Is Community Important In Business Strategy?

Michael Porter’s The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy provides a very logical formula as to why the corporates favour quick wins instead of basing their business objective on value creation for the community and how it comes back to haunt them. Whereas those who do focus on the community value tend to have sustainable businesses.

Today the consumer environment has changed drastically.

The global financial crisis and explosion of social media (as two immediate critical factors) has led consumers, geographically, to group together on the basis of common interests and sharing of information on anything (from personal status to their daily brands and the corporates owning these brands).

The global Muslim community, as a holistic consumer segment, are a part of these sweeping changes. Whilst the purchasing power of the community is, seemingly, concentrated in few key regional pockets, it’s important to know that in the emerging markets there is a huge segment (of the global Muslim consumers) who require infrastructure, products, and services to the extent that only large, global businesses can provide.

This is an opportunity for growth provided one is willing to approach these markets innovatively. By innovatively, I don’t mean re-creating the wheel, but taking into account the strengths the end market offers, the possible extent of decentralisation, cost-benefit analysis and finally ensuring a value chain that ensures adherence and compliance of the very basic requirement of the community ie. Halal or Sharia compliant.

By identifying the needs or issues that the targeted community group has and mapping the same against the competencies that can be utilised (in the local market) the business can develop a robust business strategy that would deliver community development (through creation of jobs and wealth) and ensure acceptance of the business’s products or services thus providing sustainable long term ROI.

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