Protect your ethics, and you can outlast your competitors, without the distraction of artificially leading them.

Thank you www.octopusintelligence.co.uk

Be powerful! Get intelligence by monitoring competitors

By | Competitors

Here’s a story that perfectly demonstrates the value of monitoring your competitors.

During the cold war, the Western military monitored Soviet Morse code operators. It may seem a little pointless as all the important intelligence was encoded. However, as much as possible was recorded by the Western interceptors.

Then human nature took over. After all, it’s the same whichever side of the Wall you were born. The result was that Soviet operators became bored and lazy, especially in the small hours.

The Western monitors discovered every Soviet Morse operator had a certain way of using their Morse code machine. Length, weighting, accuracy and speed of all those dots and dashes became a unique signature. It was called their Fist.

This signature enabled Western Military Intelligence to get to know their habits and patterns, with direction-finding equipment revealing their location.

Soon the personalities of bored radio operators were revealed as conversations turned to the weather, girlfriends, family and football teams. One famous Soviet division in the Caucasus used to offer local football scores every Saturday.

They started to build up a great picture of someone and their team without even meeting them. Not only was breaking their call signs relatively easy but they built a picture of the people and, more importantly, when and where their units moved to another part of the Soviet Union.

Suddenly, the Western military could track troop, military exercises, meanings of code words and moves to the border. They could predict what they were going to do next and how they were going to do it. This very real early warning system certainly helped prevent war.

So what’s the significance of this for you?

octopus can do the same for your business. We can look at your competitors’ communications – PR, press releases, marketing and see what they say on Linkedin, social media, CVs and adverts – to find their habits and patterns. We can see when they start a new project, move to a new office or make any other change that may affect you.

Then, if a member of your competitors’ team moves on to another rival, it is human nature to repeat what was successful at their previous company.

We can also monitor them, looking at their habits to reveal what they are likely to do next. See here for more information

Thank you www.octopusintelligence.co.uk

Girl starting a race

Start here with your Competitive Intelligence

By | Intelligence

It is a highly competitive and tough environment.

Intelligence gives you insight into the market.

But it is easier said than done.

When asking us to find intelligence on their competitors and markets, some of our clients struggle to determine what they really need.

The problem is that the subject can be too vast, without the parameters needed to define the scope of the research.

Because we want to build long term relationships – and because our researchers need clarity in their objectives – we suggest you consider this process next time you need some intelligence:

Competition: Agree who you believe to be your main direct and indirect competitors.
Markets: Answer these questions. What markets you are looking at? Are they new or existing markets? Do you know enough about them?
Engagement: Define what you need to know and what you will do with the intelligence.
Create an Intelligence Statement, which should be no more than two lines and ideally one sentence.
Questions: Agree on a set of Key Intelligence Questions (and associated actions) which need answering. Any more than five and you should consider splitting the project in two.
Actions: Ask what are you going to do with the Competitive Analysis once you have it.

Any Competitive Intelligence Agency worth their salt will want to work with you on these questions to find the right Competitive Analysis.
These questions will create structure, clarification, a focus, reduced mission creep and a certainty that the relevant intelligence has (or hasn’t) been found.

In the future, you may want to introduce relevant ongoing monitoring and reporting that uses structured analytical techniques to improve the quality of your Intelligence Analysis.

Gaining such levels of intelligence will enable you to make better decisions and create sustainable and truly effective marketing campaigns.

Focus and stop keeping valuable competitive data in silos

By | Intelligence

Your data has hidden depths

It’s time to stop keeping data in silos.

The key to your next brand-rocking campaign could lie within your powerful competitive intelligence but unless you know how to turn that information and intelligence into inspiring marketing messages, and then get these messages out there to the right audience in the real world – you’ve still only explored the tip of the iceberg.

You could be doing more with your intelligence.

Turn insight into action and outcomes.

Put your marketing brains on.

The benefits of combining intelligence and marketing could include:

    • improved customer relationships and customer retention
    • wider or more profitable customer attraction
    • damage limitation and brand clarity – and more.

Don’t let your Intelligence end with the report – use it to improve marketing by driving insight-led campaigns to show the rest of the world how amazing you really are, compared to your competitors.

The facts are at your fingertips.
Use them.

That’s why octopus works with Inbetween within our core intelligence product and our Brand Intelligence offering – to identify the hidden potential embedded within the intelligence that we conduct for our clients.

Powerful ways to exploit your Competitive Intelligence discoveries

By | Intelligence

The value of competitive intelligence cannot be underestimated

It can pave the way for new, effective strategies, allow you to get an edge on your rivals and help you discover insights that can change the way you do business, forever.

But unless intelligence and the key recommendations are applied, there is a risk that its value can become hidden, or lost, forever. As you may know octopus help companies make better decisions because, thanks to us, they have the right intelligence at their fingertips.

Our intelligence gives them the power of knowledge; the power to change the way they do business – and potentially the power to change lives.
But in large companies, Competitive Intelligence is often requested by one party in order to solve a particular problem and then shelved.

Hoarding should be outlawed!

Imagine if, instead of hoarding intelligence once the original questions have been answered and was shared around the business in a way that added value to every department it touched.

Answering simple questions about your competitors often leads to a myriad of potential opportunities. And early warning of threats. It’s actually an iceberg – the first piece of information is simply the tip; the rest of its ability to change your business for the better could be hidden far below the immediate answers.

Competitive intelligence can obviously be used to benefit your research and product development departments, and your sales strategy. But it can also provide a direct and indirect benefit to your marketing strategy.

That’s why octopus works with Inbetween Together we produce a core intelligence product, a Brand Intelligence offering, and a Content Strategy solution – to identify the hidden potential embedded within the intelligence that we provide for our clients.