Who are your competitors? It’s very likely that you can at least partially apply a literal answer to that question, as most entrepreneurs have at least a passing familiarity with their direct competitors. Unfortunately, having only a passing familiarity with your competition is one of the more subtle and insidious ways that your brand and business can be seriously threatened in a competitive marketplace.

An Innovative Product Can Change The Playing Field

Your competitors aren’t always going to announce themselves and their intentions in a manner that is obvious to a casual observer – in fact, the biggest threats to your business may appear out of nowhere. This would be in the form of an innovative new product or service offered by one of your existing competitors or through the introduction of a new determined entrant in your industry or market.

Part of developing a strong, resilient and enduring brand involves analyzing and understanding your competitors. However, it’s important to analyze your competition the right way and to approach such an effort from the right perspective.

War and Peace

Thinking of your competitors, both known and unknown, may put you in a competitive mindset – in fact, you may even view your competition as “the enemy.” We understand that this can be a natural reaction, as your competitors may be posing a real threat to the continued viability of your business. You may in turn view your competition as nothing more than nameless, faceless entities that must be conquered through direct opposition and a sheer force of will. It’s no surprise that many leading figures in the business world once thought of business in terms of war – in fact, such narratives were very popular during the 1980s, when America was nearing the end of its long-standing Cold War with the Soviet Union and business executives quoted the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Are They Really The Enemy?

Should you treat your competitors like “the enemy?” It’s a complicated question that often depends on the industry and market, but we firmly believe treating your competitors as enemies in a literal sense may prove to be ineffective in the long run and may even damage your brand identity. When we think of our competitors in strictly adversarial terms, we often force ourselves to oversimplify and even dehumanize them, which can make it more difficult to gain the perspective necessary to truly understand them; why is it important to understand your competitors? Because the more fully and accurately you understand your competitors, the stronger, more resilient and more competitive your brand will become!

In our newest Do-It-Yourself branding course, Go Ahead. Dream Big., we provide the insight and the tools necessary to gain this perspective. We can guide you through the process of conducting a proper competitor analysis, asking and answering the right questions and helping you both identify and assess both your existing competitors and potential competitors and putting your brand on a fast-track to success in both your industry and market!

Tools to help you analyze your competition