When it comes to plotting your way to success, there are certain things you must know. Rushing into a sector and not doing the necessary homework can be incredibly detrimental in the long run, and that’s why competitor knowledge is so important for your brand marketing.
Collecting data can be time-consuming and often challenging, but we can’t stress its importance enough. Think of it as if you’re going into a boxing match, would you go in blind or do your homework? Research your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses? We all know the answer. For the same reasons, don’t make excuses if you cut corners in business and can’t compete with your rivals. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Finding your competitors 🔍
When it comes to finding your competitors, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. The beauty of the process is that once you have conducted your first competitor analysis, you then have the blueprint for any future research. The key to starting your analysis is understanding the difference between direct and indirect competitors.
Direct competition ⚔️
Direct competitors are businesses that sell the same products or services as you. They will often be the companies that your potential customers will debate between before deciding whether to purchase.
Indirect competition 🏁
As you would imagine, indirect competition still rivals your business; however, they solve the potential customer’s problem differently but still compete with you for their attention. For example, Starbucks has an indirect competitor in McDonald’s but a direct competitor in Costa.
Finding your competitors 🤔
So, now you know the different types of competitors you should be aware of, you may be thinking: ‘How do I find my competitors?’ Well, locating those fighting for your potential customers isn’t too tricky. That is if you know where to look and who you are hoping to find.
Finding your direct competitors. There are three key ways of finding those who are directly aiming to fight for your potential customers.
Market research 🛒
It may seem archaic to some, but market research is just as valuable now as it has ever been, if not a little more. If you are supplying a physical product, look at the shelves in the local supermarket. Check who is competing for the prime positions and which products you think rival your own.
With physical products, it’s a lot easier to pick up all that helpful information. How does the product look and feel? Does it stand out, and if so, why? Once you come away from the store, look into the online brand marketing efforts of that product; soon, you’ll know more than enough to compete.
Online communities 💻
It’s easy to overlook the online reception a product receives, luckily you have lots of brilliant sources of feedback at the click of a button. Whether you look at the reviews for the product or the way it’s spoken about in online forums and communities. This information is valuable as you will know what people expect from a product in your sector and how you can be better!
Customer feedback 🗣️
Old fashioned? Yes. Important? Vital! When a customer chooses your business, the likelihood is that they will have debated going with someone else before they clicked checkout.
If you can, ask them about the other companies they considered. Incentivise your sales team to ask bout other companies within the sales process. It shows the customer that you value their opinion and are willing to learn and grow as a company yourself.
Finding your indirect competitors can significantly affect your sales process more than your direct competition; this is due to them being heavily involved in the earliest part of your customers buying process. They are creating content that rivals yours, you need to know who they are and the moves they are making in order to stay ahead.
Google search page 🔎
Who comes up when you search for your specific keywords? Have you ever been confused by why a random coffee shop shows up on google search for your restaurant’s Adwords? Well, that’s just clever brand marketing. They broaden the limits of what people are looking for and attempt to offer them an alternative to sway the scales in their favour.
Keyword research 💬
Conducting keyword research is essential for any business. Whether you are selling ice cream or you’re a mobile valet, if you’re looking to compete online, you need to know what you’re competing for and with who.
If you are currently using an SEO tool to help optimise your website, the application should have in-depth information that you can harness. This information will guide you towards the competitive keywords and the low-hanging fruit and highlight who your competition is in the battle for each.
Know your competitors 👋
Well, when it comes to completing a competitor analysis, there are countless advantages for your business. As a creative agency, we advise conducting your research alongside building your brand marketing strategies. Sooner rather than later is very much relevant in this scenario.
Here are some of the benefits your business can experience if you put in the legwork:
Your gap in the market 🎯
If you haven’t realised it already, entrepreneurs will get in where water can’t. The best ones find gaps in the market like it was an instinct they were born with, a superpower almost. However, you can significantly increase your chances of finding the gaps by knowing who the competition is in specific sectors.
We operate in the age of independence. Standing out is the new fitting in. If you don’t know who your competition is, how will you stand out? The simple answer is, you won’t.
Overlooking competitor analysis is a common error made by start-up businesses. By skipping this part of the planning, companies create a product that disappears on the shelves and is forgotten online.
Right from wrong ✅ ❎
The true beauty of competitor analysis is that it allows you to paint a picture of what the best business in your sector look like. From branding to the standard of their products and services. You can take all the great things from your competitors and amalgamate them into your vision. Whilst cutting out what you think doesn’t work, getting rid of all the rubbish bits.
Help your creative agency 🤝
As a creative agency, we make it our mission to know as much as possible about all the sectors we work in. Going into a design project blindfolded is one of the worst moves in the creative sector. Knowledge is power around here for several reasons. That’s why you need to know exactly what you’re up against before we start building your dream.
We also conduct market research of our own before beginning the design processes, but of course, no one knows your business as well as you do. Any extra knowledge and information you can provide can mean an increased amount of sector awareness, and in turn, a better product, brand or website.
As designers, the information we can pick up from your competitor analysis includes:
Colours to avoid 🌈
As you’ve always been told, red and green should never be seen. But maybe that’s not the case in your sector; perhaps your competitors all revolve around these colours because they inherently define your sector? Could your brand marketing benefit from colour matching or should you go against the grain, it all depends.
Visuals to avoid 🙅♀️
Has one of your competitors caused a stir when they entered the sector with snappy branding? Is their visual branding immediately recognisable? If it is, this style is something you should probably avoid. You don’t want to disappear within someone else’s branding.
Doing it better 🥇
Knowing what works in your sector is invaluable knowledge. As a creative agency, we see what’s working and immediately think about how we can help you improve within your brand marketing.
Improving something that already exists is a common business practice, regardless of the sector in which you operate.
Think about how Monster energy added incredible graphics to a simplistic energy drink sector. Recreation exists across the board, so don’t be scared of weighing up your competitors and knocking their work out of the park.
Take a look at some more of our blogs for helpful tips, tricks and advice: