Management Consulting/Marketing management

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Question
Hello Sir, could you please assist me in answering the below case study:
Introduction
In 1895 in Czechoslovakia, two keen cyclists, Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement, designed and produced their own bicycle. Their business became Škoda in 1925. Škoda went on to manufacture
cycles, cars, farm ploughs and airplanes in Eastern Europe. Škoda overcame hard times over the next 65 years. These included war, economic depression and political change. By 1990 the Czech management of Škoda was looking for a strong foreign partner. Volkswagen AG (VAG) was chosen because of its reputation for strength, quality and reliability. It is the largest car manufacturer in Europe providing an average of more than 5 million cars a year – giving it a 12% share of the world car market. Volkswagen
AG comprises the Volkswagen, Audi, Škoda, SEAT, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti brands. Each brand has its own specific character and is independent in the market.
Škoda UK sells Škoda cars through its network of independent franchised dealers.
To improve its performance in the competitive car market, Škoda UK’s management needed to assess its brand positioning. Brand positioning means establishing a distinctive image for the brand compared to competing brands. Only then could it grow from being a small player. To aid its decision-making, Škoda UK obtained market research data from internal and external strategic audits. This enabled it to take advantage of new opportunities and respond to threats.
The audit provided a summary of the business’s overall strategic position by using a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym which stands for:
• Strengths – the internal elements of the business that contribute to improvement and growth
• Weaknesses – the attributes that will hinder a business or make it vulnerable to failure
• Opportunities – the external conditions that could enable future growth
• Threats – the external factors which could negatively affect the business.
This case study focuses on how Škoda UK’s management built on all the areas of the strategic audit.
The outcome of the SWOT analysis was a strategy for effective competition in the car industry.
Strengths
To identify its strengths, Škoda UK carried out research. It asked customers directly for their opinions
about its cars. It also used reliable independent surveys that tested customers’ feelings. For example, the
annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey asks owners what they feel about cars they have owned for at least six months. JD Power surveys almost 20,000 car owners using detailed questionnaires. Škoda has been in the top five manufacturers in this survey for the past 13 years. In Top Gear’s 2007 customer
satisfaction survey, 56,000 viewers gave their opinions on 152 models and voted Škoda the ‘number 1 car maker’. Škoda’s Octavia model has also won the 2008 Auto Express Driver Power ‘Best Car’.
Škoda attributes these results to the business concentrating on owner experience rather than on sales. It has considered ‘the human touch’ from design through to sale. Škoda knows that 98% of its drivers would recommend Škoda to a friend. This is a clearly identifiable and quantifiable strength. Škoda uses this to guide its future strategic development and marketing of its brand image.Strategic management guides a business so that it can compete and grow in its market. Škoda adopted a strategy focused on building cars that their owners would enjoy. This is different from simply maximising sales of a product. As a result, Škoda’s biggest strength was the satisfaction of its customers. This means the brand is associated with a quality product and happy customers.
Weaknesses
A SWOT analysis identifies areas of weakness inside the business. Škoda UK’s analysis showed that in order to grow it needed to address key questions about the brand position. Škoda has only 1.7% market share. This made it a very small player in the market for cars. The main issue it needed to address was:
how did Škoda fit into this highly competitive, fragmented market?
This weakness was partly due to out-dated perceptions of the brand. These related to Škoda’s eastern European origins. In the past the cars had an image of poor vehicle quality, design, assembly, andmaterials. Crucially, this poor perception also affected Škoda owners. For many people, car ownership is all about image. If you are a Škoda driver, what do other people think?
From 1999 onwards, under Volkswagen AG ownership, Škoda changed this negative image. Škoda cars were no longer seen as low-budget or low quality. However, a brand ‘health check’ in 2006 showed that Škoda still had a weak and neutral image in the mid-market range it occupies, compared to other players in this area, for example, Ford, Peugeot and Renault. This meant that whilst the brand no longer had a poor image, it did not have a strong appeal either. This understanding showed Škoda in which direction it needed to go. It needed to stop being defensive in promotional campaigns. The company had sought to correct old perceptions and demonstrate what Škoda cars were not. It realised it was now time to say what the brand does stand for. The marketing message for the change was simple. Škoda owners were known to be happy and contented with their cars. The car-buying public and the car industry as a whole needed convincing that Škoda cars were great to own and drive.
Opportunities and Threats
Opportunities
Opportunities occur in the external environment of a business. These include for example, gaps in the market for new products or services. In analysing the external market, Škoda noted that its competitors’ marketing approaches focused on the product itself.
Audi emphasises the technology through its strapline, ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ (‘advantage through technology’). BMW promotes ‘the ultimate driving machine’. Many brands place emphasis on the
machine and the driving experience. Škoda UK discovered that its customers loved their cars more than owners of competitor brands, such as Renault or Ford.
