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Insights: Competitive Auditing at OWDT

How we prepare brands for website design

Why competitive auditing

Why do we audit your competition? It’s a matter of perception management – how well do you fare compared to your competition? Studying your competitions’ online practices can guide your understanding of where you are in the mix of things and what steps should be taken to absorb advantages from new trends and established best practices. Each brand has its strengths and weaknesses, and not every approach can be applied to your brand purely because it’s working for others. Because in the end, brands are unique, but the methods and tools to succeed are the same, no matter the industry.

The process of conducting a competitive audit is both a logical deduction and creative exploration. Below we discuss the methods we use to help you recognize where you are now and what needs to be accomplished to gain your unique advantages.

1. Identifying the competition
2. Gathering insights through research
3. Orienting through comparison
4. Evaluating your strategy

Who is your competition?

Identifying competition establishes awareness and context. The process begins by recognizing your true competitors and learning which customers they serve. This emerges from mapping out industry context and variables of operation, formulating a well-defined target audience, and recognizing central value propositions of the market at hand. From there we can recognize who is most similar and dissimilar to you. It’s very rare to be in complete competition — in most cases, the focus is typically on a select group of brands that overlap with your customer base. In rare instances, you may operate in a niche sector, where a handful of companies are entirely responsible for all functionally identical goods and services transacted. Regardless, the process is the same because the goal is the same: differentiation.

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Learning everything we can helps us.

What methods and tools are your competitors utilizing that are proving successful? Examining communication channels, digital assets, brand campaigns, and marketings strategies being used can offer us points of comparisons to initiate SWOT analyses. Are their efforts geographically sharper? Are they receiving more web traffic based on a new social initiative?

On the other side, who is their audience? Defining the demographic profile of their customer is instrumental in assessing your products and services while realizing opportunities for improvement. Understanding how your competition approaches their customers can guide us to develop user personas that are closer to their preferences. As a result, you’re perceived as a conscious brand that is aware of shifting demands and demonstrate a willingness to accommodate your customers, assuming they’re the same.

 

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Orienting through comparison

When we do a competitive audit, we’re studying the online strategy of your competition. How are they managing their online presence as a representation of their business model? Although it can be industry-specific, sometimes it’s not about having the best product or service but rather demonstrating the ability to market and present those propositions in a clear and compelling way through the use of effective channels.

Evaluating your strategy

Insome cases, customers are visiting your website for different reasons than what you may assume. Are you being recognized for your primary value proposition? Are you able to distinguish the source and motivation of their visit? A competitive audit would help you observe what your competitors are doing online to attract their customers. Do they have a better understanding of user personas? Their website can tell you how well they know their target audiences and what design, content, and branding decisions they have made to be successful on the web. It helps to compare the presentation of value with your competition as a mock customer. Many conclusions can be derived from the user experience that can stimulate future online and offline improvements to your processes and propositions.

User perception is heavily influenced by your online strategy. In the mind of the user (customer), a brand has been developed and its values have been communicated. We study available materials to learn in-depth, how you have oriented your brand to the web and beyond. The most evident insight comes from identifying key messages that communicate the brand’s strategy and how it implies its position in the market. And to gauge the user’s journey, we look at your organization’s website, its content, and visual appointments. The purpose is to understand how the journey has been designed to recognize the needs and expectations of users. Our goal is to implement those choices that show a strong understanding of how value should be demonstrated and experienced.

Competitive Audit Proccess

Process from start to fininsh

Identify the Competition

  • Who is considered direct competition?
  • What category do they serve?
  • Which company is most similar to yours?
  • Are there companies that are not direct competitors?

Conduct Research and Gather Data

  • Determine the information you need to research
  • Study existing information and materials
  • Recognize knowledge gaps
  • Recommend tools for research

Define your Position

  • Critical assess competition positions
  • Identify your value proposition
  • Identify your strengths
  • Identify your weakness
  • Explore your brand’s personality

Distill Key Messages

  • Purpose and Mission
  • Marketing Language and Voice
  • Brand Themes and Guidelines

Revisit Visual Identity

  • Visual Brand Language
  • Color Scheme
  • Typography
  • Logo Design
  • Media
  • Website Behavior
  • Feature Design

Marking the Brand Identity

  • Brand architecture
  • Website branding
  • Marketing collaterals
  • Sales devices

Visit Naming Strategy

  • Dissect the brand name
  • Brand nomenclature for products and services

Review Brand Hierarchy

  • Deciding the hierarchical structure
  • Demarcation of central brands and sub-brands
  • Organizing products and services

Experience the Competition

  • Navigate their website as a customer
  • Use their products and services
  • Consume their marketing content and media
  • Explore their social media channels
  • Interact with their customer service

Encapsulate New Direction

  • Draw conclusions
  • Discover opportunities
  • Organize summary and plan

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