How Fortune 500 Companies Excel?

Key product management insights from....

Hey there 🖐

Imagine you are in a mall looking for apparel to gift yourself. While one shop takes more time, the other gets you out sooner. 

Why? One shop had many options, and you were juggling picking that was trendy and fit you the best (because it was some random shop). 

While the other had what you wanted (because it is an MNC brand). But what do we do? We do not buy it right away 🤔

We compare the offline prices with the online prices (Amazon, most probably). Whichever sounds fair, we pick that. 

Now that you are hungry, you will mostly prefer non-veg and fast food since you are out. You look for food counters where various options are available in one place (McDonald's) 🤤

First things first! You might have browsed the internet (Google) to find and get to the mall you are in right now. 

You see, unknowingly, we are getting attracted to certain brands. Though they have their competitors, why are we only preferring them?

What strategies should these companies be using? Let's decode some of the Fortune 500 companies' strategies today (and how you can implement those) 🤗

Top Key Takeaways for PMs

  • Focus on Innovation and Continuous Improvement: Always invest in new ideas and keep making your products better.

  • Build and Leverage an Ecosystem: Create products that work well together to make customers stick with your brand.

  • Strong Branding and Marketing: Build a strong, consistent brand image and use storytelling to connect with people (buyers) emotionally. 

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Focus on what your customers need and work to constantly boost their experience by improving your product. 

  • Diversification and Adaptation: Offer a wide range of products and customize them to fit the local tastes of your customers. 

  • Leverage Technology and Data: Use technology and data to improve your products and make better decisions.

  • Sustainability and Social Responsibility: Make sustainability a key part of your business and engage in positive social initiatives.

  • Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations: Work with partners to create unique products and expand your market reach.

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1. Apple

Source: 24horas

Product Strategy: Innovation and Ecosystem

Apple's approach is always about being at the cutting edge of technology and design. They focus on creating functional, beautiful, and easy-to-use products.

Apple's ecosystem strategy is that all their devices - iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and AirPods, work seamlessly together. 

This integration encourages customers to stick with Apple products for a cohesive experience.

For example, you can start a task on your Mac and continue it on your iPhone without missing a beat. All this does not come as easy as we think because - 

  • Apple invests heavily in R&D, spending $27.5 billion in 2023 alone. It supports their strategy of introducing cutting-edge technology, presented by the M1 chip, which seriously outperforms competitors.

The result, you ask? Over 1.65 billion Apple devices are in active use globally, showing the success of their integrated product strategy.

2. Nike

Source: Dribbble

Product Strategy: Branding and Performance

Nike's strategy is to build a remarkable brand through high-quality, performance-oriented products like athletic footwear, apparel, and equipment.

They use high-profile endorsements from athletes to boost their brand image and connect with consumers. 

They also invest in product designs and innovative technologies, like Air Max cushioning or Flyknit material, which improves athletic performance and comfort.

What makes Nike so booming and sets it apart is that they collaborate with designers and celebrities to create limited-edition products that cause hype and appeal to fashion-conscious consumers.

Why do you think Nike, as an athletic footwear and apparel corporation, is more successful than its competitors?

Because Nike allocates roughly $2.5 billion annually to product innovation alone. And the results are just mindblowing. 

  • Nike's brand is valued at $34.8 billion, making it the most valuable apparel brand worldwide, and its strategic partnerships, like with Michael Jordan (Air Jordan), generate influential sales and brand loyalty. The Air Jordan line alone brings in over $3 billion annually.

3. Coca-Cola

Source: Allrecepies

Product Strategy: Consistency and Diversification

Coca-Cola aims to maintain a consistent brand image while offering various beverages to address different tastes.

Their flagship product, Coca-Cola, remains a global favourite because of its consistent flavour and effective marketing.

But that was not enough. Therefore, Coca-Cola diversified its offerings into Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and various juices, teas, and water brands.

This diversification allows Coca-Cola to attract different types of consumers and remain relevant in a health-conscious market by offering low-sugar or sugar-free options.

  • They generate $42 billion in annual revenue, with noteworthy contributions from non-soda beverages like Dasani (water) and Minute Maid (juices).

Now, spread into 200 countries with a portfolio of more than 500 brands, Coca-Cola has reduced sugar in 200+ drinks. It offers over 1,100 low- or no-sugar beverages, addressing health-conscious buyer trends.

4. Amazon

Source: Lapaas

Product Strategy: Customer-Centric and Diversification

Amazon's strategy centres on putting the customer first and diversifying its offerings to cover almost every possible need. 

It began as an online bookstore but quickly expanded into a vast marketplace where you can buy practically anything. 

With its fast shipping and exclusive content, Amazon Prime shows its customer-centric approach.

Can you believe I say Amazon invests heavily in logistics technology, including over $61 billion in shipping costs in 2022, just because they wanted to optimize their delivery networks?

  • Amazon Prime has over 200 million subscribers, and the total revenue exceeds $469 billion, with AWS (Amazon Web Services) contributing $62 billion, showcasing successful diversification beyond e-commerce.

Beyond retail, Amazon has diversified into digital services like Kindle for e-books, Amazon Web Services (AWS) for cloud computing, and smart home devices like Alexa.

This diversification ensures Amazon remains a central part of the lives of its customers in multiple ways.

5. Google

Source: Logos

Product Strategy: Innovation and Integration

Google's strategy is to innovate constantly and create products that integrate well with each other so they can provide a simplified user experience.

The search engine, being the core product of Google, is being improved regularly with AI and machine learning to give better results.

Just like how Amazon wanted to be the core of online shopping, Google wants to be the centre for most of the things we do on the internet - Maps, Gmail logins, video content on YouTube, Chrome, and more. 

  • Google's parent company, Alphabet, spent $31.6 billion on R&D in 2023 and has over 1 billion active Android devices and integrates services like Google Search, YouTube, and Google Cloud.

The other Google products, like YouTube, Android, Google Maps, and Google Cloud, are all designed to work together.

For instance, Android phones come preloaded with Google apps, and you can access your data across devices, letting you stay within the Google ecosystem for all digital needs.

6. McDonald's

Source: Cascade Strategy

Product Strategy: Standardization and Adaptability

McDonald's relies on offering a consistent, high-quality experience across all its locations worldwide.

This standardization ensures that their buyers know exactly what to expect from McDonald's, no matter which corner of the world they are in.

The best part of McDonald's is that the team adapted the menu to local tastes to attract customers in the most local way possible.

For example, in India, they offer vegetarian options like the McAloo Tikki, while in Japan, you might find a Teriyaki Burger. 

  • McDonald's serves over 69 million customers daily across 100+ countries. Investing in digital ordering and delivery, McDonald's saw digital sales surpass $10 billion in 2023, enhancing customer convenience.

This local customization of the signature dishes of McDonald's fast food sets it apart and attracts both locals and foreign people wherever the store is. 

Conclusion

Competition is everywhere in every industry, but setting one apart from the crowd is not only about the type of product they leave in the market but more about the secret sauces called strategies. 

Sometimes, it's not about big things but small things. If you closely look into the above companies, their success always revolves around some minute thing, easing people's lives in one particular part of their lives.

Remember, no human being is their target, but easing their lives. 

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