🤝‍ Compare to compete

One of the best ways to improve your brand is to reflect on where your brand is, where you want it to be, and what’s holding you back.

This exercise in self-reflection can be difficult without some structure. That’s where a proper SWOT analysis can help.

A SWOT analysis helps brands outline the:

  • S - Strengths
  • W - Weaknesses
  • O - Opportunities
  • T - Threats

…of their business and marketing strategies!

The SWOT method categorizes each aspect of your brand to help you focus on what you’re doing well and what needs to be added to the ol’ ‘to-do’ list.

You even can use this exercise as another excuse to spy on your competition! 🤫 Keeping your competitors in check helps your brand develop new marketing creatives and stay ahead of the curve with evolving technologies in your field.

You can create a 5x4 table on any spreadsheet software like Excel.

To set up your table correctly, refer to this image:

🟢 Pick three

Pick three brands that you see as competitors. Open up your internet browser and create four tabs: one should have your website open, while the other tabs should each contain one of your competitors’ sites. 👇

Assign a number to each of your competitors, with Competitor 1 being your main rival, followed by Competitor 2 and 3 accordingly.

💪 Strengths

With each website open, scan each and ask, “What does my brand do better than the competition?”

Consider three or four areas where you exceed your competitor’s offering. These areas could include anything from more comprehensive product features, better quality product images or a more relatable brand voice.

List these competitive advantages in your brand’s Strengths category.

Each of these strengths has the potential to drive revenue, engagement, or benefit the user experience with your brand, so lean into them in your marketing!

Conduct the same process for each of your competitors. Make a note of what your competition is doing well and dig in to figure out why it’s working.

For example, do they have a highly-flexible social media calendar that quickly adapts to emerging trends? Are they leveraging user feedback and reviews to create a dialog with their audience?

Add these answers to the sheet to reference tem later.

🤏 Weaknesses

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

Identify areas where you’ve stumbled in the past or continue struggling with today. Every brand has shortcomings; recognizing them is the first step to improving your marketing strategy.

This is not the time to think of solutions to these weaknesses but rather a time of self-awareness, acceptance, and recognition.

Complete the same process to identify your competitors' weaknesses and list them in the corresponding cells.

🤔 Opportunities

Opportunities don’t have to stem from your weaknesses. Opportunities identify where you can build on the strengths of your brand.

Consider a few of these points to get a step ahead of your competition: 

  • Can you be first to market with iterations of your current product?
  • Is there a common pain point among your competitors that you can solve?
  • Can you achieve similar campaign results with different advertising methods?
  • Can you test new creatives or angles? 

These are all worthwhile opportunities, and you need to remind yourself to build your brand up occasionally. 💪

You can skip completing this section for your competitors because obtaining the insight required to resolve these thoughts for other brands is very difficult.

😬 Threats

Threats help you understand how your brand can differentiate itself from the crowd.

There’s no point in trying to beat the competition if they’re doing one thing substantially better.

Let them have that win, and double down on what you do well! The best brand you can be is your own. No one wants to invest in an imitation.

Find the gap in your competitor’s strategy; suddenly, it’s no longer a threat – it’s an opportunity.

🤼 Making the most of what you’ve got

Use a SWOT analysis to keep your team updated on the innovations and strategies of other brands in your field.

Steady growth and authority in your field can only be achieved with a high level of self-awareness and the willingness to seek out emerging opportunities.

Have you ever completed a SWOT analysis? Was our template useful in completing your own analysis? Let us know in a reply.

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