In order to properly position your brand, it must be unique.
And not just for the sake of being different—being unique in a way that is needed, that will be appreciated and that will put the screws to the competition.
That means it must be unlike the competition. It must be fill a need they've missed, do it in a way they hadn't considered, solve a problem that they've overlooked, or solve it in a way that is more effective, efficient or satisfying.
In order to accomplish all of this, you're going to have to study the competition. Many of your business associates will suggest doing this so that you can mirror their moves. I maintain that this is a terrible idea…and that you should instead study the competition in order to improve your own brand and its positioning.
I have a plan for moving forward with this mission, and I'm sharing some key points with you here.
Competitive Analysis, to Claim your Best Place in the Market
Before you analyse the competition, it's important to have at least a preliminary idea of what you want to do and whom you want to serve. This may change as you gain an understanding of what's currently going on in the market; however, you must ultimately choose a business in which you can exercise your passion and serve those people who are much like your former self (before you solved the problems they're now experiencing).
And from there, these are the steps I recommend:
- Perform a Competitor SWOT Analysis. Maybe you've heard of performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) on your own business. Now you can use it to analyse your competitors in order to position your brand…and to compete. STRENGTHS: What are their strengths and how can you model them? WEAKNESSES: Where are the rifts in their service, and how can you use that to highlight your own strengths? OPPORTUNITIES: What chances will you have to overtake them? THREATS: What advantages do they have over you? Gain a solid handle on all of these elements, and you will compete.
- Google the Keyword you Predict will be your Main Keyword. If other businesses appear in the search results, then there is already a need for what you're offering. If little or nothing is found, there either isn't a need or the need has not been discovered. Keep this in mind as you move forward: Have others tried and died with this type of business? Why didn't it work? Is your approach different enough to work?
- Find out Who is Providing Services Similar to Yours. As you look at the businesses that showed up in your keyword search, ask yourself these questions: Who is their ideal customer? How are they different from their competitors? How are they similar to your own ideal customer? Search the business [owner] on com; if they've been in business for more than three years, the info you're gathering is reputable, and they're doing some things right. If they are reputable, view the source info for any of their webpages with Control+I on a PC or Command+I on a Mac. In this source info, you will see the keywords they're using to attract their customers. Whether your ideal customer is the same or different than theirs, this will help you as you move forward with your own SEO. Another way you can analyse the competition is to look at who has real, long-term service-based websites and who is appearing in search results only with adverts leading to landing pages. I think you know, in this case, who the real competition is.
- Identify Gaps in Products and/or Service. By now, you know your ideal customer and his or her needs. What is missing? What do they need that they aren't getting from current providers in your industry? Maybe you don't need to invent a new product or service; perhaps, the answer is in bundling products like they haven’t been bundled before. Or in answering questions along with your offerings at a level that has so far been unexperienced.
- Confirm your Findings with your Ideal Customers. Who is your dream client? Ask that person for 15 minutes of their time so you can ask them questions about what's currently available to them, what they wish was available, what they would like to see from your business and how you can best serve them. In my own past interviews and in my clients' stories, I have seen that 15 minutes turn into lifelong, loyal brand relationships…and the same can happen to you.
I hope these little tips help you as you move toward the perfect positioning for your brand. Remember to always put your customers' needs first, to know and follow your WHY, to do what you're passionate about, and to always strive to innovate and fill gaps.
As you move forward with building your brand, there will be times when you feel lost and without support…unless you're part of the Brand Builders Club. Members of this organisation enjoy a global network of professionals, peer support, expert branding advice, a daily branding coach, 90-minute Mastermind sessions and much more.
And one more thing: As of January 2018, Brand Builders Club memberships will be by invitation only, so I would suggest getting in now, whilst you still can. See you in the club!