Your brand defines who you are and how you set yourself apart from your competitors. and it’s always good practice to know where you stand among other brand contenders. When it comes to creating a truly authentic brand, maintaining a competitive edge should always be the goal as this is what keeps you maintain your market share and position.
So how do you stay on the cutting edge of things? PivotPath can show you how to monitor the attributes and actions that make up your industry’s competitive landscape so you can identify the opportunities and improve your brand identity and image. If you are looking into doing rebranding or repositioning your brand, this checklist will be a great start.
First things first. You need to build a strategy that will ensure you are effectively tracking your competition on a regular basis. Competitive analysis entails a more structured way of keeping tabs on competitors compared to just monitoring them on social media. Having this process in place helps you stay updated and get a more in-depth understanding of your industry’s key players.
In this post, we will share a checklist of some strategies to further your understanding of brand competitors, and how to maintain your foothold in the market.
Start by compartmentalizing your competitors and similar brands into two types:
- Direct competitors – companies offering the same service or products in the same geographical area with the same target audience, fulfilling the same market need.
- Indirect competitors – companies offering the same service or products in the same geographical area but with a different target market or fulfilling a different market need.
Categorize and Organize
Make a list of at least 5 -10 direct and indirect competitors and enter them into a spreadsheet.
If you haven’t identified your competitors yet, then you can find them on search engines like Google or use tools such as SEMRush (free) or Ahrefs (paid). These tools provide a lot of insights as you go deep into your competitor research.
Once you have them laid out on the spreadsheet, add the basic detailed company profile information such as:
- Annual revenue
- Products and services offered
- Number of offices and locations
- Number of employees
- Homepage / Website
- Social media accounts
- Featured products
- Price and product range
- Selling point
- Target market
- Email marketing tactics
- PPC campaigns
- Special offers and discounts
- Google and Yelp Reviews
- Other significant attributes that you think are significant to you.
Going through each of your identified competitors’ profiles allows you to step into your target market shoes and go through a customer journey. Take it further by subscribing to their newsletters and weekly blogs or webinars; be a part of their marketing circle so that you can gauge and compare how you fare versus your competition.
Experiencing the competition by creating a database of their information will give you a lot of insight from a customer and a competitor’s perspective and soon enough you will know each one like the back of your hand.
Check market positioning
The best way to do this is to run website metrics and diagnostics with free tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush or if you have the budget, Ahrefs, Buzzsumo or Moz. These online tools will work their magic, providing a drill-down of where your brand is in terms of online presence, social media engagement, active users, sales, the locations of users/clients and the like.
You can run weekly metrics and track your progress; at the same time, make the necessary adjustments you need to keep up (Paid Ad campaigns, social media engagement, SEO optimization, etc.).
Doing keyword research is also one of the best ways on how to determine where you stand among the competition. You can keyword research using Google Search Console, Ubersuggest, MOZ keyword explorer, Ahrefs, SEMRush, and more tools here.
On a less technical side, you can go back to basics and make a list of all your brand strengths and weaknesses. Be objective when you do this, and make a consumer’s point of view when doing this. After that, create a list of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and compare notes. You will be surprised at how much you will learn if you do this process objectively.
Google and Yelp reviews are also one of the best ways to understand your competition and a great opportunity to outdo them when it comes to customer engagements. Check their reviews and determine where the clients are from, and what products or services get most reviews.
You may also want to take a look at the number of reviews, and how responsive they are to their audience. Gauging customer experience through these reviews gives you the chance to look within your business and makes steps on how to improve. Doing this helps motivate you to optimize your business listings to be at par with the competition.
Data without action is a futile exercise. Having spent so much time collecting data and putting a plan or strategy into action will keep you from being blind-sided by your competitors. Once you have run a comparison between your product and your competitor, formulate a strategy based on your findings, and execute your plans, after which you can monitor and re-adjust as needed.
Don’t have the time to collect competitor data? PivotPath can help you do your competitive brand analysis. Click here to get started.