Yay Huawei! Telecoms equipment maker Huawei is the first Chinese company to enter the Interbrand list of top 100 list of world’s most valuable brands.

Ok, so it only made ‘humble’ (WOW!) number 94 in the rankings by Interbrand, but this follows hard on the heels of intense global advertising, marketing, public relations and lobbying activity and a massive global expansion built on a host of super-smart strategic partnerships to make them amongst the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications gear and mobile phones.

As Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s chief executive, said in the Telegraph: “Huawei’s rapid growth and long-term investments in its brand helped it earn a place among the world’s most valuable brands. Despite its low brand awareness in the US, Huawei has gradually expanded its reach around the world.”

So how can companies build a competitive advantage?

Having a competitive edge is key because long-term business success involves creating, managing and exploiting assets and skills that competitors find difficult to match or counter. Developing this advantage is ongoing, not a final event.

Creativedge shares its 5 tips to give your company a competitive edge:-

1. Strategic Leadership

The top management team leading your company must develop a vision for the organisation; obtain employee commitment to achieving that vision; build effective relationships with key stakeholders i.e. partners, customers, suppliers. At the same time, management must be a catalyst for change.

A good top team has varied expertise and knowledge; most important, managers must learn to think in a non-linear manner in order to keep developing successful strategies when faced with new, and possibly contradictory, information.

2. Leverage Core Competencies

One key to sustaining a competitive advantage is to develop a core set of competencies that customers want and that are difficult for others to imitate.

These competencies can be exploited and leveraged to develop new products or to go after new markets. The ability to leverage competencies across geographic and product business units helps any business to achieve economies over scale and scope. It seems Huawei has done exactly that!

3. Innovate Strategically

Whether you are a first or late mover, innovation gives a competitive advantage. A truly pioneering company plays a central role in defining both the concept and buyer preferences for a category.

But if the originator doesn’t understand the market, a late mover can identify a superior but overlooked product position and undercut the pioneer. The key is innovation based on the market’s needs.

4. Growth strategies

Identify opportunities such as geographic expansion or new target markets that enable your business growth. Enter those markets using the most effective method i.e. strategic alliance, outsourcing, direct). Whilst risks may be high and /or inadequate internal resources may not be available, search for a partner who can join in developing a cooperative venture.

Choose partners with complementary resources and an appropriate strategic intent. The Vodafone Group and BT are just two of Huawei’s strategic partners.

5. Stay flexible

Sustaining a competitive advantage requires continuous thinking of your current strategic thinking, organisational structure, communications system, corporate culture, asset deployment and development strategies.

Bottom line, EVERY aspect of business operations must be examined frequently to maximise long term business health. Strategic flexibility gives ANY business the ability to respond quickly to changing conditions and thereby develop and/or maintain a significant competitive advantage.

So the next time you’re in Carphone Warehouse, EE shop, or any mobile phone retailer, check out Huawei’s handsets and see how they stack up next to the rest.

I wonder if you will upgrade to one of their models next time you’re due for an upgrade? They are a fine example of ‘slow and steady wins the race.’

For more tips on how to give your company a competitive advantage, or for other useful management tips from the experts at Creativedge, visit the new Creativedge ‘Top 10 Tips’ App available for iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones:-