24 Aug 2016by webdev

What Can You Learn About Branding From Your Competitors?

Elite athletes analyse their competition before meeting them head on. They do this to see what strengths they could emulate, and what weaknesses they might exploit. As well as to understand how to position themselves so that they can maximise their competitive advantage. When it comes to business, there’s little difference. It’s worth checking out your competitors to help recognise how you can improve your brand and position in the market.

Photo of competitors in a relay race runners

Seek the strategy

The purpose of reviewing your competition is not to blindly copy what they do, but to understand why they do what they do. It’s the strategy you are seeking.

Examining their branding can help you determine what works, what doesn’t and what you can do better. You can learn a lot from others’ mistakes. You can also model what they have done well.

This type of deduction can lead to new opportunities, markets, products and services, as well as sharpening your own branding.

What should you look for?

Consider their branding (and if you’d like to know about what we mean by branding, check out our post Branding Myths Busted). Is it consistent and recognisable? What’s their message? Is it on target? How and where do they connect with clients? How about colours and logos?

Do they stand out from the crowd? If so, what distinguishes them? Conversely, what doesn’t?

Are there specific competitive advantages and disadvantages? How do they compare to your business? Where are they active?

Don’t just look at those who have forged the way. Remember to stop and look for those who may be sneaking up behind you.

Where to find the information

In this information age, you can find out a lot just by letting your fingers do the walking. Below are a few suggestions to start your search:
•    Online presence – sign up for newsletters
•    Social media accounts – follow them on social media
•    Annual reports
•    Public reviews
•    Make an enquiry, or a purchase (if reasonable) to test their customer service
•    Use competitor research services such as SEMrush, Alexa or Quantcast.

Dig deeper

Don’t take what you find on face value. Appearances can be deceptive so always dig a little deeper to see if the reality lives up to the hype.

What to do with the information

Once you have compiled the information, you can sort it using a simple SWOT analysis. You should also prepare one on your own business. A self-evaluation, in other words.

This strategic planning tool can identify connections between the four areas – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats – that you have not previously noticed.

It is a useful marketing activity, which can be carried out annually.

Remain true to yourself

While there’s much you can learn about the market by analysing your competition, at the end of the day you need to remain true to yourself. Sometimes what works for another, won’t necessarily work for you. Use the information you find judiciously and remember to run your own race.

“Be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy.” Unknown

If you’d like to know more about how to find your competitive advantage, get in touch with the team at Ideaseed. We can help you analyse your market.

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