3c Analysis Example How to Create a Competitive Advantage



The ‘3C Analysis’ is a business tool that enables companies to analyze the external environment and identify the factors that drive competition among firms and industries. This analysis can be used to inform strategic decision-making in order to create a competitive advantage. By understanding the interrelated components of customers, competition, and company activities, organizations can create strategies for success and growth by capitalizing on opportunities and responding effectively to threats.

This 3C Analysis example outlines the key steps involved in creating an effective competitive advantage. The sections below explore each component of the analysis in further detail:

  1. Competitor analysis – A thorough understanding of competitors’ activities can provide insight into current industry trends, potential threats, and opportunities for development.
  2. Customer analysis – Understanding customer needs and motivations gives organizations an edge over rival businesses by enabling them to tailor products or services accordingly.
  3. Company activities – Firms must keep abreast of their own internal activities as well as research on market developments in order to remain relevant and competitively advantageous in ever-evolving markets.

What is 3C Analysis?

3C Analysis is a powerful tool used by many businesses to understand their competitive landscape and to create a competitive advantage. It stands for Company, Customers, and Competitors, and can be used to identify strengths and opportunities that can help you gain an advantage over your competitors.

In this article, we’ll look at what 3C Analysis is and how to use it to develop a competitive advantage:


3C Analysis is a strategic business tool used to analyze the external and internal environment of an organization. It was first developed in 1967 by Japanese business scholar Kenichi Ohmae and is commonly referred to as the 3Cs Model or 3C’s Analysis. This type of analysis helps organizations determine their current strengths and weaknesses, as well as potential opportunities and threats that might affect their success.

The 3Es in the name stand for company, customers, and competitors – three important aspects of any organization’s external environment. By conducting a comprehensive analysis of each, it enables companies to gain important insights into their current market position as well as be more equipped to effectively compete with rivals.

  • Company: Under this category of analysis, organizations can take a closer look at its own internal capabilities such as production capacity, financial standing, personnel resources, etc. This helps them understand how well-equipped they are in comparison to other companies operating within the same or similar industries. For example, having adequate production capacity provides an advantage over competition when responding quickly to customer needs (i.e., faster delivery times).
  • Customers: Knowing who your customers are is key when it comes to formulating effective strategies for gaining numbers advantages over competitors. Conducting a deep dive into customer demographics (age groups and gender profiles), spending habits (frequency and budget size), preferences (services and features), etc., will help you identify more effective ways to target potential customers going forward.
  • Competitors: Keeping track of your competition is vital for staying relevant in the marketplace; studying competitor programs/partnerships along with what products/price points they offer allows you pinpoint areas where your company has an advantage or disadvantage compared them – giving you an idea of strategies you should adopt or avoid using moving forward when trying to gain an edge on the market share battlefront.


3C Analysis, also known as the “Three Cs Framework”, is a strategic model used to analyze an organization’s external environment. It looks at the three core components of any business: customers, competitors and company. Each component is examined in detail in order to gain an understanding of the overall market and help organizations create competitive advantages.


  1. Customers – The 3C Analysis begins by looking at customers and understanding their needs and wants. This will include factors such as customer segmentation, purchase patterns and preferences. Understanding customer behavior helps organizations determine how they can meet customers’ needs, as well as providing insights into ways to differentiate from competitors and increase market share.
  2. Competitors – Next, 3C Analysis examines competing companies in order to understand what they are offering, their strengths and weaknesses compared to the organization under review, their potential strategies and how they may respond to changes announced by the organization itself. The idea is to identify current strategies within the industry so that new strategies can be developed that are more effective than those currently employed by competitors.
  3. Company – Finally, 3C Analysis looks internally at organizational resources such as capitalization level, distribution channels and ability or lack thereof for vertically integrating markets with product diversification or outsourcing options available for cost control purposes if desired or required for success in certain markets or industry segments. This component focuses on preparing a thorough SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis so that key areas of focus can be identified from which resource optimization plans may be designed or implemented going forward.

