How To Do a Competitive Audit in 5 Steps

Positioning your brand in a competitive market requires a dynamic, data-gathering process that offers insight into the competition.

Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.

How to Do a Competitive Branding Audit

Before conducting a competitive branding audit, you must identify who you are, who your target audience is, and what makes your business unique.

Then it's time to look at the competition's branding efforts.

Identify the competition. Before you analyze the competition, you need to identify it. Focus on primary competitors--those that not only sell similar products or services, but those who target the same or similar audience.

Find out what their brands represent. Once you've compiled a list of the competition, 5-10 competitors suffice, experience their brand from the target audience's point of view. Take a look at the following:

  • Brand and product names
  • Slogans and taglines
  • Marketing language
  • Mission statements, company core values, key messaging
  • Colors, logos, symbols, images, shapes, fonts

Experience the competition. Don't stop with identification, experience the competition. If they have retail outlets, visit them. If they have e-commerce, buy something then try to return it. Call customer service. Find out if they are true to their brand or if it's merely talk.

Experiencing the competition gives you a better idea what markets they serve, or just as important for competitive auditing purposes, what markets they don't serve. You'll discover what advantages the competition possesses, get a greater feel for their sales process, and discover how they leverage branding as part of the sales process, if at all.

Analyze the branding message. A competition branding audit should focus on branding. Don't lose sight of your audit goals. You do have audit goals, right? Start with branding language.

  • What does the branding say about the company?
  • What is the target audience?
  • What is the brand personality, voice, and key messaging?
  • What differentiates this brand from the competition?

Once you've looked at competition language, analyze visuals.

  • Are there colors, shapes, symbols, or other identifying visuals that predominate the market?
  • How do competition brands use images?
  • What messages do their logos convey?
  • How do the branding visuals make you feel?

Determine your branding positioning. You've gathered the data and analyzed it. Now what? The key to answering this question is how well you know yourself and what your brand represents. If you don't have a clear vision, it doesn't matter how good your audit is.

Assuming you have a clear vision for your company, you may discover your brand is positioned perfectly. You may discover the need to tweak your branding message, or you may discover it's time for a branding re-launch.

Whatever you decide, Inventive Marketing and Communication can help. Cheers!