To benchmark or to differentiate? Why regular competitor analysis is essential

Brand Building

October 26, 2023

The insurance, banking, and financial services sectors can change rapidly, and new startups are always looking to challenge the established order. Yet it’s all too easy to focus so tightly on internal challenges and goals that you lose sight of the bigger picture.

Regular competitor analysis is one of the best ways to maintain a clear marketing strategy and brand and stay one step ahead of the chasing pack. Here’s why they’re so important, and some of the factors you need to consider.

Why carry out a competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis is a core component of business strategy, essential for developing and growing your brand.

As Rob Hughes, Business Development Director at brandformula says, “Anyone who has recently looked to secure start-up funding will know all about the merits of competitor analysis, but it can add significant value for even the most established brands. Carrying out analyses regularly helps differentiate yourself from the competition and give you benchmarks for goal setting.”

Here’s how competitor analysis can give you the edge:

  1. They help you understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Market research into other companies in your sector allows you to determine industry standards. “You’ll be able to detect where you stand a good chance of winning customers – and where you’d face a fierce fight. Use this information to guide your business and marketing strategies and plans,” says Rob.

  1. They give you insights into your own strengths and weaknesses.

Rob adds, “Evaluating your own business is an important part of any competitor analysis. By viewing your company in the context of the whole marketplace, you can see where you might need to improve, and where you’re already ahead. This is essential for sharpening strategy and allocating budget and resources.”

  1. They give you a better understanding of the changing market and emerging trends.

As Rob explains further: “By analysing the ever-shifting market, you’ll be able to spot the gaps and seize new opportunities. If nobody else is addressing a particular customer pain point, or fulfilling a market need, then there’s space for you to develop new offers and reach new markets.”

This is where smaller, agile firms can often win out over bigger companies. Being the first to spot and address a niche market can be key to success.

  1. They help identify your own USP.

In the global financial market, it can be difficult for customers to differentiate between product offerings. Close analysis of the market is vital to identify, develop and validate your USP.

  1. They guide you in shaping your brand

“Once you’ve determined your USP, you should use it as the cornerstone for your brand. Having a clear, distinct look and voice will help you stand out in a crowded marketplace” says Rob.  

One of our clients, Intertrust, wanted a new global brand that really positioned the value they added. We worked collaboratively with their senior leaders to deliver unique branding that brought to life their new Vision, Mission and Values.

  1. They can help set benchmarks for growth

While you may or may not be in direct competition with the biggest fish in your particular sea, analysing their performance and strategy will get you one step closer to outranking them. Take a look at how the dominant players in your field are staying ahead of the game, and learn from their successes – and their mistakes.

How to carry out a competitor analysis:

“Despite what any number of online templates or guides will tell you, there’s no magic formula to creating the perfect competitor analysis. So much depends on factors like your growth plans, market position, target audience, and nature of competition.”

While brandformula can work with you to develop competitor analysis that gives real, insightful and actionable results, here are some tactics you can implement to get started yourself:

  1. Draw up a list of competitors

Draw up a list of your top 7-10 rivals, choosing companies that are similar to you in terms of products, services, and business models.

  1. Determine your competitors’ value propositions, products and offers

Examine your competitors’ websites and social media to discover who their target markets are, what pain points their products address, what benefits they deliver, and what messaging they are leading with.

  1. Evaluate your competitors’ marketing and brand

Consider their: key messages and brand values, tone of voice and visual identity, marketing channels used, the content they produce, and audience engagement online.

  1. Conduct a SWOT analysis

Consolidate all the information above into a SWOT analysis of your competitors’ Strengths and Weaknesses, and the Opportunities and Threats that they present to your company.

  1. Identify your company’s position in the marketplace

Draw up a graph, with x and y axes representing the two most important factors to be competitive in your marketplace. For example, customer satisfaction and market presence. Then plot where all your competitors are, and where your company is in comparison.

  1. Take action!

Your competitor analysis should inform your business and marketing strategies, allowing you to build a clear roadmap for success.

Our in-depth knowledge of the (re)insurance ecosystem, as well as the wider financial services and banking sectors puts us in a strong position to analyse your brand and those you compete with.

To find out more about how brandformula can help you analyse your competition and communicate your USP, visit our website or contact Rob today.