1. Identify and describe Firewire Surfboard’s strongest competitor. How is this rival positioned in the marketplace?
The major competitor is Channel Island boards. This rival company is the market leader in the sales of high performance short boards.
2. Put yourself in the role of Firewire’s entrepreneurial team at the time of the company’s founding. What should they have anticipated in the way of competitor reaction and the response of prospective customers?
The anticipation would have been that the competitor would enact price adjustments on its boards so that they become cheaper than the prices of Firewire boards. This way, the entry of Firewire boards would not be met with enthusiasm and excitement. Consequently, the customers would still prefer the competitor’s boards considering that the competitor’s reputation and brand image is already in place.
3. What is Firewire’s core competence? Is it sustainable?
Firewire’s core competency lies in its ability to research and develop synergized innovative technologies and materials that produce stronger, lighter, and eco-friendly surfboards. Yes, the strategy is sustainable considering that customers are ever demanding boards that offer them better performance. Moreover, reliance on mass sales or higher pricing without improved quality of surfboards is a turn-off to customers.
4. Complete a SWOT analysis for the company. Does this analysis reveal any promising future opportunities for Firewire? Will pursuit of those opportunities lead to a competitive response from current or potential rivals?
The company is strong in research and development while it is weak in terms of brand recognition. The company’s opportunity for growth includes increasing demand for Firewire surfboards from other sellers. However, the company risks compromising its reputation and brand image to the final customers of surfboards if it continues to sell its boards through other marketers that use their own brands.
5. What broad-based strategy is Firewire following? Is this the best way to position the company? Why or why not?
The broad-based strategy involves selling the surfboards by use of various marketing channels. There is the direct business to consumer channel, and the business-to-business channel. No, this strategy inhibits the growth of the company’s own brand name and reputation. Furthermore, the company’s responses to customer changing demands will be dictated by the feedback that third-party marketers choose to give the company.
6. Given the company’s recent shift toward increased product customization, what do you think the major challenges will be?
The major challenges will be producing customized surfboards that ensure the company’s operational costs are recoverable. Moreover, the company will face problems in selecting customization projects that are sustainable in terms of customer demand and satisfaction.
7. What recommendations would you make to Mark Price, Firewire’s CEO, as he thinks about the company’s future?
I would recommend that the company invest more in the advertisement and marketing of its brand directly to the end-users as opposed to using intermediaries who use the company’s product to market their own brand.