Information from the SWOT analysis helped Škoda to differentiate its product range. Having a complete understanding of the brand’s weaknesses allowed it to develop a strategy to strengthen thebrand and take advantage of the opportunities in the market. It focused on its existing strengths and provided cars focused on the customer experience. The focus on ‘happy Škoda customers’ is an
opportunity. It enables Škoda to differentiate the Škoda brand to make it stand out from the competition.
This is Škoda’s unique selling proposition (USP) in the motor industry.
Threats
Threats come from outside of a business. These involve, for example, a competitor launching cheaper products. A careful analysis of the nature, source and likelihood of these threats is a key part of the SWOT process.The UK car market includes 50 different car makers selling 200 models. Within these there are over 2,000 model derivatives. Škoda UK needed to ensure that its messages were powerful enough for customers to hear within such a crowded and competitive environment. If not, potential buyers would overlook Škoda. This posed the threat of a further loss of market share.Škoda needed a strong product range to compete in the UK and globally. In the UK the Škoda brand is represented by seven different cars. Each one is designed to appeal to different market segments. For example:
• The Škoda Fabia is sold as a basic but quality ‘city car’
• The Škoda Superb offers a more luxurious, ‘up-market’ appeal
• The Škoda Octavia Estate provides a family with a fun drive but also a great big boot.
Pricing reflects the competitive nature of Škoda’s market. Each model range is priced to appeal to
different groups within the mainstream car market. The combination of a clear range with competitive
pricing has overcome the threat of the crowded market.
The following example illustrates how Škoda responded to another of its threats, namely, the need to
respond to EU legal and environmental regulations. Škoda responded by designing products that are
environmentally friendly at every stage of their life cycle. This was done by for example:-• Recycling as much as possible. Škoda parts are marked for quick and easy identification when the car
is taken apart.
• Using the latest, most environmentally-friendly manufacturing technologies and facilities available.
For instance, areas painted to protect against corrosion use lead-free, water based colours.
• Designing processes to cut fuel consumption and emissions in petrol and diesel engines. These use
lighter parts making vehicles as aerodynamic as possible to use less energy.
• Using technology to design cars with lower noise levels and improved sound quality. Outcomes and
benefits of SWOT analysis.
Škoda UK’s SWOT analysis answered some key questions. It discovered that:
• Škoda car owners were happy about owning a Škoda
• the brand was no longer seen as a poorer version of competitors’ cars.
However,
• the brand was still very much within a niche market
• a change in public perception was vital for Škoda to compete and increase its market share of the
mainstream car market.
The challenge was how to build on this and develop the brand so that it was viewed positively. It
required a whole new marketing strategy.
Škoda UK has responded with a new marketing strategy based on the confident slogan, ‘the
manufacturer of happy drivers.’ The campaign’s promotional activities support the new brand position.
The key messages for the campaign focus on the ‘happy’ customer experience and appeal at an
emotional rather than a practical level. The campaign includes:
• he ‘Fabia Cake’ TV advert. This showed that the car was ‘full of lovely stuff’ with the happy music
(‘Favourite things’) in the background.• An improved and redesigned website which is easy and fun to use. This is to appeal to a young
audience. It embodies the message ‘experience the happiness of Škoda online’.
Customers are able to book test drives and order brochures online. The result is that potential customers
will feel a Škoda is not only a reliable and sensible car to own, it is also ‘lovely’ to own.
Analysing the external opportunities and threats allows Škoda UK to pinpoint precisely how it should
target its marketing messages. No other market player has ‘driver happiness’ as its USP. By building on
the understanding derived from the SWOT, Škoda UK has given new impetus to its campaign. At the
same time, the campaign has addressed the threat of external competition by setting Škoda apart from its
rivals.
Conclusion
Škoda is a global brand offering a range of products in a highly competitive and fragmented market. The
company must respond positively to internal and external issues to avoid losing sales and market share.
A SWOT analysis brings order and structure to otherwise random information. The SWOT model helps
managers to look internally as well as externally. The information derived from the analysis gives
direction to the strategy. It highlights the key internal weaknesses in a business, it focuses on strengths
and it alerts managers to opportunities and threats. Škoda was able to identify where it had strengths to compete. The structured review of internal and external factors helped transform Škoda UK’s strategic direction.
The case study shows how Škoda UK transformed its brand image in the eyes of potential customers and build its competitive edge over rivals. By developing a marketing strategy playing on clearly identified strengths of customer happiness, Škoda was able to overcome weaknesses. It turned its previously defensive position of the brand to a positive customer-focused experience. The various awards Škoda has won demonstrate how its communications are reaching customers. Improved sales show that Škoda UK’s new strategy has delivered benefits.
Answer the
1. What was the key weakness that Škoda was able to identify?
2. What strength did Škoda use to turn its brand weakness into an opportunity?
3. How has Škoda strategically addressed external threats?
4. What in your view are the important benefits of using a SWOT analysis

