To future proof your brand strategy, you need to consider three competitive forces impacting the space in which your brand plays. The rivalry between existing competitors, the arrival of new entrants taking advantage of white space, and the recently growing bargaining power of consumers. Interestingly, much brand positioning work aimed at differentiation only takes one of these competitive forces into account, often overlooking the other two. Here are some thoughts about what to do as you build out long-term leadership positioning for 2021.
Existing Competitive Rivalry:
Market analysis is an important first step in any brand positioning project. A deep dive into the competitive context helps define what a brand stands for in the minds of the consumer, and strategic shifts should not be undertaken without it. Mapping competitive positioning, product strategies and marketing communications direct a brand towards successful differentiation.
Finding the white space in your market determines where new value can be created and helps predict where new competitive brand launches will target. While sometimes ignored, this step can prove highly valuable as it gives insight into the future of your category. Look across relevant categories at competitive activity to anticipate what’s coming next to your own category. Also think about how brands outside your category are choosing different sets of activities to deliver a unique mix of value. Unique services for example provide competitive advantage beyond product.
The Bargaining Power of Consumers:
Keeping on top of cultural and consumer insight beyond product is now an expected part of a marketer’s role. Few marketers are prepared when consumers voice opinions about their brand activity. The demand from consumers for equity, respect for the planet and the use of their political weight for good is ever increasing. Never has it been more important to know your consumer and understand the world they live in. Their motivations, behaviors and attitudes will influence how they think about your brand.
Whether you’re launching a new brand, considering a rebrand or just making sure your brand is in line with our ever-changing world, taking all three competitive forces into account will future proof your strategy for long term success.