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Brand Development Step 2- Research Your Competition

Brand Development Step 2- Research Your Competition

Once you’ve selected the right feeling for your brand, your next step is to find out how your competitors are positioning themselves and their products. 


Here’s how to do it…


Check out the competitors’ products at the local retailer.


If your competitors sell physical products that you can see at a local retailer, then go check them out.  This will give you an up close and personal look at how the competitor packages the product. You’ll also want to pay attention to the text on the packaging, as this will give you an idea of how the competitor positions their product.


Browse the competitors’ products on the virtual shelves.


If you can’t get your hands on a tangible product, or if the competitor doesn’t sell tangible products, then your next step is to view the competitor’s virtual storefront and virtual shelves. They likely have their products right on their websites. If not, you’ll probably find them in other marketplaces like eBay, iTunes, or Amazon.


Visit the competitors’ websites.


Your next stop is to visit the competitors’ sites, as this is where you’re likely to get the most information about their branding and positioning. Take note of the following:


·         The competitor’s business name. Some of your competitors may create business names that are meant to help their overall branding image. For example, the Discover credit card company has a business name that evokes feelings of exploration, curiosity and, of course, discovery.


·         The competitor’s product names. If your product has multiple products, browse them all and take note of the names.  What sorts of feelings do these names evoke?


Secondly, take note of the branding strategy. Does the competitor brand individual products based on the overall company brand, do they brand individual products separately, or does the company employ a hybrid strategy where they combine the company and product brands?


·         The competitor’s logo. As you discovered earlier in this course, some companies invest a lot of money in developing their logo concepts. Thus, the logo can give you a lot of information about the company’s brand images


You should look at the font style (if any), the colors and the graphics (if applicable).  Again, ask yourself what feeling the brand conveys. And ask yourself how the brand represents the company. For example, is logo bold and confident… or does the logo convey more of a warm and loving feeling?


·         The competitor’s slogan. Usually, you’ll find the slogan right beneath or next to the logo. The slogan is typically one concise statement that sums up what the company or product can do for the consumer, and/or why the consumer should choose to buy that particular product or do business with that particular company. In other words, the slogan is often the company’s unique selling position.


·         The competitor’s web design. Next, take note of the overall design of your competitor’s site. Look at the colors. Look at the graphics and where they’re placed. Take note of the overall feeling you get when you look at the design.


Again, think about what sort of feeling the design evokes.  Also think about how you’d describe the design. Is it artistic? Professional? Clean? What other words come to mind when you look at it?

·         The competitor’s web copy. Next, read the text on your competitor’s sites, especially the sales pages for specific products.


Ask yourself:


·         What is the competitor’s unique selling position for that product?

·         What emotions is the competitor trying to evoke?

·         What benefits does the consumer enjoy while using the product?

·         What benefits and emotions do consumers report when they use the product?  To determine this, you’ll need to read the customer testimonials.


Join the competitors’ communities


Finally, the last step you need to take is to examine any communities or publications where your competitor regularly shares content. This includes the competitor’s mailing list, blog or any social media pages he has, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 


The way your competitors have designed these communities will give you some idea of their branding. However, you’ll also begin to better understand their brand image and positioning by reading their content.


All of what I talked about for the last few minutes of course rests on the assumption that your competitors are very aware of their own branding image.  If you run across a competitor who doesn’t seem that conscientious, then you don’t need to spend too much time studying their brand image. 

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