Competitive analyses are beneficial in every aspect of entrepreneurial activity. Information about products, positioning, strategy, and appearance of competitors show on the one hand what works well, but on the other hand also what kind of gaps exist in the market.
Thus, a well-worked competitive analysis provides the foundation for product or service portfolio, as well as positioning on price, quality, and communication level. The primary step always needs to be one question: “what do I want to find out?” After that, the method will derive from the initial consideration.
There are various strategies and methods that can be pursued in a competitive analysis.
- SWOT analysis TOWS analysis: In the SWOT analysis, internal strengths, and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats are simply listed/presented and converted into a matrix.
From the SWOT analysis, strategies can be quickly derived on how to position oneself against based on the SWOT analysis: build on strengths, exploit opportunities, minimize weaknesses, and prevent threats. This strategy elaboration is called TOWS matrix.
- Porter’s 5 Forces: In the competitive environment, there are several factors that have an influence on entrepreneurial actions. Porter’s 5 Forces covers and examines the most important areas: Negotiation position and strength of customers and suppliers, threats from market entries and substitute products or services, which altogether define rivalry and competition. Derived from this, a coherent competitive picture can be presented, which also includes factors other than direct competitors.
3) Analysis of Strategic Groups / Cluster Analysis: In the analysis of strategic groups, so-called clusters are developed, which are defined based on similar strategies in the competitive environment. By identifying and analyzing clusters, it is possible to quickly identify what the most important factors in the competitive environment are and how the competition moves within these parameters.
- BCG Matrix: By using the BCG matrix a company can compare itself with the competition based on two factors: Relative market share as the X-axis and overall market attractiveness/size as the Y-axis. Depending on the classification, a product, service, or company can be classified as a Rising Star (high, high), Cash Cow (high, low), Question Mark (low, high) or Poor Dog (low, low). From this, both the potential can be defined and recommendations for actions are developed.
Objectives of the competitive analysis can be considered in a very differentiated way. Depending on the objective, the following topics can be included and achieved:
– Identify Unique Value/Selling Proposition (USP/UVP) Unique Selling Propositions
– Product development through consumer insights from competitors (netnographic research)
– Identifying benchmarks and measurable growth values
– Discover market segments and niches that look promising
– Anticipate competitor strategies to be one step ahead of the competition
– Identify strategic brand developments
– Positioning of own assets in the competitive environment
– Benchmark for own competitiveness
When should a competitor analysis be conducted? Generally, a company should always know what its competitors are doing in order to position itself well for the future. Often this is forgotten in prosperous times and a competitor unknowingly develops a product, service or strategy in the meantime that disruptively changes the industry. To prevent this situation, competition should be regarded regularly. Especially as a service provider this is immensely important.
Outside of the normal business, competition should be analyzed before launching a product, before developing a new positioning or marketing strategy, or before founding a company, it is essential to have an overview of competition and market.
Now the question arises why a Brand Excellence House needs to know and carry out these strategic methods. Brand Building is the supreme discipline of strategic work, since customer needs, internal as well as external factors, market and competitor developments, cultural & political differentiation and (mega-)trends must be analyzed and understood. Branding includes the presentation of products, companies, and corporate values. The human being is always in the center. It’s the one who decides whether the strategic orientation and the appearance of the company is likeable or not. This is essential for the long-term success of companies, because in today’s consumer behavior “emotion, sympathy and credibility of a brand often play a greater role than product quality itself.”