Knowing your competition

Strong branding can preempt or even eliminate competitors. So you have to study your competition — whether you’re building a brand from scratch or reformulating; whether you’re a CEO, marketing executive or an agency creative team.

Don’t accept the old “we really don’t have any competition” cop out, so prevalent in pure technology and technology based start-ups. Insist on a serious study and discussion of your customers’ credible alternatives.

Blueprint for a Competitive Analysis

When investigating the competition, especially for the first time, here’s what I want to know:

  • Categories or types of competitors, including “in-house” and “doing nothing”
  • Names of companies in each category
  • What does each provide, or appear to provide?
  • What are they saying to your customers or prospects?
  • How are they different?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do people actually think of them? What is the actual customer experience like? 
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are their brand identity elements and brand personality? (Do a survey of logos, colors, tag lines, websites, design elements, ad campaigns — anything you can find)
  • How do customers choose between your competitors and you?  
You may not have the resources or the need to answer these questions for every one of your competitors. But a good cross-section should include market leaders as well as new companies with potential due to new technologies, features or business plans.
 
The competition represents your industry’s past and the status quo. Your job — whether as an agency creative or company manager — is to figure out what will give you the edge going forward. If you don’t know what the competition is doing today, chances are you’ll end up offering more of the same. And that’s never a good strategy for winning. 

 

 

 

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About Barrett Rossie @barrettrossie

Marketing manager that specializes in developing strategic messages that set brands apart, and bring their competitive position, benefits and brand personality to life. Visit me at http://barrettrossie.com View all posts by Barrett Rossie @barrettrossie

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