Answer
===================================================
1.   What was the key weakness that Škoda was able to identify?
This weakness was partly due to out-dated perceptions of the brand. These related to Škoda’s eastern European origins. In the past the cars had an image of poor vehicle quality, design, assembly, andmaterials. Crucially, this poor perception also affected Škoda owners. For many people, car ownership is all about image. If you are a Škoda driver, what do other people think?
From 1999 onwards, under Volkswagen AG ownership, Škoda changed this negative image. Škoda cars were no longer seen as low-budget or low quality. However, a brand ‘health check’ in 2006 showed that Škoda still had a weak and neutral image in the mid-market range it occupies, compared to other players in this area, for example, Ford, Peugeot and Renault.
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2. What strength did Škoda use to turn its brand weakness into an opportunity?
Škoda adopted a strategy focused on building cars that their owners would enjoy. This is different from simply maximising sales of a product. As a result, Škoda’s biggest strength was the satisfaction of its customers. This means the brand is associated with a quality product and happy customers.

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2.   How has Škoda strategically addressed external threats?
Threats come from outside of a business. These involve, for example, a competitor launching cheaper products. A careful analysis of the nature, source and likelihood of these threats is a key part of the SWOT process.The UK car market includes 50 different car makers selling 200 models. Within these there are over 2,000 model derivatives. Škoda UK needed to ensure that its messages were powerful enough for customers to hear within such a crowded and competitive environment. If not, potential buyers would overlook Škoda. This posed the threat of a further loss of market share.Škoda needed a strong product range to compete in the UK and globally. In the UK the Škoda brand is represented by seven different cars. Each one is designed to appeal to different market segments. For example:
• The Škoda Fabia is sold as a basic but quality ‘city car’
• The Škoda Superb offers a more luxurious, ‘up-market’ appeal
• The Škoda Octavia Estate provides a family with a fun drive but also a great big boot.

Pricing reflects the competitive nature of Škoda’s market. Each model range is priced to appeal to  different groups within the mainstream car market. The combination of a clear range with competitive  pricing has overcome the threat of the crowded market.

