Going for the Gold with Competitive Intelligence

competitive insights

No one probably comprehends both the depths and heights of competition more than Shaun White. Many people are aware of his heights as a three-time Olympic gold medalist and record holder for the most X Games gold medals, as well as 10 ESPY Awards.

What most people aren’t aware of is that White was born with a congenital heart defect and had two open-heart surgeries before he even got to celebrate his first birthday.

Many marketers plan their strategies and place their ad buys with little if any, consideration of what their competitors are doing. Some may hit a home run or two while others may wonder why their strategy didn’t succeed.

Here’s where a competitive assessment can be invaluable.

A competitor positioning assessment can help brands lay claim to their uniqueness. Even more profound is an emerging subset of marketing called neuromarketing. It uses neuroscience to discern the preferences, motivations, and decisions of consumers to brands and advertising. Both offer profound observations for marketers to consider.

In neuromarketing, consumers who hear or see similar marketing claims by more than one brand can get confused. For brands, this sometimes leads to price wars or longer sales cycles. For consumers, it can mean no decision at all.

The quickest and easiest way to assess a competitor’s positioning statement is by visiting their website and social platforms. Good ones are brief and express a benefit that meets a need or solves a problem. It should be consistently displayed on other platforms as well.

Analyze competitors’ other elements like the “about us,” their product and solutions pages for repetition and consistency. Dig deeper. Assess their communications like invitations to webinars and blogs, brochures, banner ads, emails, and press releases.

Map the findings of each competitor’s position onto a worksheet and analyze it. Do some competitors duplicate one another? Do any have more than one position? Brands that publish varying positions or two or more of equal value create confusion for consumers.

Next, gather everyone within the company that has responsibility in the brand, sales, and marketing. Agree on a unique position and know that most experts say it takes at least a year and a half to claim a unique position. From there, consistently publicize the brand’s unique position to every target audience in all communications and on all websites and social media platforms. That’s not the end.

At the same time, monitor competitor sites at least once a month. Check to see if any have changed positions. Has any copied the brands? If so, don’t change just yet, maintain consistency in promoting the brand’s benefits again and again.

Competitors that change positions frequently often shotgun an array of benefits and will likely change their position again soon. Monitor competitor positioning regularly because it’s the foundation of intelligence gathering. It should be considered more than a chore. Besides confirming that the brand’s position is unique, monitoring can provide invaluable insight and position it to take home the gold.

White’s take on competition comes down to what he calls a strategy game which, when successful, works out “like solving that math equation, you finally get the answer and you’re so happy.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

View more posts from this author