Competitive reviews can be an emotive process where value judgements often cloud objective logic. Yet done well they form an invaluable strategic resource that can unearth unexpected insights into where and how brand opportunities have been exploited. We look to optimise competitor research using a series of tools and frameworks that ensure objective, in-depth, insightful and robust output. Using a combination of Brand Equity Analysis, an Identity Prism and Category Perceptual Maps we bring the competitor’s brand successes and failures alive as part
of our ‘Brandscaping’ strategic planning process.

BRAND EQUITY ANALYSIS

As with the client’s brand, we subject key competitors to scrutiny utilising the brand equity analysis framework. Using a consistent template we evaluate how successfully each brand competes on agreed consumer competitive market metrics.

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BRAND ASSETS | We evaluate the levels and sources of competitive brand influence that exist in customer’s minds. We measure recall and recognition to assess how well customers remember and articulate each aspect of a competitor’s brand’s identity. This provides valuable insight into what triggers consideration set membership vs simply recognising the brand’s existence. We then look to review the competitive brand associations including both features and benefits of the product, as well as non product associations including price point, consumption imagery and their imagined target customer groups.

BRAND STRENGTHS. | We measure how well the competitive brand has been leveraged over time. Does it enjoy dominance in the trade channels? Is this reflected in its distribution and presence at point of sale? Are there patterns of consumer purchase with loyalty, re-purchase frequency and achieved price premiums that reflect inherent strengths or weaknesses of the brand.

CUSTOMER VALUE. | Does the competitive brand continue to provide superior value? Is it accessible and convenient for customers? Does the experience match up to the consumer promise? How do key consumer segments extract value from the brand? We aim to pinpoint those interactions which represent the most significant elements of value.

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BRAND IDENTITY PRISM

Our unique Brand Identity Prism evaluates brand identity from six perspectives. Brand as person; partner; experience; organisation; status and symbol. Each perspective provides new insight as to how and why the consumer engages with the brand.

BRAND AS SYMBOL | Evaluates the visual characteristics consumers have assimilated from their interactions with the brand and it’s communication. We look at how these semiotic codes have ascribed their meaning.

BRAND AS PERSON | How does the consumer describe the brand when asked to bring it to life? What personalities do they associate with the brand’s character and what expectations does this create?

BRAND AS PARTNER | We know that many consumers have relationships with brands that reflect their style and attitude towards its consumption. Brand flings, brand love, brand as mentor and many others reflect the spectrum and diversity of consumer brand interactions.

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BRAND AS EXPERIENCE | How does the brand experience live up to the brand promise? What are the most defining moments of the brand experience and how does this affect perceptions. Is the experience solo or shared and does this have implications for peer influence?

BRAND AS ORGANISATIONS | Consumers no longer view brands as islands. They understand brand ownership and evaluate brand owners and their brands as one. What affects one affects the other. When corporate reputations are sullied brand perceptions will suffer. Conversely when brand organisations demonstrate commitment or are seen to stand for aspirational ideals their brands will benefit.

BRANDS AS STATUS | Symbolic consumption is nothing new. However the advent of the internet has created a culture where  the sharing of brand experiences and self-definition through brands has been elevated to a new level. Recognising the role of brand identity within self-identity construction and esteem management is critical and is likely to become ever more important as a driver of growth.

 

PERCEPTUAL MAP

Utilising the output from both the Brand Equity Analysis and Identity Prism we provide a unique perspective on the brandscape of competitor positioning. We believe that the more simple grid maps can be over-simplistic creating a force fitting of brands without understanding the positioning nuances.

Our multi-dimensional grids reflects the degree of attribute schema elaboration, the relative importance for each attribute as a purchase driver and how strongly each brand is perceived to be associated with that attribute. The result highly informative market perceptual maps that at-a-glance provide overviews of how brands are perceived and where opportunity spaces might present themselves. The diagram shows how the  OTC pain category might look for the three leading brands: