A frontal attack is an offensive move to take the enemy head-on. Within the business realm, the attack constitutes targeting competitor(s) by replicating their product, advertising, product pricing, and distribution strategies. It’s a head-to-head business face-off, wherein a company tries to outsmart the other. Frontal attacks are not official; these are typically mind games played between rival firms, going on almost forever. The firm with the mightier resources usually wins in the end. However, if two large companies are at loggerheads, the rivalry may not come to an end at all. But if a dominant firm becomes complacent, a result is likely.

Generally, companies launching the frontal attack is a much bigger company than the firm being targeted, which means it has the necessary leverage to perform the attack. In quite a few other cases, both the companies could be equals, and matching each other’s products and services becomes a matter of sustaining market share. For example, Coke and Pepsi are two food and beverage corporations that replicate each other’s offerings. If Coke comes with a low-calorie soft drink, then Pepsi would likely follow suit.

Types

Frontal attack can be pure, limited, price-based, or targeting a company’s research and development (R&D) section. A pure attack entails matching the competitor in all aspects of business. Limited frontal attack, as the name suggests, is restrictive and only targets particular segments. In a price-based attack, the firm that’s on the offensive attempts matching the competitor’s prices or offers lower-priced services. The company may also invest huge in R&D so that it can match the target firm’s level of innovation.   

Not all firms can execute a frontal attack because it’s expensive and could be risky or counterproductive. In fact, even larger firms cannot carry out a pure frontal attack at will. For a company to be successful with the attack, it needs to have some competitive advantage in the particular sector, along with necessary financial resources. For example, Samsung is a huge conglomerate, but it still will have to think more than twice before launching a frontal attack on Google’s Android operating system. The Korean firm, in fact, has its own mobile phone operating system called Tizen, but despite all its might and marketing prowess, Samsung has been unable to replicate the presence and dominance of Android.