The 3C Analysis Process

The 3C Analysis is a framework that businesses can use to identify the key components of their competitive advantage. It’s a useful tool to understand the internal and external factors that play a role in your competitive strategy. By understanding the 3Cs – Customers, Competitors, and Company – you can create an effective strategy that will give you a competitive advantage. Let’s look at how to do this.

Identifying Your Competitors

When analyzing the competition with the 3C approach, it is important to identify who exactly your competitors are. This can be accomplished by taking a step back and looking at those businesses around you that offer the same products or services as you. Furthermore, this includes those businesses that do not currently offer the same products or services but may have potential to expand into them in the future.

To effectively use the 3C analysis, it is beneficial to create a comprehensive list of all your direct and indirect competitors that also includes potential future rivals as well.

Once you have identified all your competitors, it is time to begin examining their strengths and weaknesses – this part of the process is covered in more detail below. Understanding who stands in opposition to your business will help provide insight into how you can best position yourself for success in the market.

Analyzing Your Competitors

When executing the 3C analysis process, it’s important to dedicate a portion of the process to taking a closer look at your competitors. This will include analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their capacity and capability. All of this information helps you identify areas where you can surpass those competitors in order to create a competitive advantage.

To get started on this portion of your analysis, begin by looking at who your direct and indirect rivals are. It can be useful to put some thought into what classification or type each of them fits into (e.g., challenger, follower, etc.). Then use tools like market segmentation to determine what individual components of the market each competitor is targeting. This will allow you better understand who has a presence in each of those segments more specifically. Also take into consideration their strategies for targeted segments and if they have specialized offerings designed for certain markets.

Next review the resources that competitors have access to such as financial assets or human capital and then analyze how they are leveraging those resources against competing firms in the same market space or against external forces (such as regulatory changes). It may be pertinent to investigate any partnerships that competitors have established that could help create an edge over other firms in the marketplace (e.g., exclusivity agreements).

Finally evaluate each rival’s performance relative to yours, including factors such as

  • growth rates
  • customer satisfaction ratings
  • overall profitability metrics like return-on-investment

Ultimately your analysis should allow you to assess current competitive dynamics and future potential threats so that you can stay ahead of the competition and pursue opportunities more efficiently moving forward.

Creating Your Competitive Advantage

The 3C Analysis (or 3 point analysis) is a tool used by business leaders to develop a comprehensive understanding of the level of competitiveness within their respective industries. As the name suggests, it focuses on three primary elements – customers, competitors and the company itself. When considering how to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace, analyzing these elements in depth is essential.

The 3C Analysis process begins with customers – analyzing consumer behavior and identifying which customers are most loyal, which are most profitable, or where there are gaps in meeting consumer needs. This can help determine what sort of customer experience needs to be created or if customer segmentation could be beneficial.

The next step is to analyze competitors – studying their products and services to identify differences between them and ways in which you may have an edge. Analyzing pricing structures across your competitors’ offerings is key. Finally, it’s important to assess the company itself and any unique advantages that you may have – such as resources or unique industry perspectives that can be leveraged for a competitive advantage.

Using information from each of these areas in your 3C Analysis provides valuable insights that can be leveraged for increased profitability by creating more compelling offers for current customers or expanding customer reach by targeting new segments. By executing this process effectively, companies will gain clearer insight on how they can differentiate their offerings from those of their competitors and tap into previously untapped markets when developing strategies for sustainable long-term growth.

Examples of 3C Analysis

3C Analysis is a marketing strategy used to identify and evaluate the factors that are driving the success of a business. It looks at the three key components of a company, namely customers, competitors, and the company itself. By using 3C Analysis, businesses can gain a better understanding of their competitive environment and find ways to create a competitive advantage.

In this article, we will look at some examples of 3C Analysis and how it can be used to create a competitive advantage:


Amazon is a great example of how 3C analysis can be used to create a competitive advantage. The company has managed to create a unique position in the market by leveraging its strengths, exploiting competitors’ weaknesses, and capitalizing on new opportunities. This can be seen in their use of data-driven decision-making and technology such as Prime, as well as their investments in sustainability initiatives like Amazon Web Services (AWS).


