We were once asked by a Director of the worlds leading video games publisher, "how can we improve the way we work and leverage our international brand?". A single, simple answer was forthcoming "you need to think smarter, in order to be better". After the usual gasps and bluster about how they were the biggest, so they must be the smartest etc, he replied "well how can we become even smarter?". A single, simple answer was forthcoming, "you need to look at how companies you really admire operate and are a close match to your company philosophy and your own vision of the future and harvest their knowhow, like your life depends on it.
Why spend years building your own corporate cognitive memory on the hoof when the answers are already out there? There are a billion ways of developing intelligence, the majority of them legal. So this particular games publisher was effectively told to go forth and think and do like Microsoft, which at that particular time was simple, cheap and relevant advice for them.
Paul Strassman a director with the US Department of Defense and second world war Guerilla war hero once revealed an intelligence formula used in the Gulf war which has provided the basis for more than one multi-million dollar brand success over the last 10 years. Although we slightly adapted it, it went something like this:
Rapid and tactical deployment of small technology increments, which are highly adaptable and which fit into an over-arching, all encompassing architecture.
If you want to be the best, you need to think better than the best. Why not try and think up your own brand positioning formula!
For more on Paul Strassmann: http://www.strassmann.com/bio.php