Today, we're going to talk all about competition, or more specifically, how to perform a simple but highly effective competitive analysis.
All of our brand strategy begins with a competitive analysis so we can really understand how to position the brands that we're building. These tools are so important for anybody and everybody to use when building your brand.
Let's just address the elephant in the room.
There's a temptation to ignore competition and to move forward with blinders on. This is something that we sometimes hear from our clients, "I don't have any competition." But, we ALL have competition. It doesn't matter if you are so niche that you have a specific product or machine that only you use. Or maybe you are in a such a specific place in the industry working with a very narrow part of an industry. But there's always someone or some objection that would persuade your ideal client to go somewhere else.
Don't fall into the trap of believe you don't competition, because you're so specialized.
A competitive analysis is where you identify your competitors and perform specific research to show their strengths and weaknesses to help us refine, and define, our own.
How does a competitive analysis help your business?
Helps compare our services and offerings
Assess gaps in the market that we can fill
Analyze our product or service suite for areas of improvement
Develops our brand voice
Taking all these things into account helps us make better decisions in our businesses on our own.
How to perform a competitive analysis
1. Determine who your competitors are.
A lot of people in the industry talk about direct and indirect competition, but we offer a slightly different suggestion. First identify your direct competitors. These are people that are selling the same product, or they have similar services, and they're targeting a similar audience.
The second type of competitor that we like to look at our next level competitors. These are competitors that are doing things similar to what you do or the same thing that you're doing, but you would consider them "next level". They've mastered things that maybe you have not yet. They're performing in an optimal way.
2. Review their offerings.
Questions to ask:
What do they offer?
Do they have a service suite?
Do they have various tiers to work with them?
Do they have product packages?
How do they describe their services or products on their website?
Who's their audience?
What is their pricing?
3. Perform a marketing analysis.
Questions to ask:
Social Media Channels
What keywords or hashtags are they using?
How much are they posting?
What type of content are they posting?
What is their user engagement like?
What do their action items tell people to do?
What is their audience?
Education and Expertise
Most brands or businesses are going to give some content away to demonstrate their expertise, share value and get people engaged.
How do they share their expertise and educate their audience?
Do they have a blog?
Do they have a YouTube channel?
Do they have different courses or free workshops?
Do they have a podcast?
What are some of the ways that they are hooking into their audience and educating and sharing their expertise?
Do they have an email list?
What is their lead generator?
Have you signed up for their email list and what are their email sequences like?
4. Analyze their visual and brand strategy.
Are your competitors investing in staying modern and relevant?
Do they have a modern and relevant brand identity?
Does it appeal to their target audience?
Does their branding their visual their copy their messaging?
Does it show that they've invested in themselves?
Is it original?
Do they use stock photos?
Or do they use custom photos?
What keywords and phrases are they using on their website, articles or social channels? Are there specific labels or tags you see them consistently using?
How do use synthesize all that information?
Performing the analysis is the first step but you want to create actionable changes. This activity is meant to not only help you analyze other business but the goal is to help it hold mirror to your own business.
1. What are they doing well? What advantages do they have over your brand?
2. What are they not doing as well? Or what could they be doing better or improve upon?
Are there key differentiators and unique values and positioning? If you were to look at their brand and their business from an outside point of view, what are the things that make them unique ?
It's incredibly important here to remember that we're not just talking about a unique service that they offer, or a unique product that they have or a unique system that they use. We're looking for brand differentiators. We're looking brand values, their unique messaging, their brand story, or the way in which they share or their brand voice that set them apart. These key differentiators are what make a band!
3. Analyze the gaps.
Is there anything that you could see could be improved in the market or the industry that you would potentially be able to fill?
Is there a space that you can fill in a unique way that would bring awareness to your brand in a different manner?
Final step, How to use the competitive analysis for your brand development.
1. Use it develop your brand voice.
Developing your brand voice is about figuring out the way in which you want to speak, share about your products or service in a way that is unique to you. What you can do is think of a list of words, phrases and keywords that you do want to include when talking about your products or services and include that in all your brand messaging (website, marketing, scale media, articles etc..) This is beyond industry jargon. This is the personality and tone of your brand. Additionally, think about the things that you do not want to use after you've done that analysis. What are some of the things that you saw that are not you?
For example , Clare and I obviously a female led business and we're sisters and we come from five sisters and one brother so it wold be natural for us to use female-related jargon. But we are so disinterested in using anything that has to do with like boss babe, or fem-power or anything related to that. It isn't true to who we are as indivuadalys and hence who we are together as a brand.
2. Work to develop your unique value, your unique brand positioning or your UVP (unique value proposition).
After analyzing, turn to your own business. What are some of the things that you can include that set you apart from your competition that are uniquely you? Are there certain elements about your journey or professional experience? Do you offer something unique and specialized? Do you have a different approach?
Identify your unique value.
3. Audit your offerings, pricing and marketing.
What are some of the things that you could improve upon with your offerings or your products, your services?
Reiew you pricing structure.
How are you marketing? What are some of the ways that you can improve?
What are some of the ways that you can get connected with your audience on a deeper level?
What are some of the ways that you can educate better really analyzing and auditing for all of those things and then analyzing your visual strategy as well?
Do you notice that you need to step it up with your photos instead of using stock photos using custom ones?
Do you notice that you need to have a better email sequences?
Do you notice that you really need to stay relevant need to be connected with your audience through a podcast, a blog, a YouTube channel any of those ways?
I'm a fan of spreadsheets and charts so I would perform this analysis in a spreadsheet to then create actionable and tangible ways to improve my business and brand.