  • Amazon has a number of strengths which give it an edge over other companies in the market. The business is uniquely positioned to take advantage of its huge customer base and the sheer amount of data it holds on those customers. This means it can tailor marketing campaigns more effectively and offer more personalised services like ‘One Click Shopping’. It also has excellent infrastructure, with warehouses located close to cities enabling rapid order fulfilment times.


  • One area where Amazon could improve is its customer service. Many customers have complained about long waiting times for responses from Amazon’s customer service team or unsatisfactory resolutions to complaints and disputes. Another issue is its dependence on third-party suppliers who have been criticized for long delivery times and poor packaging standards due to the company’s warehouse consolidation strategy.


  • There are still several opportunities available for Amazon if they implement smart strategies which leverage their existing strengths while addressing their weaknesses. Expansion into international markets would provide an opportunity for growth in untapped markets while allowing them to spread fixed overhead costs across multiple countries and jurisdictions. Furthermore, with recent advancements in technology like artificial intelligence (AI), Amazon could leverage these technologies to further optimize operations or investate new markets or products that could benefit from AI solutions.


Apple is a technology giant and a leader in the industry. The company was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, and it has since grown to become one of the largest companies in the world. Using a 3C Analysis, we will analyze how Apple has created a competitive advantage by taking advantage of its resources and capabilities.

The first step of 3C Analysis looks at the company’s external environment. With Apple’s unique brand, design aesthetic, vast distribution network and fanatical customer loyalty, it dominates the technology industry’s marketplace. This is an indication of its good customer relationship management (CRM), as well as strong marketing campaigns. Furthermore, Apple benefits from effective partnerships with other companies such as Intel to provide platforms for new products and services.

The second aspect looks at Apple’s internal environment consisting of its core capabilities such as product development speed and innovation; quality assurance in delivery; operational excellence; financial resources for research & development (R&D) activities; human resources management capability; sales & distribution efficiency; etc. Apple has managed to capitalize on these capabilities to gain competitive advantage over rivals like Samsung or Huawei through its strategy or “ecosystem” approach that combines hardware-software-service integration models into one cohesive package that stands out from competitors’ solutions.

Finally, the third component is analyzing the company’s competitive capabilities – those elements that set it apart from competitors such as branding power through mass marketing campaigns or user experience innovations like advanced touch screens or facial recognition scanners on devices such as iPhones and iPads to gain market share over both Android phones’ OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). With these advantages combined together in terms of resource advantages (assets), capability advantages (personnel capital) as well as excellence advantages (value creation), Apple has managed to continually create a meaningful performance gap over rivals despite intense competition within tech industry today.


In studying Starbucks, one popular example of 3C analysis in action, we can see that this company uses its 3Cs wisely to create a competitive advantage. Their Customers focus on customer service as well as variety in products, with a strong emphasis on quality and social responsibility. For example, the policy of giving away free drinks to new members has generated customer loyalty, and their ‘Choose Your Cup’ campaign encouraged customers to get creative with their lattes. This has resulted in a passionate community of coffee drinkers who will come back for more.

Starbucks’ Company focuses on convenience and making it easy for customers to get what they need quickly by using the drive thru or app-based ordering process. In addition, they have worked hard to expand and diversify their offering so that no matter what tastes you may have there is something perfect for everyone. Their Corporate focus also looks at sustainability and maintaining relationships with suppliers and producers by investing in these local communities while respecting human rights.

By focusing on these three elements, Starbucks has been able to hone a competitive advantage which is centered around catering for their loyal consumer base while ensuring that they are doing so responsibly and sustainably. In this way, Starbucks illustrates how important the 3Cs can be when used holistically.


In conclusion, a 3C analysis is a powerful tool to identify how your company can create and sustain a competitive advantage over its rivals. By using a customer-centric approach, analyzing the competition and considering external influences, you have the ability to identify areas that could give you an edge in the market.

With this information, you can develop strategies that will help differentiate your business from others and ensure that your products and services remain attractive to customers. Taking the steps necessary to create a competitive advantage is essential for any business’s success over time.