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Your Competition Makes You Better

"Have we identified our competitors wisely, it may be an integral component of your brand position....

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Think about it — you know what your competitors really offer. You know, often better than the customers do (at the outset) what kind of service and product a new customer will receive from a business. “If we’ve identified our competitors wisely, we should know how our product meets their needs better than the competition,” Critical Branding Conversation: Audience Need. You know whether or not the customer will be happy with the outcome, and you know whether it will be a good experience or a bad experience. This leads us to two realities:

  1. photo credit: Alex Osterwalder

    How are you positioning your business and brand take advantage of what your competitors are doing (or not doing)?

  2. What do your competitors know about your business, and how could they use that to their advantage?

To start with the former, if your competitors advertise a product or service that isn’t really available, your reliability in counterpoint is critical to both understand and make a vital component of your advertising strategy.  If your competitor is great at talking a good game, but fails to follow through – that’s also should become an integral component of your advertising strategy (assuming that your business does follow-through that is.) The point here is to evaluate how your business can stand out from your competition, and then take steps to execute on that position.

The more sensitive question is the second — “what do your competitors know about your business, and how could they use that to their advantage?” This is more sensitive for the simple reason that it means we have to first acknowledge, and then address perceived shortcomings in our own business. Now that doesn’t mean that something they would criticize needs to be changed — it may be an integral component of your brand position and/or a conscious choice you’ve made about your business.  If it’s either of those — keep doing it! Just be aware of the criticism you may receive and take proactive steps to mitigate it. If instead, it’s sloppiness, or just an unfortunate series of events, take immediate steps to remedy the situation so that it cannot happen again in the future – and be diligent about not backsliding into the future.

Let me give you an example of how to position a conscious choice you’ve made for your business. Say your competitors would say you’re S-L-O-W. But you know that your pride yourself on thoroughness. In this case two things have to happen – in the public/advertising sphere, you can position your company as the “professional” solution or the “complete” solution, generally the business in town that will go the extra mile to make sure everything is done the way it needs to be. Secondarily, when you start work, you need to set a realistic expectation with your customer on how long it will take.  Those two tricks, used consistently will disarm your competition’s criticism and at the same time will build your brand up in the marketplace.

Use the information you have about your competitors and that they have about you, to create a strong brand in your marketplace and to disarm the naysayers.


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Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

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