The following example illustrates how Škoda responded to another of its threats, namely, the need to  respond to EU legal and environmental regulations. Škoda responded by designing products that are
environmentally friendly at every stage of their life cycle. This was done by for example:-• Recycling as much as possible. Škoda parts are marked for quick and easy identification when the car  is taken apart.
• Using the latest, most environmentally-friendly manufacturing technologies and facilities available.
For instance, areas painted to protect against corrosion use lead-free, water based colours.
• Designing processes to cut fuel consumption and emissions in petrol and diesel engines. These use
lighter parts making vehicles as aerodynamic as possible to use less energy.
• Using technology to design cars with lower noise levels and improved sound quality. Outcomes and
benefits of SWOT analysis.
Škoda UK’s SWOT analysis answered some key questions. It discovered that:
• Škoda car owners were happy about owning a Škoda
• the brand was no longer seen as a poorer version of competitors’ cars.
However,
• the brand was still very much within a niche market
• a change in public perception was vital for Škoda to compete and increase its market share of the
mainstream car market.
The challenge was how to build on this and develop the brand so that it was viewed positively. It
required a whole new marketing strategy.
Škoda UK has responded with a new marketing strategy based on the confident slogan, ‘the
manufacturer of happy drivers.’ The campaign’s promotional activities support the new brand position.
The key messages for the campaign focus on the ‘happy’ customer experience and appeal at an
emotional rather than a practical level. The campaign includes:
• he ‘Fabia Cake’ TV advert. This showed that the car was ‘full of lovely stuff’ with the happy music
(‘Favourite things’) in the background.• An improved and redesigned website which is easy and fun to use. This is to appeal to a young
audience. It embodies the message ‘experience the happiness of Škoda online’.
Customers are able to book test drives and order brochures online. The result is that potential customers
will feel a Škoda is not only a reliable and sensible car to own, it is also ‘lovely’ to own.
Analysing the external opportunities and threats allows Škoda UK to pinpoint precisely how it should
target its marketing messages. No other market player has ‘driver happiness’ as its USP. By building on
the understanding derived from the SWOT, Škoda UK has given new impetus to its campaign. At the
same time, the campaign has addressed the threat of external competition by setting Škoda apart from its
rivals.
#########################
3.   What in your view are the important benefits of using a SWOT analysis

SWOT Analysis with Examples


useful forBusiness Owner/Entrepreneur/Manager

Definition  of  SWOT
SWOT analysis is a general technique which can be applied across diverse functions and activities, but it is particularly appropriate to the early stages of planning for CORPORATE  STRATEGY . Performing SWOT analysis involves generating and recording the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats relating to a given task. It is customary for the analysis to take account of internal resources and capabilities (strengths and weaknesses) and factors external to the organisation (opportunities and threats).
THE  NECESSITY   FOR  SWOT
Strengths
Strengths usually describe things that the company excels at doing. All strengths listed should support a competitive advantage that the corporation has over its rivals. These can be tangible (fast delivery of products to customers) or intangible (excellent customer service promotes very high customer satisfaction). As these are internal attributes they should all be within the company’s control. Ask questions such as:

• What does the company do well?
• What resources (physical and personnel) does the company possess?
• What advantages does the company have over its rivals?

Do not forget to include key strengths that the people in the organization possess which includes things such as their experience, knowledge, educational background, business connections, and job skills. Tangible assets such as plant capacity, state of the art equipment and facilities, strong supply chains, available capital (or access to credit), loyal customers, patents, copyrights and superior information systems.

Strengths
The Strengths can be considered as anything that is favourable towards the business for example:
Currently in a good financial position (few debts, etc)
Skilled workforce (little training required)
Company name recognized on a National/Regional/Local level
Latest machinery installed
Own premises (no additional costs for renting)
Excellent transport links (ease of access to/from the Company)
Little/non-threatening competition

THE  SWOT  ANALYSIS  --STRENGTHS
-helps   to  identify  the  core compentences  
-helps  how  to  maximize  the  strengths  to  gain
the  maximum  results --sales/profit/market  share/competitive  position.
========================================
Weaknesses
Weaknesses are factors that the company controls that impair its ability to compete with other firms. Weaknesses are any areas in which you need to improve to maintain a competitive edge in your market. Ask questions such as:

• Which departments need to be improved?
• What resources does the company lack?
• What skill sets do the employees lack that competing firm’s workforces have?
• What services does the company fail to offer?

Weaknesses
Recognizing the Weaknesses will require you being honest and realistic. Don’t leave anything out as this is an important part as to realize what needs to be done to minimize this list in the future. Here are a few examples:
Currently in a poor financial position (large debts, etc)
Un-Skilled workforce (training required)
Company name not recognized on a National/Regional/Local level
Machinery not up to date (Inefficient)
Rented premises (Adding to costs)
Poor location for business needs (Lack of transport links etc)
Stock problems (currently holding too much/too little)
Too much waste
THE SWOT   ANALYSIS --WEAKNESS
-helps  to  identify  the weak  points in  terms of  skills/manpower/
resources  etc
-how  to improve / overcome  these  weak  factors.
==================================================
Opportunities
Opportunities are the external factors that will allow your business to succeed against its rivals. Since these are external factors, they may not be under control of the company. Ask questions such as:

• What opportunities for new products or services exist in your market?
• Are new markets available that could provide opportunities for growth?
• Have new technologies been developed that will allow us to compete more effectively?
• Have consumer lifestyles, wants and desires shifted?
• Are the target customers economically healthy?
• Do previously resolved internal problems give the company a competitive edge?

