What really drives competitive advantage?
Whenever I read about companies with great financial performance there is always the term "competitive advantage". Usually its something like lowest cost, or strength of a brand name. The brand name one kind of bugs me. While I know for certain that a stron brand name is definitely a competitive advantage, I hate how so many fundamental analysis articles go on rants about how wishy washy technical analysis or momentum investing or etc is, but "strong brand name" is as wishy washy as it gets.
Basic economic theory (which I usually find to be wrong, but it was my major so it was unfortunate burned into my skull) says that a competitive advantage shouldn't last in the long run. People will figure out how to get the costs as low as the lost cost producer, etc
I guess it's more of a philosophical level, but what creates/drives a long term competitive advantage? Why is KO never gonna be the average beverage company? Why can't somebody else just replicate them?why can't another big company finance a smaller company into a "high cost of capital to entry " field? If a field has such high barriers how did the current top dogs make it?
All I can think of is government for some industries (patents, land rights, bail outs, regulations, etc) and first discovery to a huge natural reserve field but there must be more
I don't know exactly what I'm looking for here...but something deeper than porters 5 forces