How to do a brand audit: Technique 3: Gain brand insight from your competitors
Reading time: 5 minutes
We’ve now reached the third and final technique in our series on ‘How to do a brand audit’. In our previous blogs, we’ve introduced you to techniques 1 and 2 of the auditing process, looking at gaining insight from your customers and social media channels. In this blog, we will be looking at gaining brand insight from your competitors.
Understanding the marketplace and your competitors is key to maintaining a successful brand. Here are a few recommended tips:
Undertake a SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis will determine the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. You can take advantage of the opportunities this brings and mitigates the threats. It will highlight:
Where your focus should lie
Gaps which you can take advantage of
Areas where you can achieve differentiation
How to set your brand apart from theirs
Formulate a list of your key competitors. This should ideally be between five and twelve companies.
Things to establish include:
Who are you losing market share to?
Who is ahead of the game?
Who is the most recognised?
Who do you aspire to be like?
Do your research – look at their websites, social media channels, videos, blogs and so on. Make a note of:
Tactics that are ffective
Who their messaging is targeting
What kind of responses and emotions do your competitors’ messaging generate?
Make a list, from most favoured to least, of your own versus competitor websites – look at:
Distinguish the common themes that are appearing.
Review your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your competitor analysis will demonstrate areas in which your objectives and strategy overlap with those of your rivals. Things to consider include:
Are your target markets the same?
Are you promoting the same USPs?
If the answer is yes, it is worthwhile looking at ways in which your brand can stand out from the crowd.
Undertake competitor content research
Take some inspiration from the content that your competitors publish. Are there themes and topics that resonate with your shared target markets?
Undertake competitor product research
A vital part of your product strategy is researching your competitors’ products. This will provide you with the knowledge to develop your own product portfolio. Launching a product, for example, which is inferior to that of the competition, would not be a great move.
Steps to Gaining Competitor Brand Insight
The variety of information and the level of insight you can gain from online competitor analysis tools is extensive. Given the amount of data available, it is important to establish which metrics are most important to your brand and in gaining a competitive advantage. Some of the competitor analysis metrics available include:
SEO and rankings
The following four key steps will help you gain an insight into your competitors.
Step 1: Research competitor content
Make sure you are keeping an eye on your competitors’ news, blog posts and any e-mail marketing you can sign up to. These are their key avenues for promoting their brand to their customers.
The messaging and content used by your competitors will enable you to gain a deeper understanding of their strategy, including areas for growth and diversification.
Make sure you use a personal e-mail address, rather than your work e-mail, when signing up to e-mail marketing and notifications. A great tool to use is Owletter, which enables you to look at competitor news regularly and set up notifications when new stories are added.
Step 2: Research organic and paid search
Keeping up to speed with your competitor’s rankings will provide you with insightful information into their tactics. Gain an understanding of what is working for them and use this as an opportunity to build on your own strategy and plans, including which keywords you should be targeting and effective content you could promote.
Paid search competitor research can be conducted using iSpionage, which will alert you if additional keywords or adverts are being used by your competitors. It will also tell you what their monthly budget is.
Step 3: Undertake backlink analysis
If you have a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy, performing backlink analysis will assist in highlighting any gaps you may have. Things to look at include:
Do your competitors have authoritative sites linking to their website? If yes, who are they?
What is the extent of the linking?
How can you compete with this?
What is your strategy in order to close the gap?
Tools such as Moz’s Open Site Explorer will research backlinks and find link-building opportunities for you, as well as discovering potentially damaging links.
If your competition has an extensive number of backlinks, you may need to be more strategic and aggressive with your SEO strategy, looking for alternative methods of achieving an advantage.
Step 4: Monitor competitor website changes
Your competitors’ websites demonstrate:
How they position their brand
Their product or service portfolio
How they generate leads
To keep up to date with these elements, make sure you are tracking their websites. Adding your competitors to Kompyte will enable you to do this easily and effectively. It will, for example, send you a notification when an online update is made, when a new product or promotional graphic is added to their websites and to their digital marketing campaigns.
This concludes our series on simple techniques that make up the brand audit. We hope that these three simple techniques have helped you to put the theory into practice, resulting in an effective brand audit for your business.