Usually, opportunities reflect the areas where you can excel by changing the company’s marketing strategy. Should new products be launched? Should existing products be promoted to new customer groups? If possible, identify the time frame for each opportunity. Is it something the company must capitalize on by a certain date or will the opportunity last indefinitely?

Opportunities
Keeping in mind what you have listed as your Company Strengths, SWOT Analysis can now influence the Opportunities for the business. These can be seen as targets to achieve and exploit in the future for example:
Good financial position creating a good reputation for future bank loans and borrowings
Skilled workforce means that they can be moved and trained into other areas of the business
Competitor going bankrupt (Takeover opportunity?)
Broadband technology has been installed in the area (useful for Internet users)
Increased spending power in the Local/National economy
Moving a product into a new market sector
THE  SWOT  ANALYSIS -- OPPORTUNITIES
-helps  to  identify  gaps  in the  market  which  can  be  converted  into
opportunities.
-helps to  identify  the  gaps  in  performance , which  can be  exploited.
=======================================
Threats
Threats are factors beyond the control of the company that reduces its competitiveness in the marketplace, adversely affect marketing strategy, or in a worst case scenario, potentially lead to the total demise of the business (think buggy whip manufacturers when automobiles became popular). Although the company has no control over external factors, the key is to identify the threats and draw up contingency plans to negate the threat or soften the impact should an event arise. Ask questions such as:

• Are consumer preferences shifting away from company business lines?
• Is price competition from competitors affecting company profit margins?
• Are new technologies making the company’s products or processes obsolete or unaffordable?
• Are new competitors entering the market space?
• Are suppliers increasing prices?
• Are raw material costs going up due to scarcity or catastrophic events?
• Is the general economy on the downswing?

Classifying threats by the degree of impact and the likelihood of their occurrence is often useful to help identify which threats need to be planned for immediately.

Threats
The final part of the analysis will also be seen as the most feared- the Threats. It has to be done and therefore taking into account what you have listed as your weaknesses, the threats will now all seem too clear. Examples
Large and increasing competition
Rising cost of Wages (Basic wage, etc)
Possible relocation costs due to poor location currently held
Local authority refusing plans for future building expansion
Increasing interest rates (increases borrowing repayments, etc)
End of season approaching (if you depend on hot weather, etc)
Existing product becoming unfashionable or unpopular
THE SWOT  ANALYSIS --THREAT
-helps  to  identify  the  various  threats  like
competition/social /political/economic/technological etc
and  to take  preventive  action.
=========================================
THE  SWOT  ANALYSIS  --STRENGTHS
-helps   to  identify  the  core compentences  
-helps  how  to  maximize  the  strengths  to  gain
the  maximum  results --sales/profit/market  share/competitive  position.

THE SWOT   ANALYSIS --WEAKNESS
-helps  to  identify  the weak  points in  terms of  skills/manpower/
resources  etc
-how  to improve / overcome  these  weak  factors.

THE  SWOT  ANALYSIS -- OPPORTUNITIES
-helps  to  identify  gaps  in the  market  which  can  be  converted  into
opportunities.
-helps to  identify  the  gaps  in  performance , which  can be  exploited

THE SWOT  ANALYSIS --THREAT
-helps  to  identify  the  various  threats  like
competition/social /political/economic/technological etc
and  to take  preventive  action.


The Benefits of   these  FOUR   SWOT Analyses

The main thrust of the exercise is to determine how the company’s strengths can be used to take advantage of opportunities and minimize critical threats. Eliminating weaknesses can also provide resources to capitalize on opportunities or ward off threats. Identifying the most critical issues provides a game plan for the business to follow based on an honest assessment of the firm’s potential.

THIS  HELPS  TO  DEVISE  THE  MOST  EFFECTIVE  CORPORATE  STRATEGY.
WHICH  IN   TURN  HELPS  TO  DEVELOP   THE  MOST  EFFECTIVE
STRATEGIC  PLANNING.

