Welcome back to our series on Branding. Before we can get on to the good stuff (Visual Branding), there is one more thing that we here at Platinum 99 believe to be quite an important step and that is Strategic Branding – Knowing WHO your Competitors Are. We call it our Competition Audit.
Brandwatch.com has a definition of what a ‘Competitive Analysis’ is:
“The process of categorising and evaluating your competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your own.”
The reason this is so important is that it helps you to better understand your competitors which, in turn, highlights your owns strengths and weaknesses. Once you understand what these strengths and weaknesses are, and with the effective change, this process ultimately gives you a better chance at beating out your competition.
Depending on the nature of your business, time in operation and stages of success, a successful audit can be as simple as:
- What you like and do not like about your competitor?
- What is and is not visually appealing to you?
- What are they really good at and what could be improved on?
- How do their products/services compare to your own?
Or perhaps your company could benefit from a more detailed audit that may include:
- Pricing per measurement
- Materials sourced and used
- Turn-a-round time
And like with anything really, the more you put into your research, the more comprehensive your analysis will be and the more effective your changes and outcomes.
Where Do We Begin?
- Google It! Why not? It is what we are all doing nowadays and probably hands down the first thing we all thought of. And if you are in the middle of a Google Search, pay attention to the Search Engine Ads, they are always analysing our searches and offering similar products and services for us to check out whether we like it or not!
- Social Media Pages/Groups/Forums
- Publications/Magazines specific to your trade
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Local Networking Groups
What Are We Looking For?
So, how do you identify who your competition is? Most of us already have a mental list of who our competitors are and these businesses are more likely than not going to be what we would call a ‘Direct Competitor’. Direct Competitors are companies trading in the same area as you and offering the same products/services as well as targeting the same audience as your business does.
However, there are two more types of businesses that we should consider in our Competition Audit. The first being the ‘In-Direct Competitor’. These companies will often sell a similar product/service to you but will differ in their clientele or they will market their product/service to a different need or purpose than what you do.
This last business type we should be aware of for our audit purposes is known as the ‘Tertiary Competitor’. This describes a company that may sell a somewhat similar product to your own and may advertise on more obscure platforms. So, why include these guys in your audit?
Well, we include our In-Direct and Tertiary competitors in our research because, like you, if these companies are any good at what they do, with enough research of their own or even just the idea of wanting to expand, at any given moment, these companies can become one of your biggest Direct Competitors! It is better you keep an eye on them and remain 1 step ahead at all times!
What to Include in Your Competition Audit
Let’s get started! To get you on your auditing way here are some easy to ways to access information on your competitors:
- Website – what’s on their homepage, do they use a particular slogan or tag line, is it easy to use?
- What products/services are they selling – how do they differ from yours if any?
- Is your pricing competitive – check out any advertising or specials/promotions
- How many offices do they have and in what locations – this will give you some idea on how successful they have been in the past
- What message are they trying to get across:
- who do you think is their target audience?
- what needs are they trying to meet?
- what type of language do they use?
- Check out their testimonials – any areas you can improve on yourself?
- What social media platforms do they use and how do they use them?
Once you have enough information on your competitors, compare your findings to that of your own business and its operations. And if you can, when doing this, remember to analyse your company from the perspective of your own target audience. Let us know how you went. Did anything surprise you, was there an ‘a-ha’ moment while conducting your research? Was there something new you discovered about yourself or changes you might try to implement?
If you would like a copy of our Platinum 99 Competition Audit Workbook, please email us at [email protected] and we will only be too happy to share with you.
Over the next coming weeks, we will be offering some advice on ways to help brand your business through Visual Strategies such as Logos, Websites and Social Media. If you would like to get in contact with us, please do so using the above email – our consultations are always free.
Thanks for reading!
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