Do you really know your competitors like you think you do? Keeping the competition close is all about focusing your attention on the details of brands offering a similar line of products or services in the same target market. We’re not saying you should go full stalker status, but keeping a watchful eye on how other companies present their brands to the world, whether it be through their bottling design or social media presence, helps you get a good read on what is grabbing the attention of consumers.
You should also know that worrying your little heart about the competition is a waste of time and energy. Instead, focus your effort on being proactive by educating yourself on your rival’s products, brand identity, and how they draw people in. A healthy competitive rivalry can help your business reach its highest potential and boost your branding strategy.
Here are three key ways to stay close to the competition while maintaining a thriving brand:
Know Thy Business. Before you bury your head in research about a close rival, start from within. Have you done a thorough assessment of your branding strategy, inside and out? Think about the everyday needs your products and/or services meet and how people experience your brand. Also, point out the missing links that may be putting you at a disadvantage. Honesty is key. Once you fully analyze the important details about your own offerings, you will be better prepared to compare them with the competition and easily identify the similarities and differences.
Know Thy Competitor. What do we all do when we need the 411 on any and everything? We tap our bestie, Google. Use the tried and true search engine to lead you to everything you need to know about a company, starting with their website. There, you can get a clear idea of their brand aesthetic, product offerings, brand messaging, what kind of promotions they’re running, and what types of events they’re hosting to stay on their customer’s minds. The website may also lead you to their social media outlets, which is the cherry on top because you can see the type of content they release on the daily to engage their core customer base.
Innovate Thy Offerings. It’s time put the pedal to the metal and work on the improvements and innovations that will benefit you now and in the future. Handle immediate demands right away to show your customers you care about their needs. Then, take time to look at the needs ahead. For example, your package design may be too over the top for your target market and you’re constantly getting complaints about it. It’s smart to take a step back and evaluate how your look and voice is directly affecting growth, sales and your relationship with customers/potential customers. Embrace the evolution of your brand and make a plan to develop a new style that will bring forth a new wave of customer happiness. The magic is in thinking ahead and making mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more chances to learn and win.
Until today, you may have thought keeping up with the competition meant being a copycat. Now you know that it is simply an act of being aware of who’s running the race with you, resulting in the motivation to go harder. After all, the only other option is to go home.