SWOT analysis can provide:
1   A framework for identifying and analysing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
2   The impetus to analyse a situation and develop suitable strategies and tactics.
3   A basis for assessing core capabilities and competences.
4   The evidence for, and cultural key to, change.

Benefits of Strategy / its  associated  plan.
Strategic planning serves a variety of purposes in organization, including to:
1. Clearly define the purpose of the organization and to establish realistic goals and objectives consistent with that mission in a defined time frame within the organization’s capacity for implementation.
2. Communicate those goals and objectives to the organization’s constituents.
3. Develop a sense of ownership of the plan.
4. Ensure the most effective use is made of the organization’s resources by focusing the resources on the key priorities.
5. Provide a base from which progress can be measured and establish a mechanism for informed change when needed.
6. Bring together of everyone’s best and most reasoned efforts have important value in building a consensus about where an organization is going.
7. Provides clearer focus of organization, producing more efficiency and effectiveness
8. Bridges staff and board of directors (in the case of corporations)
9. Builds strong teams in the board and the staff (in the case of corporations)
10. Provides the glue that keeps the board together (in the case of corporations)
11.Produces great satisfaction among planners around a common vision
12. Increases productivity from increased efficiency and effectiveness
13. Solves major problems
==========================================================
Business SWOT Analysis
What makes SWOT particularly powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you are well placed to take advantage of. And by understanding the weaknesses of your business, you can manage and eliminate threats that would otherwise catch you unawares.
More than this, by looking at yourself and your competitors using the SWOT framework, you can start to craft a strategy that helps you distinguish yourself from your competitors, so that you can compete successfully in your market.
How to use the tool:
To carry out a SWOT Analysis, , and write down answers to the following questions:
Strengths:
1   What advantages does your company have?
2   What do you do better than anyone else?
3   What unique or lowest-cost resources do you have access to?
4   What do people in your market see as your strengths?
Consider this from an internal perspective, and from the point of view of your customers and people in your market. And be realistic: It's far too easy to fall prey to "not invented here syndrome". Also, if you are having any difficulty with this, try writing down a list of your characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths!
In looking at your strengths, think about them in relation to your competitors - for example, if all your competitors provide high quality products, then a high quality production process is not a strength in the market, it is a necessity.

Weaknesses:
1   What could you improve?
2   What should you avoid?
3   What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
Again, consider this from an internal and external basis: Do other people seem to perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Are your competitors doing any better than you? It is best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities:
1   Where are the good opportunities facing you?
2   What are the interesting trends you are aware of?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
1   Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale
2   Changes in government policy related to your field
3   Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.
Local Events
A useful approach to looking at opportunities is to look at your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities.
Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating them.

Threats:
1   What obstacles do you face?
2   What is your competition doing?
3   Are the required specifications for your job, products or services changing?
4   Is changing technology threatening your position?
5   Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?
6   Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
Carrying out this analysis will often be illuminating - both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.
Strengths and weaknesses are often internal to your organization. Opportunities and threats often relate to external factors. For this reason the SWOT Analysis is sometimes called Internal-External Analysis and the SWOT Matrix is sometimes called an IE Matrix Analysis Tool.
If a clear objective has been identified, SWOT analysis can be used to help in the pursuit of that objective. In this case, SWOTs are:
Strengths: attributes of the organization that are helpful to achieving the objective.
Weaknesses: attributes of the organization that are harmful to achieving the objective.
Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective.
Threats: external conditions that are harmful to achieving the objective.

Creative Use of SWOTs.--- If, on the other hand, the objective seems attainable, the SWOTs are used as inputs to the creative generation of possible strategies, by asking and answering each of the following four questions, many times:
1. How can we Use each Strength?
2. How can we Stop each Weakness?
3. How can we Exploit each Opportunity?
4. How can we Defend against each Threat?
==================================
Examples of SWOTs

Strengths and weaknesses
1   Resources: financial, intellectual, location
2   Customer service
3   Efficiency
4   Infrastructure
5   Quality
6   Staff
7   Management
8   Price
9   Delivery time
10   Cost
11   Capacity
12   Relationships with customers
13   Brand strength
14   Local language knowledge
15   Ethics
16   principles
17   patents
18   strong brand names
19   good reputation among customers
20   cost advantages from proprietary know-how
21   exclusive access to high grade natural resources
22   favorable access to distribution networks

