How does a brand speak of the competition in public? Its not such an obscure question with today’s online trends, ease of chatter and likelihood of debates that you should consider a framework for how to do this most effectively. Anything worth doing will encounter competition – if not its unlikely to be worthwhile enough.
The most common and easiest ways of doing this are typically either to ‘bash’ the competition; make loud obnoxious statements about how poor they are and beat them to a pulp. Or the other common practice is to simply ignore it all together. Many brands, codes of sport, clubs just prefer to ‘not comment’ when asked of the competition. Both have some merits…Mohammad Ali did enjoy the the first alternative.
A third and what I’ll suggest can be the most tactical (yet brash) method is to frame the competition with bashful praise. Create a message that can stick which clearly positions you as a ‘better offering’ whilst not knocking the competition. A process you may follow as highlighted by Robert Kiyosaki in his book 'Enchantment' you may follow these steps.
1. List what you both can offer or do
2. List what you can do and they cannot
3. List what they can do and you cannot
By doing this you will force yourself to acknowledge your shortfalls and also acquire an arsenal of information with which to corner your competitors with damning praise.
An example of this could be that of the new NFL American football team deep in the heart of a soccer (the other football) friendly area, where the NFL are focused to drive participation, attendance, and support whilst the competition have most of it wrapped up. Following the process listed above it may be concluded that the ‘NFL has over 10 times the employment opportunities and prospects for career when compared to soccer…’.
Using this information when asked about how you expect to win the local market above the successful soccer programs an alternative could be to respond "soccer is a great sport in which to participate, with limited career earning potential in mind." in other words if your child has limited ambitions you should stick to soccer, whereas by contrast the NFL is a much greater career prospect to consider.
How would you speak of your competition?
Andrew Collins is the CEO fo Mailman Group.