By Bryan Smeltzer

The Art of Competition | Creating a Strategy to Overcome Competitors


CHRONICLE: July 25th, 2023

 The Art of Competition | Creating a Strategy to Overcome Competitors

“Know your enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War


The Forces of Competition, which determine strategic planning and marketplace execution, are shared among all industries. Those who can anticipate both industry and competitive moves will succeed for generations.

Anticipation is the “Art of War,” and brands who fight and win the battle without having pulled a sword are the ones who have mastered the “Art of Competition.” But unfortunately, many have gone to war and have shown nothing for their efforts; a strategy built on a foundation of brute force inevitably fails.

Find a way to determine outcomes before they are fought, and you will build a team and a brand set on a solid foundation, a fortress others cannot enter. Creating a culture where everyone knows their role, works together to ensure the foundation stands, and others envy what you have made and want to know your future Vision. The best they can hope for is to follow your path but never lead.

There are several forces brands must be aware of to execute The Art of Competition in the marketplace.

New Blood

With this scenario, new blood is the latest entry into your category, one who has a new idea and provides a potentially better service or product.

Combatting this competitor takes anticipation, an innovation process, and the ability to never look over your shoulder. Each of these allows a brand to advance with its Vision while ensuring this new blood is blocked or eliminated from establishing a beachhead without doing anything different. Changing course is not an option, but pivoting without disrupting your business is critical.


The scale was a strategy many were caught off guard by during the pandemic, and most were unable to recover in whole or in part.

However, the winning formula is attaining sufficient scale with a manufacturing matrix with the core competencies needed to produce a consistently excellent product and out-innovate yourself first.


Loyalty, recurring revenue, and value creation are foundational to longevity. These pieces of your foundation will create a wall no competitor can climb.

This takes consistency, an understanding of who your customer is, what they value, and why they buy your products and is a strategic weapon built off your team’s shoulders.

Commodity Players

The Imitators, not the Innovators, are the commodity players. They are not to be feared; instead, they are the ones to be called out and challenged at every turn.

Imitators churn great Ideas into inferior-quality products and lower-tier price points. As a result, they do not build a trusting, loyal community that embraces the value provided by the brand but rather a following looking for the next significant “draw-down.”

Some have been successful with this strategy, but this is like building your foundation on the sand vs. rock. YOUR CHOICE.


The most threatening part of a brand executing its future Vision is its direct Rival, those who have authentically built a loyal community, created their innovation pipeline, and stayed true to their foundation.

They are to be respected, but the Art of War principles are genuinely beneficial and provide the most benefit. You want to anticipate the moves of your Rivals,  find ways to outflank them, diminish their impact, and put the fires out before they start.

The Art of War is winning without having gone to battle. So what can you do to anticipate your Rival’s next move and step out and take risks, never to relinquish your lead?


The Art of Competition is understanding the landscape, anticipating your Rival’s moves, outflanking your Competition, and finding ways to win the battles through a strategy where you never have to draw your weapon! Find a way to win!

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Stay True, Stay Authentic, be Different, and be Great!

Enjoy the Journey!


Bryan Smeltzer, President

LiquidMind Inc.




© All rights reserved, Bryan Smeltzer, 2023


Bryan Smeltzer is a consumer products business executive and entrepreneur. He has held executive-level roles in business development, product, and marketing with some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including; Oakley, TaylorMade, Adidas, K-Swiss, and Schutt Sports, among other international brands. He also founded a men’s apparel brand, successfully running a profitable business for ten years, eventually selling to a VC firm.


He also hosts a podcast called The Visionary Chronicles. The Visionary Chronicles podcast is the #1 Global Visionary podcast and Top 50 Marketing podcast for 2022 & 2023, ranked by Feedspot.


In addition, he recently finished his first bestselling book, The Visionary Brand, The Success Formula Behind the World’s Most Visionary Brands. He received the prestigious Readers Favorite Award for BEST Non-fiction, Marketing Genre book.


He is a member of the Board of Advisors at UCI’s BCIE along with their New Venture Program, an Innovation Advisor at the UCI’s Applied Innovation program at the Cove, a Mentor/Advisor to UCLA’s Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and the UCLA Media, Entertainment and Sports programs, and the San Diego Sports Innovators Accelerator (SDSI) center.


Bryan oversees LiquidMind Inc., a global brand strategy firm that partners with start-ups and established mid to large-cap consumer brands to empower businesses to think differently, be different, drive a passionate culture, and execute relentlessly.