Chapter Eighteen of Brand Like a Rock Star isn’t really about your brand at all. It is about knowing your competition.
I’ve worked with brands that are obsessed with their competition, to the point of distraction. It is unhealthy, mainly because they lose sight of their own product. But I’ve also worked with brands who don’t pay any attention to their competitor, intentionally. They banish their competition’s name from their hallways and refuse to even acknowledge them. That is equally unhealthy.
The sweet spot is developing a deep knowledge of your competitor. Know them intimately. Understand their motivation. Become able to predict their next move. Know them as you know yourself, but remain focused on your customers at all times.
“If you know your enemies and you know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss”
Those are the powerful words of Sun Tzu from The Art of War.
But there is another reason to know your enemy. They help define you.
Coke helps define Pepsi: Traditional classic versus new generation.
Mercedes-Benz helps define BMW: Luxury versus performance.
Taco Bell helps define Chipotle: Fast food versus food with integrity.
Walmart helps define Target: Lowest prices versus affordable quality.
So gather your team in the board room next week, and write down everything your competition stands for. Give them credit where credit is due, but don’t pull any punches. Develop a clear understanding of their values and how their (and your) customers see them. Then do the same for your brand. Do you stand for a different set of values than they do? Do your customers see a meaningful difference between your two brands? If they don’t, you’re in for a long and expensive battle. You can either fight that battle, or develop a set of values that differentiates you from your competition.
Competitive awareness is actually about you, because understanding their values is an exercise in refining yours.
Rock star brands are ”competitively aware, but consumer focused”. Are you?
Chapter Eighteen of Brand Like a Rock Star uses Green Day’s song “Know Your Enemy” as the inspiration for understanding your competition. With a few clicks, you can order the book right now. And if you are looking for a speaker at an event this fall, send me an email at email@example.com. October is already filling up quickly!
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