Once you’ve set your goals for the project and aligned with your team, it’s time to conduct a competitive analysis. The purpose of the competitive analysis is not to copy what your competitors are doing. Instead, it shows you what not to do.
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to conduct a marketing competitive analysis on some of your direct and indirect competitors.
Download the course packet below for all materials referenced throughout the course.
Welcome back to my favorite step of the whole B2B brand film process, the competitive analysis.
It’s in this step where we identify what the competition is doing, both good and bad, so that we can see where we can stick out.
My analogy for this phase is, it’s like driving a car, right? We need to know where the traffic is ahead of us, in the other lane, where everything is, because, you know, you don’t wanna just drive looking at your own instrument panel, you’re gonna run into stuff.
You know, in the case of brand films, the equivalent of running into things could be kind of using the same language that your competitors use or using similar imagery. No joke. I’ve literally seen two brands use the exact two same pieces of stock video in each of their brand film. I am not exaggerating.
It’s not that it’s gonna make your brand look bad per se, just makes your brand look not different, you just look the same, you’ve just added to white noise. So, let’s assume your customer’s doing their due diligence, right? And they’re looking at three direct competitors and three indirect competitors.
Well, if everyone has the same brand film that starts with the world rising and a single piano note, or, you know, whatever animated explainer, “Hi, I’m Bob,” there’s gonna be a fatigue, they’re gonna start, the white noise will start coming in and they won’t be able, they’ll go, “Which one had the world rising, “which one had a time-lapse of traffic going in Dubai?” And they literally will not be able to tell the brands apart. And that’s like the total opposite thing you want in a brand film.
Now, they click on your brand film and it’s something different, something unique, something that says something that no one else is saying. They’re going to remember you, for no other reason than you were different.
So, download your competitive analysis worksheet and you can follow along with me. You could also easily create this in five seconds on Excel. But, the idea is we have four columns, competitor, what they say, how they say it, how we’ll be different.
When you’re gonna do here is choose two direct competitors and one indirect. So, yes, you filled out three direct and three indirect in your questionnaire, but I find that there’s a law of diminishing returns when doing a competitive analysis.
To find out what they say, we wanna start scanning things like their website, social channels, blog posts, podcasts, anything, right? Start by going to their homepage, and then just perusing. We’re trying to find out the key phrases they’re using and what they’re saying, like what they’re claiming.
And I recommend copying and pasting exactly what they say, don’t paraphrase. I want you to copy and paste exactly what they say. We wanna know what they’re saying so we can identify things that all your competitors are saying, so that we can cross that out and not say it. We don’t wanna crash into anyone else, we want to be on our own path.
Now, we go into how they say it. So, this is where we want to identify what are the things they’ve got going on. Are they really into social or do they have a vlog? Do they already have a brand film? And this is where we want to describe what their content is like. So, is their imagery all stock photos or do they have really good photography? Do their videos look and sound alike or do their videos use stock video, or do they use a lot of talking heads?
What we want to do is use adjectives to describe how they say what they say. And if it’s not good, point out that it’s not good, and if it’s good, you know, point out that it’s good.
The best competitive analysis is when you’re as independent as possible. The more independent you are, the more you can make rational decisions when it comes to being different.
And typically, what I find in B2B, is there’s lots of talking head interviews, lots of explainer animations saying, that start with, “Meet Bob. “Bob has a cross-functional analytics problem,” and the guy waving, lots of stuff like that, jot down, be descriptive, player hate.
Okay, now the next column is how we’ll be different. Michelangelo said of David, is that, David was inside the rock. So, he had to subtract to get David, because David was already in there, and I couldn’t agree more. What you wanna do is conserve your creative energy.
So, you want to eliminate options, not create more. You want to eliminate options. So, if you can eliminate paths to go down, meaning we definitely don’t wanna do that and we definitely don’t wanna say that, and that’s not good, that’s not good, that’s not good.
Find similarities in what they say, what your competitors are saying. Find similarities in how they’re saying it. And now, just kind of cross-reference and cross things out, and there may be items that contradict each other in the how we’ll be different column for each competitor.
Now, you’re gonna have to discuss with your team and kind of decide, you know, well, if it’s between A and B, what do we wanna do? If how we’re gonna be different from competitor A is use talking head interviews, but then how we’re gonna be different from competitor B is to avoid talking head interviews, then a decision needs to be made.
It’s not giving you ideas. It’s telling you which ideas to avoid, which makes your job easier, instead of trying to will a creative idea into existence.
You know, there’s less brain power required, you know what to avoid, and now you can just focus on what is available to you. So, I’ll see you in the next video, Developing a Video Strategy.