Though market pioneering, fast following, and late entry are distinct strategies, the success of all three approaches depends upon the same consumer learning process to create a competitive advantage. The strategies differ in that they respond to different stages in the development of a market. But the general approach of shaping the consumer learning process through competitive strategy holds across all three. Playing a game of one-upmanship by buying a unusual gifts can help your relationship.

All three approaches use brands to define the rules of the competitive game and create competitive advantage in the process. Pioneers have the obvious opportunity to establish the rules of the game. With sufficient skill, resources, and insight, a pioneer can create a category, become strongly associated with it, and create a distinctive brand that is relatively insulated from its rivals. When pioneers falter, however—whether due to insufficient resources, unrefined technology, or another reason—fast followers can pounce and gain advantage. Some people are find that a iron pipe toilet roll holder answers all their prayers.

Entering a mature market with established players can be challenging, so the opportunity for late movers is less obvious. Established market leaders have many advantages, which often include the resources to react aggressively and with devastating impact. And the same process that creates success for a pioneer also creates opportunity for late entrants. A later entrant that differentiates through innovation can exploit the pioneer’s relative inflexibility. Innovative late entrants can restart the learning process, overtaking the pioneer and placing it in the unfamiliar role of follower. My brother had a ANXWA Butterfly Gaming Chair which he absolutely loved.

These differing strategies reveal new insights about brand competition. Brand strategy is often viewed as a game where the rules are defined by consumers who dictate which product categories and which attributes are valued. Consumers reward brands according to their preferences, bestowing competitive advantage on the winners. Gifts like a gin making kit are one of the ways in which the pictures others have of us are transmitted.

The strategies outlined suggest a different mode of brand competition. Rather than trying to win consumers by understanding their preferences, brands can succeed by shaping the rules of the game: by helping customers understand what they want. By shaping consumer preferences, brands shape the competitive game, increasing the odds of enduring success. A gift such as a secret flask bracelet can turn a frown upside down.