If you have a fierce rival in your industry, consider yourself lucky. You can capitalize on rivalries, and aggressivecompanies that target equally combative competitors enjoy a slew of benefits. To get the most out of your competition, do thefollowing:

?   Play up the fight in the press. Feisty catfights tend to attract attention, and attention leads to visibility and free press allaround. Press coverage can be a market-development subsidy, too, especially if you're in a new industry. Use the rivalry toshare the costs of growing the overall industry market.

?   Use the "battleground" mentality to rally your employees. Competition can fuel a do-or-die drive to innovate and can be anorganizationwide antidote to complacency.

?   Use your competitor's successes as benchmarks. At least you'll know when you fall behind or pull ahead.

?   Boost your brand by taking a position against your opponent. It's easier to differentiate your stuff when there's somebodyelse you can call inferior.

Published on: Jan 1, 1995