Strategic Management Think Tank

Preamble
On 20th February 2016 the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that an in/out referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union would be held on 23rd June in the same year. The die was cast for an extraordinary period of British, European and even global economic history which combined political chaos with a prolonged state of Brexit stasis in the UK and unprecedented uncertainty for businesses from around the world operating in the UK and the EU. Within this emerging and dynamic context the Outside Fortress Europe initiative was launched by Colin Edward Egan to build upon the research of the already established Strategic Management Think Tank, an organizational discussion forum and nascent publisher exploring global business and marketing strategies in developed and emerging markets. The resulting publications provided a ‘sequel’ to the Economist Intelligent Unit/Addison-Wesley commissioned 1993 book, Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Internal Market, co-authored by Colin Edward Egan and Peter McKiernan.

The old and the new – the ‘In’ and the ‘Out’ – are profiled below along with links to further information relating to the current publication: Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market, a book written for an MBA/post-MBA/DBA and experienced manager readership.

This is followed by an introduction to the titles of the five ‘BiteSized Fortress Europe’ Volumes, derived from the ‘Parent Book’ but adapted for a practitioner/functional-specialist readership. All of the books provide evidence-based principles, frameworks, processes and methodologies to guide the inquisitive manager to develop and lead the intelligent company.

With the Outside Fortress Europe project completed, for the time being at least,  the final section of this page – 20/20 Vision – presents a brief overview of the current ‘major projects’ being undertaken by Colin Edward Egan for Strategic Management Think Tank: (i)  The Ascent of Marketing and Innovation: Strategies for Profitable Growth; (ii) The Gutenberg Disruptor: How Disruptive Processes Transform Buyer Behaviour & Business Models. The latter book presents the real-time background development of a publishing imprint as the text was being written, hence the reference to Gutenberg and the printing press which that inventor created and which transformed the dissemination of knowledge from the fifteenth century to the present day.

The European Single Market & Global Business Strategy

In

Colin Edward Egan and Peter McKiernan (1993).
Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market
London: EIU/Addison-Wesley.

In 1992 this book was commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)/Addison-Wesley as the then twelve European Community member states prepared for the European Single Market which came into effect on 1st January 1993.

The text examined the principles of global business strategy alongside a discussion of the political and economic processes involved in the creation of the European Single Market. It also presented case studies demonstrating how American and Japanese companies were proactively preparing for the new market environments they were facing. With few exceptions, notably German companies (and especially smaller Mittelstand firms), European companies were cumbersome, excessively parochial and wasted way too much organizational energy on seeking market protection (hence the ‘fortress’ title) rather than competing aggressively.

From the back cover
The European business environment is undergoing rapid change, exposing strategic weaknesses and challenging management skills. ‘Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market’ examines how non-European firms have developed strategies to compete successfully in this volatile European market. It describes the opportunities of the new Europe and suggests ways of grasping these opportunities. This book is essential reading for anyone wishing to identify the most profitable business strategies for the Single European Market.

Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market… 

  • Analyses key drivers of change and essential responses
  • Explores a range of successful business strategies for Europe
  • Examines future European business scenarios
  • Provides detailed case studies of major US and Japanese companies in Europe

    Acclaim
    Academics who teach economics and business studies can easily become outdated in areas outside their own research. We also prefer to slot events into preferred paradigms and set aside those facts and developments which threaten our traditional modes of thinking. Here we have an up-to-date work with a balanced approach which can be quickly absorbed and is packed with insights into the practice of modern multinationals, particularly Japanese concerns. The authors write from a strong belief in classical liberal economics, and from this a belief in free trade. In this Smithsonian tradition the sceptre of protectionism is ever present… For the busy manager here is a book worth the trouble of reading.
    Dr. Roger Fox, University of Greenwich, UK, in Times Higher Education Supplement.

Out

Colin Edward Egan (2018)
Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank

Twenty-five years later it seemed appropriate to reflect on the UK’s momentous decision to leave the now enlarged twenty-eight Member State European Union.  The country had elected to embark on its new international trade adventure in the context of a markedly different global business environment which had evolved since the excitement of the infamous ‘1993 Process’ towards greater European economic integration which had begun in the late 1980s. This ‘sequel’ to Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market was published in 2018 and revised in April 2019 as Brexit events and EU processes bobbled along, apparently aimlessly. The principal focus of the book is to cover a broader range of subject areas than would normally be found in a single management or business studies textbook, the intention being to provide a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary perspective on the challenges of ‘organizational life’ and strategy development in a highly competitive and complex global business environment. Its discussion relates to companies from all countries, all sectors and of all sizes. Please click/tap on the ‘Outside Fortress Europe’ book cover icon for a brief description of the text and an overview of its contents. A link is also provided to a detailed Table of Contents which can be read in a new browser window and/or downloaded.

