Josh Ryther is the Senior Partner & Creative Director at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
The key to the competitive audit is that it tells you how to differentiate yourself. It gives us at Deksia a focus so that we can see what your competitors aren’t doing, allowing us to find a place in the market for you and to make suggestions regarding what you may want to focus on if someone else is covering other areas well. This extends to design, where we communicate your brand’s unique message in ways that appeal to your target audience.
One thing you need to find out when you do the competitive audit is how well your competitors are doing. Are they successful? Why are they successful or unsuccessful? If you can boil down those two things, you can really learn a lot. It helps us determine what kind of messaging we want to employ, what kinds of things we’re going to say and how we’re going to say them to your customers.
Let’s say you own an upscale pizza place. If you’re just starting this business, you’re looking to see if there’s even a place for you in the market. Will the market sustain another pizza place? If the answer is no, what areas can you diversify into that will give you a competitive advantage? If you’re already established, you need to do the competitive audit to find out where you can gain a foothold and become a profitable business. This could be through finding aspects of your business that’s unique to you that can be brought to the forefront, or by offering a new service or product that none of your competitors do.
It’s all about expectations. What type of expectations does your consumer have? If the price point of your restaurant is X, you can discern from reviews of diners with that price point what their expectations will be. Those expectations relate to how you talk to them through design. It’s the difference between “$5! Pizza! Pizza!,” and “all-naturally sourced ingredients.” It’s still pizza, but they’re very different ways of communicating based on the rules of formal vs. informal. When you look at Pizza Hut, and you look at a restaurant like Gusto Pizza in Des Moines, you can tell a lot about each brand and the experience you’ll receive there just by looking at their names, logos and overall brand presentation.
So by looking at how your competitors market themselves, we can make designs that will help you stand out in the market. It’s just the next step in the brand research journey, one that gets you closer to your fulfilling your full potential.