I recently read about Tyson entering the meatless and plant-blended meat business under its own NEW brand.

As competitive and marketing strategists intent on winning the battle before the first shot is fired, here’s what Dorsey & Company sees . . .

Analysis of Threats versus Strengths

Here, Tyson has taken its financial resources ($40 billion in sales reported in 2018), nearly universal distribution in grocery and food service, recognized the early stages of a new category –  and absence of widely known competing brands – to respond to one of the five competitive threats Michael Porter  would identify as Substitution (customers replacing Tyson’s meat with non-meat).

From our view, it appears Tyson has responded with the following competitive responses.

Competitive Strategy

Tyson’s chosen competitive strategy in response appears to be Focused Differentiation.  In other words, when you’re truly different, make sure to target ONLY those customers who will appreciate it. Then tell them so you’re certain they know and understand how and why the product fits their needs. In the case of Tyson, the company invents  a new brand name in the meatless category, yet leverages its financial, distribution and brand clout to move into a new sector with formidable force on day-one.

Marketing Strategy

The Tyson marketing strategy is to attack the emerging category competitors AND themselves to grow. Therefore, if current Tyson customers want to switch, help them switch to Tyson!

Sales Strategy

Tyson will have the might and muscle to overwhelm competitors with advertising to develop the new brand and to persuade wholesalers, retailers and consumers to try it.  All the “ingredients” (pardon the pun) for trial purchase, repeat purchases, loyalty, growth and retention of market share and profit are already present within Tyson’s arsenal.

Tyson is at an advantage on day one: its winning Competitive Strategy points to a winning Marketing Strategy, which in turn should lead to Sales Strategy success. This combination leads to sales far better than what can be achieved without going through these steps BEFORE joining the battle. Oh, and we do hope Tyson’s product lives up to all of this to exploit it.

This is not to say that small players in the meatless category don’t stand a chance against a food giant like Tyson – or that they shouldn’t try. In fact, we’ve counseled several clients in developing winning strategies over larger, better resourced competitors, and will continue to.

In all cases, what’s critical is knowing the terrain on which you’re competing and taking inventory of your and your competitors’ arsenal.

How do you think Tyson’s entry into the “meatless” category might upset the status-quo?