last week we started to look at phase one of developing your brand strategy. We took a look at the different elements of a brand strategy and headed off on our journey of 'discovery'. This week we are going to be looking at another vital piece of the puzzle... market research and competitor analysis.
market research and competitor analysis
To help you appropriately identify and position yourself, you need to understand where you stand in the marketplace and in relation to your competitors. Doing so better enables you to carve out a niche for your brand—and do something original that will connect with your current and future customers.
exercise one - market research
Identify how big the market is, what the opportunities are, and how these things are changing and expected to change over time.
Some high-level information and insights can be found online for free, such as industry associations, trade publications, and major research organizations. But many of the gold nuggets of insight come from thoughtfully structuring your own research, from informal user/audience polls to more scientific survey design.
It’s most important to take the time up front to hone in on the specific questions you want to answer about your market. But don’t get overwhelmed by focusing on the entire industry. Just focus on your Total Addressable Market (TAM).
exercise two - competitor analysis
Identify who the other players in your market are, and how they are similar or different from you. Focus on surveying brands you currently compete with and brands you aspire to compete with.
Competitor analysis tends to be a lengthier process to work through, but it’s worth the time spent. As you research the competition, notice how they present themselves, how they talk about their products and services. What do you perceive to be their strengths? Their weaknesses? Put yourself into the mind of one of your potential customers. What might lead them to choose you over a competitor of yours, and vice versa? It’s very eye-opening stuff.
Grab a whiteboard and plot your competitive set on perpendicular spectra in a Cartesian chart. Whiteboard a few different ways to plot them (axes can include polarities like traditional vs. contemporary, people-focused vs. automated/scalable, niche vs. comprehensive, etc). Example:
Even if you don’t readily see how your brand differentiates on the grid, it’s valuable in itself to see where the “white space” is, or where none of your competitors currently play. Remember: This is the whole exercise of brand strategy—defining or redefining how your brand will differentiate going forward.
Depending on your size and your budget, you may want to hire an agency to do this work for you. If you are a smaller and/or newer brand, you may have to do this work yourself. Even If you are able and willing to pay someone else to lead this work on your behalf, you should still remain highly involved.
Now we have developed a good understanding of the market place and the competition we will move on to persona development and the perception of your brand.
If you would like to discuss your company's brand strategy with our talented team, do not hesitate to get in touch.