5-1 Blog: Top Dog Versus Underdog

The business rivalries that I am focusing this blog on today are McDonald’s and Burger King. Between these two rivals, McDonald’s is the top dog and Burger King is the underdog.

What is the brand strategy being used by the top dog? What is the brand strategy being used by the underdog?

The brand strategy being used by McDonald’s is the proactive strategy. Most of the time it is McDonald’s whom is the first to develop new products and try them out with both new and existing customers. The strategy that Burger King is most likely known for using is the reactive strategy. They often wait to see what their competitors, such as McDonald’s, Chick fil-A, and Wendy’s come out with and then they develop a similar product to market to their customers, with hopes of bringing existing customers back, along with new customers willing to try their products.

With these two strategies, these two rivals both use the acquisition strategy and the retention strategy. Because both McDonald’s and Burger King have been going back and forth for years for the ‘top dog’ title, I believe that with all of the new products each business has marketed, they each go between both of these strategies. When one business has created and marketed a new product, they are focusing on keeping current customers, by providing them with something new. When the under dog creates a look-a-like product, they are looking to attract new customers (that would likely go to the top dog).

Why do you believe consumers prefer the top dog over the underdog? Which do you prefer, and why?

I believe that consumers prefer the top dog over the under dog because the top dog company is the one to come out with the original product, as in ‘they must know what they’re doing… right’? I feel as though when a company markets a new product, they are putting trust in their customers that they will support the new product, along with the customer trusting the new product. If it works out, and the customer likes the it, they will continue to purchase from the top dog company, giving brand loyalty and ensuring that the company stay top dog. With this being said, I also think customers prefer the top dog because customers most likely wonder if the second product (marketed by the under dog) is as good as the product from the top dog.

As a customer faced with product options from both top dog and under dog companies, I have questioned if whether or not the product from the under dog will be as good as from the top dog. Although these products are “look-a-like” products and most likely have the same ingredients or outcome, it is questioned because its a product created from a different company. Again, customers are faced to question the under dog products because “if they’re as good, why didn’t they come out with it first?”

Focusing on the top 10 Business Rivalries discussed in the video provided in this module, there is only one company in which I prefer the top dog over the under dog. With this being said, I don’t think that the top dog/under dog position makes a huge difference in whether or not I’m going to make a purchase from one or the other. I can honestly say that I prefer Puma, (an under dog company) over Adidas, simply because I think the Adidas logo is ugly. The second company that I prefer the top dog opposed to the under dog is Apple vs. Microsoft. There is nothing except ford word of mouth advertising that makes me choose Apple over Microsoft.

Other than the two top dog companies discussed above, I don’t have a preference on whether or not I purchase from the top dog or the under dog, specifically… at least that I know of. I am very open to trying new products from other brands, especially if I am on a tight budget. My mom taught me to compare ingredients and to read customer reviews so most of the time before I make a purchase, I do some comparing first and will often go with whatever product cost less or is on sale.

How can the underdog improve its strategy so that it can gain more market share and surpass the top dog? Provide three recommendations.

The under dog can improve its strategy so that it can gain more market share and surpass the top dog by using unique positioning, differentiating advertising, and using pricing strategies such as trial pricing or continuity pricing.

Positioning is when a company shows the differences between their product and another product, in this case Burger King and McDonald’s. In order for Burger King to get the upper hand, they would position their product to show strengths of their product, versus what McDonald’s offers, in order to increase market share.

Burger King could also continue to use advertising show customers the differences between what they are selling and what McDonald’s is selling. This would include telling the customers through commercials, internet advertisements and or bill boards that the quality of their product is better than McDonald’s and then they would need to tell the customers how it compares and is better.

Lastly, to surpass McDonald’s, Burger King could use different pricing strategies. They already do have coupons sent to customers that puts a discount on certain items, which is called continuity pricing. Another pricing strategy that Burger King could market is trial pricing. Burger King could place a large discount on one of their items on each menu (breakfast and lunch/dinner) such as the price of a small, medium or large french fry. This could be that no matter what size a customer orders, the fries are $1.50. This is similar to what McDonald’s already does with their $1 any size drinks.


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