Now that you have your lists of both direct and indirect competitors, it’s time to begin the competitive analysis.
Step 1: Basic Information:
Start with the easy stuff.
This will help to organize and develop some comparison points between your competitors.
- This basic data should include:
- What products or services they offer.
- Their revenue and financial reports, if publicly available.
- How many clients or repetitive customers they have.
- How many offices or stores they have and their locations.
- What geographic areas they operate in.
- How many employees they have and any valuable information about executives and upper management.
- The history of the company and any significant milestones.
- What websites and social media channels they own.
Step 2: Brand Purpose, Vision, Mission, and Values:
Just like you’ve defined for your brand earlier, you will want to learn the brand purpose, brand vision, brand mission, and brand values of your competitors.
This information will be valuable when determining the best way to differentiate and position your brand in the marketplace.
Step 3: Visual Identity:
You will want to perform a complete audit of your competition’s visual identity.
This should include their logo, colors palettes, typography, imagery, iconography, and website design.
Some questions you should ask yourself are:
Do you like their logo?
Does their logo represent what they do?
What emotions do you feel from their brand colors?
Does their typography trigger a response?
Does their imagery match their brands look and feel?
How is their visual identity better than yours?
How is your visual identity better than theirs?
Does their website provide a pleasurable visual experience?
Step 4: Messaging:
Take a look at how your competition speaks to their customers.
This is not just in verbal communications, but in all of their messaging. By analyzing their voice, mission statement, slogans, and taglines you will begin to get a good understanding about how they see themselves and what they are trying to accomplish.
You should review their website copy, social media content, marketing campaigns, emails, packaging text, and physical materials such as brochures and flyers.
A few question to consider are:
- What does their tagline or slogan say to the consumer?
- What is the main heading and opening copy on their homepage?
- When they speak to the consumer, what type of language is used?
- How do they talk about their products and services?
- What features do they emphasize?
- Who are the people they are talking to?
- What are their Key selling points?
- Do they compare themselves to the competition?
Step 5: Pricing:
Analyze and document the pricing structure of the competition’s products or services.
Then match those up with comparable products or services that you offer.
If they are similar in quality and features, you can then assess whether or not your product is fairly priced.
Step 6: Recruitment & Job Openings
Your competitors careers page will provide great insights into their company. You can make some educated guesses based on what they are posting.
For example, if they are looking for new designers and developers, they probably have a big project or product expansion on the horizon.
Also, if there seems to be a lot of recent job openings it could indicate there are troubles within the company, and employees are leaving.
This is something you may be able to take advantage of by recruiting their top talent.
Step 7: Website Content:
A lot of valuable information can be collected from a competitor’s website.
Begin by taking a look at the website structure.
- Is their website easy to navigate?
- What are they emphasizing?
- What content are they presenting to the visitor?
- Do they have a blog, and how often are they posting?
- Where does their website fail the visitor?
- How can it be better?
Next take a look at the design, technology and how the website functions.
- Are they staying on top of the latest trends?
- Is the website visual pleasing?
- Is it responsive and does it work on multiple mobile devices?
- Does it load fast?
- Are there any errors or broken links?
Step 8: Social Media
There’s no better source to determine what your competition is doing and how well they are performing than social media.
By reviewing all their channels you will not gain insight into how your competition uses social media, but also how people perceive them.
Begin by finding what platforms they use, and then see who they are talking to and how they interact with them.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself while reviewing their channels:
- What platforms are working best for them?
- How many followers do they have?
- How often do they post?
- Are their posts engaging?
- What kind of language do they use?
- Are people commenting on their posts?
- Are the comments positive or negative?
- Who is the demographic that follows and comments?
- Do their graphical posts remain on-brand?
- Is their messaging consistent?
- What type of content is working?
So now that you have collected all this valuable data and in depth information about your competitors, don’t let it go to waste.
How you use this information is dependent on your specific company’s goals.
For example, you may have a major competitor that you would like to beat. If so, put them at the top of your priority list and focus on how you can become number 1.
Perhaps you are just starting out and you are looking to position yourself differently than the competition so you stand out as unique.
Or maybe after identifying your competition, you simply want to develop better marketing strategies so you can outperform them.
Whatever your reason is, the ultimate goal is to put all this research to good use.
To continue your training, please be sure to download the FREE Brand Builder Toolbox and complete the Action Guide.