As the Outside Fortress Europe project progressed a key observation was the extraordinary lack of preparedness of UK companies for whatever Brexit is ultimately determined. There has appeared to be a ‘wait and see’ attitude amongst businesses as the political process for implementing Brexit following the delivery of the essential Article 50 notification to Brussels meandered along its long and winding road to who knows where. Or when. Or how. Or if.

But regardless of political contrivances and controversies, ‘waiting and seeing’ is not a good platform upon which to build a long-term effective and efficient global business strategy for any organization, regardless of country-of-origin. Companies should be preparing now for exploiting the opportunities which international business developments might bring as new trade deals are struck, while at the same time building barriers against the looming threats from an uncertain and nervy customs relationship with the EU.  There will be one: hard, soft or, most likely, fudgy. And British companies pursuing purely domestic business strategies should bolster themselves for the fierce competitive winds that those newly-negotiated international trade agreements will bring to the UK market:  after all, ‘free trade’ is a two-way street.

In Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market and the ‘offspring’ BiteSized Fortress Europe Volumes derived from it (see below), we explore the series of simultaneous discontinuous changes and events that arose in an extremely short period of time during the 1990s, a turbulence unknown since the Second World War and one which has defined the contemporary ‘digital’ era of global competition and disruptive business processes. Throughout the Strategic Management Think Tank publications we discuss the theories, concepts, frameworks, processes and tools which will guide smart managers building intelligent companies towards current and post-Brexit global business strategy success.

Despite an ill-judged and premature General Election held on 8th June 2017, the UK will leave the EU on 31 October 2019 (extensions and political machinations notwithstanding). Like all messy divorces, there will be an uncomfortable transition as the former partners find their feet (and their friends) in its aftermath. But long before then, companies should have their strategies, plans and contingencies in place; and that challenge is exactly what the Outside Fortress Europe publications aim to address.

 


The BiteSized Fortress Europe Series

Overview

The BiteSized Fortress Europe Series is based upon extended Chapter extracts from the ‘Parent Book’, Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market, by Colin Edward Egan (2018). Volumes Two to Five of the BiteSized Series cover one specific dimension of global business strategy, thus allowing the reader to focus on a topic or theme which most closely matches their interests and/or business specialty. Volume One is broader in scope and is written for a wider audience keen to understand the complexities which frame the Brexit discussion and to examine its recent historical context. Each BiteSized Volume is a ‘stand-alone’ book but the progression from Volume One to Volume Five has a linear narrative and full cross-referencing between them and to the Parent Book is provided throughout the Series.

Titles in the BiteSized Fortress Europe Series

Volume One
Ten Years That Shook the (Capitalist) World: A Brexit Antidote

This BiteSized Outside Fortress Europe Volume opens in 1987 and progresses with markets in turmoil, greed in the ascendency (a sign of things to come), walls falling, curtains opening, Germany reunifying, China emerging, the USSR collapsing, George Soros rupturing the UK’s monetary policy, the fractious 1992 process limping towards a European Single Market and all of this within four years. As the decade progressed the Chinese dragon fiercely roared and its economy soared. Japan wilted while Asian tigers South Korea and Taiwan flourished. The US quietly blossomed. The much-maligned and misunderstood WTO didn’t exist in anything like its current ‘independent guardian’ of multi-lateral rules-based free trade until 1st January 1995. This book chronicles these cataclysmic events and draws lessons for companies developing global business strategies in turbulent market environments. In the current frenzied and polarised political context businesses should have their strategies, plans and contingencies in place for a post-Brexit free trade competitive landscape regardless of which deal is negotiated: hard, soft or fudgy. Please click/tap on the ‘Ten Years…’ book cover icon for further details, a list of Contents and the Media Release which launched the book. The Media Release is also available in PDF format for download.

 

Volume Two
Analysing Global Markets and the Intelligent Company

This BiteSized Fortress Europe Volume opens with a contemporary classification of global markets which reflects the dramatic developments in international business and trade in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. We explore market dynamics, comparing the characteristics of established and emerging markets and outlining the implications of these for companies developing long-term, competitive global business strategies. We also examine how companies might address the challenges of disruptive technologies and business processes by exploring principles of innovation and entrepreneurship. We present a Framework for Profitable Growth and provide insights into how this can be used for risk assessment and risk mitigation. Please click/tap on the ‘Analysing Global Markets’ book cover icon for further details and a list of Contents.

