Insights

Competitive
research

Let’s take a fresh look at every other brand making similar claims or selling similar offerings. 

WE NEED TO KNOW WHO YOU’RE UP AGAINST

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a mature B2B market leader, a highly collaborative not-for-profit, or a tiny tech startup creating a new category. Your brand does not live in a vacuum.

Other brands are actively competing with you, fighting for the attention of your target audiences. At any time, members of those audiences can switch their attention, money, or loyalty to someone else. It’s that simple.

That’s why competition is always on our radar. Developing a brand strategy or action plan without deep knowledge of and respect for the competition is a waste of everyone’s time.

Analysis beyond market share

You may have already identified a short list of competitors: those brands you deem to be most similar to yours; one or two brands seen as benchmarks in your sector; and maybe a few scrappy brands that chase the low end of your market.

You know what all these competitors have to offer and how well they’re doing, so what else is there to know?

Plenty. Have you been tracking their messaging, looking for shifts over time? Monitoring changes in their communications channels or style? Counting mentions in the media? Taking note of what works for them in social media? 

And what about the brands that aren't on your short list? Perhaps you should consider the many indirect competitors, which offer something similar or borderline-relevant, but not nearly as good or on target. Then there are the “noise brands”—those that simply distract or misdirect your target audiences, sapping away their attention, and thereby whittling away at your opportunities.

Are we Darwinian in our approach?

You bet, but we’re not so glib as to confuse the process of natural selection with the process of crafting brand success. Natural selection is a long, slow process based on lots of tiny accidents and random events. It’s a beautiful and powerful process, but none of us have time for that.

Our job is to speed and skew the selection process—in your favor—by helping you appreciate the evolving brand dynamics at play in your market so we can refine your position.