No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to have a firm grasp on where you stand in the marketplace in relation to your competition. To “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” sounds a little harsh — we’ll admit it. But there’s something to be said for knowing who your rivals are and what they’re up to. By understanding your industry’s biggest players on a granular level, you can effectively position your brand as the go-to solution for consumers.
Here, we’re breaking down the value in conducting a competitive landscape analysis — and one of the easiest ways to do it.
A competitive landscape analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating your competitors to gain insights that enhance your own business, product, or digital strategy. Ideally, this tactic leaves no stone unturned; it takes rivals’ visual identities, positioning techniques, tone of voice, web design, and product offerings into account. A thorough analysis of these findings can illuminate the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities that exist within the market. More importantly, it can empower you to leverage this data to work to your advantage.
As you embark on the research phase of this analysis, start by determining what your competitors are doing right. For example, maybe their email marketing campaigns capture the brand’s personality exceptionally well. Or, perhaps their website is easily navigable thanks to well-planned information architecture. Consider the areas in which your competitors excel, and assess the strategies they’re using for success. What can you apply to your own business blueprint? Implementing the strategies that work for your competitors can help you level the playing field. Just remember not to lose sight of who you are; your authenticity will always be one of your greatest differentiating factors.
Just as a competitive landscape analysis gives you a glimpse into what works, it also provides some insight into what doesn’t. Intimately understanding your competition means being aware of the vulnerabilities, mistakes, and limitations that plague them. Where have your rivals fallen short? Do they struggle with product usability issues? How about a weak social media presence? By learning from their drawbacks, you can better market to your target audience — and save a whole lot of time and resources in the process.
Herein lies one of the biggest areas for differentiation. As you begin to digest the findings of your competitive landscape analysis, you’ll likely find yourself swimming in insights regarding what your rivals are doing out there in the world. But have you considered what they’re not doing? Reading between the lines and identifying the biggest gaps in the market can not only help you out-perform the competition, but also create a clear line of distinction. What color palettes, positioning elements, and tones of voice feel underrepresented within your product category? By pinpointing the opportunities where your brand can stand out, you can position yourself with a unique core identity that cuts through the noise.
As far as brand strategy goes, conducting a competitive landscape analysis is an offensive move as much as it is a defensive one. Taking a proactive approach to identifying possible threats, hazards, and road blockers, for example, can ensure that you’re leading the charge versus falling behind. Has a new player entered the marketplace? What about a new product? Is it priced competitively? How does it perform in comparison to your own? As you evaluate your research findings, consider how your own brand’s weaknesses might be intensified by these risks. Startled by the mere thought? Don’t panic. Recognizing the factors that have the potential to hinder your business is the best way to overcome them if and when they do.
However you decide to approach your competitive landscape analysis, one thing is for certain: the market — no matter your industry — is always evolving. To stay ahead of the competition, check in with them regularly. By incorporating the results of your research findings into your ongoing business strategy, you can stay well-positioned at the front of the pack.
If you’re interested in conducting a competitive landscape analysis as part of your broader strategy, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to chat with you.