To start, identify your direct competitors. These are businesses that offer the same product or service as you. You should also look at indirect competitors, which are businesses that offer a similar product or service that could be used as a substitute for what you offer. For example, a coffee shop may consider other coffee shops as direct competitors, but a nearby juice bar could be considered an indirect competitor as they offer a different product but could still attract the same customer base.
Once you have identified your competitors, it’s time to gather information. Start by analyzing their website, social media presence, and other marketing materials. Look at their tagline or primary message, what products and services they offer, their target audience, and their price points. You should also pay attention to their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis).
When looking at your competition, you want to consider the following:
By identifying your competitors’ qualities, you’re able to determine a pathway for differentiation and uncover your unique selling points. No matter how saturated, there is a distinct gap in your industry that only you can fill. Analyzing your competitive landscape gives you a vantage point to witness that gap.
Instead of using competitor information to fuel comparison or deter you from your vision, use it as inspiration to lean further into your existing narrative. You don’t have to be radically different from your competition, you just need to be different enough to stand out. This contrast can happen through subtle, thoughtful changes that reflect your core values. The result should feel original without appearing forced.
While potentially uncomfortable or overwhelming at first, competitor analysis is an essential part of building a successful brand. By understanding your competition, you can identify opportunities to differentiate yourself, own a different niche, and leverage your unique story. Remember, the goal is not to copy your competition, but to find a distinct way to add value to your people. Embrace the concept of competition, and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful and sustainable business.