Every result-driven branding or rebranding process implies at least a basic competitive audit. A competitive audit is a dynamic process that implies data gathering about the competition’s brands, key messages and overall identity in the marketplace and it also means researching their taglines, their ads and websites. The depth of this type of audit can vary depending on each company and the nature of the project.
Depending on the nature of their business, you can go and experience their product or service. It’s important to get as much insight as possible into the competition. You’ll have a higher understanding of their product’s capabilities, and this can only help you is spotting its strong and weak points.
1. Who are they?
Make a list of the top 10 competitors on the market. That implies a bit of research depending on the type of the business/product.
2.What do their brands stand for?
Now it’s time to research the values that your competition’s brand communicates.
3. What markets / audiences to they serve?
Here you should make a profile of the market and the target audiences of your competition’s brand. This step may help you find an unfulfilled segment of the market that you might explore.
4. Main strengths / weaknesses of the competition’s brands?
Determining the strong and the weak points of your competition’s product or service will help you understand how your product might differentiate in the market.
5. What are their customer acquisition channels?
Investigate on their modes of selling, and cultivating customers.
What marketing channels do they use?
6. How is your competition positioned?
How is your competition’s brand positioned to the audiences they serve? What’s the quality vs. price ratio?
7. What are their key messages?
For this step, you will have to check your competition’s visibility in the market, and determine the key messages that your competition promotes for their product / branding. Check their ads, their landing pages, and print collaterals.
8. What’s their financial condition?
You’ll want to research a bit on their financial condition too, to see who you’re up against financially, and maybe help you set growth goals based on your findings and market potential.
9. How do they look and feel?
Find two or three words that best describe how they look and feel to you.
BONUS: I’ve put together a sheet on with all the points that you should look for, be sure to download it.