Competitor analysis is a process that involves defining your competitors, gathering information about them, and using that information to supplement your own strategies for success.
A true competitor analysis definition is often distilled down into the early days of research completed before a brand launch. A quick scan over social media and websites. This type of “quick scan” approach means that many businesses simply aren’t getting the insights that a full competitor analysis can offer. Competitive research is completely legal; it’s simply collecting bits of information available in the public domain, from financial filings to reports compiled by governing bodies. You can also find articles written about companies in local newspapers or other sources like from the companies themselves. Nowadays, most of the information needed is out there.
The better way to approach a competitor analysis is to identify the biggest threats in your industries and understand how they are positioning their brand. Then and only then can you discover which spaces are left open for you to take advantage of.
Where do I start with Brand Competitor Analysis?
There are two ways to approach your competitor analysis definition.
Identify your top competitors.
Every company has those dreaded competitors; no matter what you do, they always seem to follow your lead, using your ideas and pouching potential customers. Whether you are a local, national, or international brand, there are probably groups of people in your company, most probably from sales and/or your marketing team, that can quickly rattle off your top competitor’s list as well as what differentiates them from you. You are competing with dozens if not hundreds of companies going after the same group of customers.
From your customer’s point of view.
Step into your customer’s shoes and look from their perspective to focus on who they’d consider and what their flaws and weaknesses are. We try and think as they would, planning out their path to purchase as they go. When you find a competitor’s brand that your customer might choose over you, look at what makes them shine over you, then you can align your brand’s message to make it more appealing to the same demographic.
From your competitor’s point of view.
Secondly, examining your competitor from the perspective of someone within that brand. This will help you to understand their identity, positioning, USP and brand as a whole. This might be the story behind their brand, their brand assets or the steps they have taken over the years to cement their brand positioning today.
How to conduct a Competitor Brand Analysis?
Who are your competitors?
To perform a competitor analysis, you have to know who your competitors are. If you first into a new category and don’t yet have any specific competitors. Who is the closest competitor option that your customers are currently considering? Are there any other brands or products that may feel similar in tone? Think about which other brands could pose a future threat in the future.
What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
A simple SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) breakdown of each brand starts to highlight. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your company—things that you have some control over and can change.
What are your competitors doing?
How are your competitors activating their brands? What kind of campaigns are they running in which channels? What language are they using? What obvious language are they avoiding? If you google your competitors, who do you find? Take a walk along your customers’ path to purchase. Who else do they come across on Truelocal or Facebook?
Finally, look inwards.
How do you – or could you – do things differently? What are your strengths when measured against your competitors? What is are your mean differentiator, and is it still unique when measured against your competitors.
What are the benefits of Competitor Analysis?
Get a view of the landscape in which your brand lives.
What else is out there? Who else do your customers turn to if they don’t choose you? This isn’t a one-and-done exercise, though. You need to keep an eye on the competitive landscape constantly.
Identity a new niche (or chasm)
The marketplace and wider world are constantly changing, and competitor analysis can highlight new areas to align your product or service to your customers wants or needs. This search for a breakthrough opportunity – or some competitive advantage – requires an understanding of customers and competitors.
Acquire new customers and keep the ones you have.
During a competitor analysis, you get time to think about acquisition and retention. For example, how are your competitors winning new customers or retaining them? What could you do to win customers from your competitors now you have this broad view of the competition?