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