When I meet with perspective clients, not only do I go through their website, Social Media, and any other information that I can find through a Google search, but I also look at other companies that are in the same industry; i.e. their competition. As I have said a million times and will say a million more times… I despise the word competition. People put way too much emphasis on their competitors and not enough on their own products and services! Companies should be cognizant of what the market looks like; however, there are some major downfalls to following your competition too closely.
No Original Ideas
When I worked in corporate America, we would have a weekly staff meeting where we had a “leader” who would constantly diagnose what our competition was doing in the marketplace. So much emphasis was placed on what the competitors were doing and launching into the marketplace that I jokingly suggested a drinking game every time she mentioned the competitions name. With all of this focus on the competition, not enough emphasis is placed on creating new products and services! Copying competitors’ services or products and not coming up with original ideas is a big FAILURE. Looking at advancing and creating innovative products and services, that meet your customers’ needs, puts you way ahead of the competition.
Taking a risk and adding products into the marketplace that are just starting up can pay off in the long run. Some companies will not work with start-ups or companies that are launching “demo” products. However, you never know, these products may take off and you will be the main retailer in your area! I keep a watch on kickstarter.com and other group funding websites to see what latest products are featured! Adding cool innovative new products keeps your company in the news!
It is great to ensure that you are offering services your customers need. However, offering off the wall services that do not benefit or add value doesn’t help your brand. (Believe me… I have seen this!) If you know your limitations and you can’t offer the services your customer base has requested, think about partnering with another trusted company that can offer those services.
Now when I say that I do not believe in competition that does NOT mean I don’t monitor the marketplace! The key is knowing who is doing what in your industry in order to set yourself apart. What sets Brand X Consultants apart from other PR firms is the vast knowledge that our founder has working with various businesses from Fortune 100 companies down to start-ups. The business model, brand model, and the marketing needs for each of these are very different, even if the companies are in the same industry! Having a PR firm that can work with your business, understanding where it is currently, and who is able to meet your company’s needs as you grow is invaluable.