Brands are only as strong as their relative position in the marketplace. This is precisely why brands spend so much time and energy measuring brand metrics, ordering product assessments, and completing competitive assessments. The true value of competitive assessments comes from brands being able to identify their strengths and weaknesses as they compare to relevant industry competitors.
Today, we will seek to understand the true value of competitive assessments by defining competitive assessments, listing some of the key benefits of brand positioning research, and how brands can use this information to improve the strength of their market position moving forward.
What are Competitive Assessments for Businesses?
Competitive assessments, sometimes also referred to as competitive analysis, are ways to understand your competition within a certain industry and/or market. Competitive assessments are all about answering questions about the current and future state of the market. Commonly answered questions that result from competitive analysis include:
- What brands represent competition?
- What products and/or services are being offered by competitive brands?
- What market share is held by each competitor? What market share is held by my brand?
- What are my competition’s strengths?
- What are my competition’s weaknesses?
- Where are my competitors beating my brand?
- Where are competitors losing to my brand?
- Do these competitive brands pose a threat to my business?
Needless to say, this list of questions could go on much longer as needed. The basic idea here is to perform a deep dive analysis into the relative similarities differences, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities posed by competitive brands. When properly used, competitive assessments are an integral part of any brand positioning research effort.
Benefits of Competitive Brand Assessments
Now that we understand the basic principles of competitive assessments, what are the finite benefits found therein? While this list could easily go on for dozens of items, we believe that there are three primary benefits of competitive brand assessments, including:
Identifying your true competitors
Let’s say you represent a European luxury car company with retail presence all over the globe. Your high end convertibles have experienced a downturn in sales over the past few years, and a competitive brand assessment has been ordered to determine why. Cutting edge brand analysis will focus on the brands and products who are directly competing with your convertible line of vehicles.
Are you losing sales to pre-owned SUVs at mid-tier price ranges? Probably not. Could you be losing sales to newly introduced luxury electric vehicles with retractable roofs? Competitive brand assessments can answer that question and more.
Identifying market opportunities and threats
Of course competitive analyses do not occur in a vacuum. Identifying opportunities and threats involves a deep dive into not only your competition, but how your brand and your competition are positioned to handle upcoming industry shifts. Let’s continue with the example above. As government regulations and customer demands shift towards fuel economy/electric cars, is your line of luxury vehicles able to meet these demands?
This is a great example of understanding a potential threat (lagging behind in terms of fuel economy) and turning it into a potential opportunity (developing economical luxury vehicles which exceed customer expectations). Competitive assessments aren’t just about apples to apples comparisons with competitors, they are about painting a complete picture of your brand’s position in the market.
Understanding what makes your brand strong or weak relative to the competition
Adjacent to opportunities and threats are brand strengths and weaknesses. Identifying brand weakness is a key component of any competitive analysis. Modern consumers are more savvy than ever with ample knowledge and resources to make well-informed decisions. Simply being the de facto choice for a particular product or service no longer carries the weight it once did. When customers are doing their research and finding your brand lacking, sales will suffer. The ability to determine brand weaknesses and turning them into strengths is one of the biggest benefits of competitive assessments.
Turning Competitive Analysis into Action
As with any market research, the best competitive analyses on the planet will not help your brand to grow without a plan of action. Competitive assessments are tools to understand how your brand stacks up to the competition. They provide a framework upon which brands can form more effective products, marketing campaigns, and brand strategies moving forward. Perhaps the biggest reason why once successful brands fail to grow is their inability to effectively balance brand consistency and brand adaptability.
Competitive analyses gives companies the answers to many of these questions. Lagging behind in overall impressions but excelling in brand favorability? That might mean your branding materials are strong but are not reaching your customers. SEO optimization and social media marketing might help. This is just one example of the virtually limitless ways in which brands can improve their market position through achieving a greater understanding of the competition.
Clock Tower Insight Brand Positioning Services
Clock Tower Insight helps our clients to build their brands through any means necessary. We believe in using cutting edge research to deliver unparalleled insight and understanding into today’s rapidly changing marketplace. With over 15 years of dedicated experience, our marketing insight has helped organizations including Belle Tire, Nielsen, Orbitz, and Kraft Foods.
We are proud to offer a number of services to our clients, including customer experience management, brand positioning in the marketplace, market sizing, market testing, and more.