Opportunities and threats
1   Political/Legal
2   Market Trends
3   Economic condition
4   Expectations of stakeholders
5   Technology
6   Public expectations
7   Competitors and competitive actions
8   Bad PR
9   Criticism (Editorial)
10   Global Markets

Errors to be avoided
The following errors have been observed in published accounts of SWOT analysis:
1. Conducting a SWOT analysis before defining and agreeing upon an objective (a desired end state). SWOTs should not exist in the abstract. They can exist only with reference to an objective. If the desired end state is not openly defined and agreed upon, the participants may have different end states in mind and the results will be ineffective.
2. Opportunities external to the company are often confused with strengths internal to the company. They should be kept separate.
3. SWOTs are sometimes confused with possible strategies. SWOTs are descriptions of conditions, while possible strategies define actions. This error is made especially with reference to opportunity analysis. To avoid this error, it may be useful to think of opportunities as "auspicious conditions".
4. "Make your points long enough, and include enough detail, to make it plain why a particular factor is important, and why it can be considered as a strength, weakness, opportunity or threat. Include precise evidence, and cite figures, where possible.
5. Be as specific as you can about the precise nature of a firm’s strength and weakness. Do not build content with general factors like economies of scale.
6. Avoid vague, general opportunities and threats that could be put forward for just about any organisation under any circumstances.
7. Do not mistake the outcomes of strength (such as profits and market share) for strengths in their own right.

Here is a larger illustration of SWOT analysis.
Note that this format is not presented or proposed as a 2x2 'internal/external' matrix; it's a more open demonstration of the sorts of issues and questions which can be addressed when using the SWOT format as part of business planning and decision-making.
Subject of SWOT analysis: (define the subject of the analysis here)
strengths
•   Advantages of proposition?
•   Capabilities?
•   Competitive advantages?
•   USP's (unique selling points)?
•   Resources, Assets, People?
•   Experience, knowledge, data?
•   Financial reserves, likely returns?
•   Marketing - reach, distribution, awareness?
•   Innovative aspects?
•   Location and geographical?
•   Price, value, quality?
•   Accreditations, qualifications, certifications?
•   Processes, systems, IT, communications?
•   Cultural, attitudinal, behavioural?
•   Management cover, succession?    weaknesses
•   Disadvantages of proposition?
•   Gaps in capabilities?
•   Lack of competitive strength?
•   Reputation, presence and reach?
•   Financials?
•   Own known vulnerabilities?
•   Timescales, deadlines and pressures?
•   Cashflow, start-up cash-drain?
•   Continuity, supply chain robustness?
•   Effects on core activities, distraction?
•   Reliability of data, plan predictability?
•   Morale, commitment, leadership?
•   Accreditations, etc?
•   Processes and systems, etc?
•   Management cover, succession?
opportunities
•   Market developments?
•   Competitors' vulnerabilities?
•   Industry or lifestyle trends?
•   Technology development and innovation?
•   Global influences?
•   New markets, vertical, horizontal?
•   Niche target markets?
•   Geographical, export, import?
•   Market need for new USP's?
•   Market response to tactics, e.g., surprise?
•   Major contracts, tenders?
•   Business and product development?
•   Information and research?
•   Partnerships, agencies, distribution?
•   Market volume demand trends?
•   Seasonal, weather, fashion influences?    threats
•   Political effects?
•   Legislative effects?
•   Environmental effects?
•   IT developments?
•   Competitor intentions - various?
•   Market demand?
•   New technologies, services, ideas?
•   Vital contracts and partners?
•   Obstacles faced?
•   Insurmountable weaknesses?
•   Employment market?
•   Financial and credit pressures?
•   Economy - home, abroad?
•   Seasonality, weather effects?  

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Leo Lingham

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management consulting process, management consulting career, management development, human resource planning and development, strategic planning in human resources, marketing, careers in management, product management etc

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18 years working managerial experience covering business planning, strategic planning, corporate planning, management service, organization development, marketing, sales management etc

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24 years in management consulting which includes business planning, strategic planning, marketing , product management,
human resource management, management training, business coaching,
counseling etc

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PRINCIPAL -- BESTBUSICON Pty Ltd

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MASTERS IN SCIENCE

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