By Nicole Raj

Every company wants to be the first in the minds of its consumer, to create brand love with its intended audience. In order to do that, the company needs a branding story that stands out from its competition and forms a unique connection with its target audience. Begin by taking a look at the bigger picture, such as target demographics, psychographics trends, potential points of differentiation and the often overlooked – brand story that the competition is telling.

At Foodmix Marketing Communications we assess what our clients’ competition is doing through a competitive story assessment. In order to assess our competition, we can take a look at the whitespace within the field and determine how we can differentiate ourselves and create a brand story that is own-able. Our future brand voice will not be able to truly stand out without knowing a few key points.

Typically when marketers work on a competitive assessment, they tend to use more of their left brain by looking at cold, hard facts, such as price, pack size and market share. The left brain is geared more toward logical, factual and linear thinking. Therefore it is more rational, analytical and orderly. When looking at the competition, it is important to look at the whole picture. One aspect marketers often forget while doing a competitive assessment is using the right brain, which has more of a focus on imagination, visualization, creativity and emotion. Thus, the right brain is more visual and intuitive, having more to do with creativity and a less systematized way of thinking.

As marketers, we need to look at competitors’ websites, advertising, packaging, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. We want to see the tone taken within their websites and use social media to view how customers are interacting with them, and how the tone of voice used is being interpreted by consumers. For example, are they giving off a sassy/cheeky vibe, interacting with their consumers? Or are they getting down to business directing people straight to their website to purchase products? It is key to see if the messages are consistent across all platforms. Is there a color scheme? Do they have a tagline always used? Does the look and feel try to convey a message? For example, is the look “1960s Palm Beach” or “edgy” with black and white designs with a hint of color?

Ultimately, a competitive analysis that uses both factual information and creative assessment is critical to defining a brand. It is imperative to know where the competition stands so as to differentiate oneself in the minds of the target audience. Through understanding the consumers,  trends, your companies’ truth, and the whitespace within the market, brands can build a unique story that ultimately creates brand love.