 

Volume Three
Strategic Marketing and Global Brand Management

In recent years the rise of global competition, the emergence of new technologies and the prevalence of continuous innovation have combined to redefine the external business environment for most companies. These market dynamics have given customers unprecedented value and choice. In such conditions of consumer sovereignty companies must develop a sharp strategic focus and bring marketing to the fore in their organizations. In this Volume we demonstrate that an approach built upon the creation and implementation of effective marketing strategies can considerably improve business performance and profitability. We also explore the nature and meaning of brands and examine the role of brand management in driving profitable growth and contributing towards stakeholder value, i.e., consumers, channel partners, employees, suppliers etc. Creating effective Value Propositions which, along with effective Marketing Communications, provides the foundations of global brand management. Please click/tap on the ‘Strategic Marketing’ book cover icon for further details and a list of Contents.

 

Volume Four
A Practical Framework for Global Business Strategy Success

The Practical Framework for Global Business Strategy Success we present in this book is a logical, structured and systematic approach to designing and implementing successful global business strategies. We discuss the conceptual backdrop, academic debates and prescriptive insights of the international business discipline with reference to the information requirements essential to maximise the inherent value which the Practical Framework offers for savvy strategic managers. This knowledge can be deployed to translate the strategic objectives of the intelligent company into operational, customer-focused, competitively differentiated international marketing plans. Students of global strategy and international marketing managers will benefit from understanding and applying: (i) a practical framework which has a logical process flow of key stages and, within this, (ii), a ‘go-to-market’ planning process backed up by proven methodologies, frameworks and tools for successful global business strategy implementation. Please click/tap on the ‘A Practical Framework’ book cover icon for further details and a list of Contents.

 

Volume Five
Implementing Global Business Strategy

This book opens with a critical assessment of the ‘excuses’ that many companies put forward to ‘explain’ poor business performance rather than making an honest evaluation of their own organizational maladies and/or lack of competitiveness. Theories of strategy, competition and organization are then presented followed by an exclusive practical framework and management process for measuring the turbulence of markets and the identification of strategic priorities, including those threats or opportunities which may not be imminent but loom large on the radar screen for the next cycle of the strategic audit. The global business strategy literature is rich in research which demonstrates that the successful management of internal organizational capabilities and competencies explains superior and sustainable external market competitiveness. The key question relates to whether such organizational capability can be configured by management to deliver success in global business strategy. A strategy which cannot be executed is not a strategy at all and we provide an exclusive practical framework for undertaking a comprehensive internal implementation audit. Please click/tap on the ‘Implementing Global Business Strategy’ book cover icon for further details and a list of Contents.


20:20 vision

 

Colin Edward Egan (forthcoming)
The Ascent of Marketing & Innovation: Strategies for Profitable Growth
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank

In recent years the pressures for firms to innovate have grown tremendously. As markets develop over time the combination of sophisticated demand and intense rivalry forces companies to strive harder and harder just to keep pace with competitive dynamics. They do this in a broad range of ways, consistently seeking product and process breakthroughs to build or maintain a competitive advantage.

In this book we examine the broad range of marketing issues which are bringing innovation to the top of the boardroom agenda for many firms. In a competitive marketplace the importance of innovation cannot be overstated in an environment where ‘the survival of the fittest’ is the watchword for corporate success. The following quote from Professor Peter Drucker, the doyen of management gurus, illustrates the vital role of innovation in the contemporary business environment:

Because its purpose is to create a customer, a business has two – and only two – functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are ‘costs’.

A crucial point to make here relates to the distinction which must be made between invention and innovation. Invention is the creation of an idea and is typically associated with technology breakthroughs. Innovation is the commercialization of ideas and embraces creativity in all elements of the marketing mix: everything provides scope for differentiation if an appropriate market-driven outlook is adopted.

While invention is often more interesting for research scientists in R&D departments, the compelling evidence is that innovation strategies tend to be more profitable!

Having noted this, it must be emphasized that a strong creative process and organizational responsiveness are essential to secure innovation success. As we will demonstrate, the trick is to innovate for first-mover advantage, a process which combines speed to market and an ability to build entry barriers as the market develops and becomes more attractive to follower companies.

 


Colin Edward Egan (forthcoming)
The Gutenberg Disruptor: How Disruptive Processes Transform Buyer Behaviour & Business Models
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank

Daily financial news media abound with items relating to ‘disruptive technologies’ and ‘novel business models’, exciting investors and frightening company executives in equal measure. Whether based on hi-tech, AI, or new routes to market, a fundamental marketing ‘fact-of-life’ is universally overlooked:  customer preference and choice drive these economic processes. Buyer behaviour – the why, how, where and when decisions which explain consumers’ purchasing activities and motivations –  is key to understanding emerging patterns of supply and demand. In this book we explore these themes, providing many practical examples from both sides of the market exchange equation. In the process, we describe how a new approach to publishing created all the books presented on this page.

 

Bookstore
To access Colin Edward Egan’s Amazon Author Page and view details of his book publications please click/tap on the ‘Available at Amazon’ logo to the left (opens in a new window).

 


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All content © Colin Edward Egan, 2019