A world of abundance for consumers is a world of rivals for brands. While keeping your focus on your customer is paramount, there will be times you will have to shift attention to a competitor and go on the offensive or defensive.
So often, when brands take each other on, they engage in a head-on war that deeply involves the two parties but quickly disinterests or confuses everyone around them. For that reason, it’s vital that when you respond to an attack or attack a competitor you do so under clear terms of engagement.
1. Don’t fight with the rival – fight for the customers
2. Be assertive, not rude. Restrain from slinging mud. Attack principles, not personalities.
3. Be positive and optimistic about what could or should happen.
4. Use a mix of media (and messages) to make your point.
5. Work to your strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.
6. Fully commit to the attack.
7. Set a time frame, set a budget, set clear measures. Assess progress continually and act on it.
It has been argued here on Branding Strategy Insider that strategy is not about the competition and that companies are disproportionately rewarded when they create new value for customers and grow the market for everyone. Clearly, in a world of abundant choice, it’s far better to create new value (propose new meanings) than compete for the value created by others.
To state the obvious, some brands believe it’s far better to take what others have and leave the hard work of value creation to value creators.
It’s a limiting viewpoint that represents the sharp edges of a business world we all know too well, and serves as a constant reminder for marketers, that it is our job to compete.
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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education