Painting The Full Competitive Intelligence Picture Using Social Media Insights
In my neighborhood, before the pandemic, there used to be a Wine & Paint studio - an experiential business where paying patrons would exchange their hard-earned pennies for a paintbrush and a steady stream of wine to drink. I was lucky enough (or unlucky enough depending on who you ask) to try it before the place went out of business during the COVID-19 crisis, and my experience was a bit underwhelming. Sure it was fun to paint while a bit tipsy, but it always seemed like I was always missing something crucial at every step of the process when painting my still life (thankfully just a bowl with some fruit in it, and not a nude Will Ferrell). The final result was less-than-impressive, and although my inebriation was partly to blame, I know that because I was consistently without a certain paint, or short a specific kind of brush, I wasn’t going to get a great painting as a result - something that holds similarly true with Competitive Intelligence needing Social Media insights for the full picture (or painting).
For Marketing & Insights professionals looking to become true artists of brand marketing and social listening, then we’ll need to gather all the necessary painting tools, namely: Social Media insights. But first things first...
🖌 Hey Picasso, What is Competitive Intelligence?
No, Competitive Intelligence is not a post-modern style of Dadaist art study, instead it’s set of actionable date, insights, and analytics that form a group of metrics that can tell you two things: 1) the current market that the industry resides in, and 2) the vast field of competitors, both established and new. CI can help you better understand your own brand’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to established consumer bases, and potential new ones. Simply put, Competitive Intelligence is the printed guide that tells you everything you need to know about your own house - in comparison to others in the industry - and everything you need to know about the other guys.
Through Competitive Intelligence you’ll be able to:
Take The Advantage In The Art Scene, The Competitive Market Scene, And Everything In Between
Artist’s have to be their own promoters, and this can be a pretty daunting task considering all the other artist’s vying for spectators' attention. Brands have the same problems to overcome as well, and CI can give you a cutting edge over your rivals with the ability to analyze valuable data that can inform you on everything from their strengths and weaknesses, their overall favorability with consumers, their potential next moves with marketing and campaigns, and so much more! When Sun Tzu wrote the 5th century treatise, “The Art of War”, he wasn’t just using flowery language. Art is war, and so is marketing! So use Competitive Intelligence to gain every advantage you can!
Never Let The Newcomers Knock You Down A Painted Peg
When two famous paintings are exactly alike, there will always be the question: which is the forgery and which is the original! Don’t let newcomers to your businesses’ industry rip you off, cheat your brand’s successful model, or copy your assets and brand identity when they appear new on the scene! CI is great at detecting even the most fresh - and potentially threatening - newcomers onto the scene, providing you and your team ample time to analyze their positioning in the market, what new technologies/services they’re utilizing in order to knock you off your feet, and ready an effective strategy to maintaining your dominance in your respective field.
Protect Yourself Through Risk Mitigation & Disaster Detection Monitoring
Never be caught off guard through the use of Competitive Intelligence’s most subtle, yet necessary feature: anticipating unexpected elements in your industry, and helping you reduce the damage it causes to your brand’s image and market positioning. Through the revolutionary systems of monitoring both visible and invisible web data, CI offers incredible maneuverability that employs advanced methods to ensure the safety of your employees data, detect sensitive leaks, and even surprise your adversaries when the PR dust settles.
🎨 Competitive Intelligence: Where Art & Science Meet
If you were an artist, trying to break into the major art scene with your amazing work, then Competitive Intelligence would be the monthly art magazines, useful insider art scene talk, and knowhow from the curators of major galleries in your hometown, who could all contribute to your understanding of what is currently “IT”, what is currently falling out of style, and which artists you wish to get the better of in order to ensure your painting prowess amidst a crowded, competitive field. Taking advantage of this different source of information can make the difference between headlining the biggest museums in the world, and teaching fourth grade art class for the rest of your days.
Though CI is not the only tool in your art supplies box for painting a complete picture of the whole industry your brand resides in, it is one of the most integral for success. Imagine, if you will, a painter trying to make a new painting: tackling your competition with a fully fleshed out strategy that doesn’t include this form of intelligence is like painting a Rembrant-style masterpiece without any paints. Sure you could try it, but you’ll just end up with a whole lot of nothing (although perhaps some marketers may see it as an attempt at abstract art that accentuates all of the negative space in our everyday lives, MAN!).
A big part of developing a strong, flexible marketing strategy that is supported by CI, is through the utilization of valuable insights - particularly those derived from social media. These Social Media Insights are crucial for Competitive Intelligence, and knowing about the various kinds of colorful consumer conversations that buzz on about your brands and the brands of your adversaries will take you far! So let’s talk about them...
🌈 The Colorful Spectrum of Social Media Insights
Competitive Intelligence, like art, takes proper preparation. To know thy enemy one must know thyself… and everything else more or less! That’s where a Social Media competitive analysis comes in. Pictured below are the overall emotional sentiments of online followers of the brand Nike (taken from Nov to Dec of 2018):
Emotions like Desire, Happiness, and Amusement rank at the top with emotional sentiments derived from social media, while feelings of Sadness, Anger, and Frustration rank closer to the bottom.
Besides looking like something belongs in a modern art museum, the above chart, taken from Digimind’s social listening platform, provides marketers with a clear - and colorful - graphic that accurately illustrates the feelings that consumers have towards one of the world’s biggest sportswear and shoe brands. For CI, this can make the difference between understanding where a brand stands within a crowded field, and just assuming blindly that the brand is eliciting emotional feedback of positivity vs. negativity. A terrible mistake to make if you want to maintain a competitive edge over the other guy.
Insights derived from a social media competitive analysis also tell a grander story about the broader industry landscape - namely how much people are discussing rival companies, and what those sentiments are like. Keeping with the whole color thing, we invite you to review another example of social listening, and how it can excavate valuable tidbits regarding other artists in the gallery, and how much people are raving (or snoozing) about their work in comparison to yours:
A rainbow of insights is uncovered when you take the time to listen to the data derived from social media.
Image if you were Nike, and you had this helpful info before you. What would this market research tell you about the competitive field that your various adversaries are operating it?
- Your brand was clearly the most talked about sportswear and shoe brand currently being discussed online via social media profiles.
- The general sentiment is slightly less-than the competition, but still overwhelmingly positive among consumers.
- Though there was much to celebrate with the current market status quo, it would behoove your brand to not rest on your laurels, as two other competitors within your industry were increasing their trending mentions by large margins.
- It would be best to analyze what the current business strategy is, both internally and externally, and find ways to build upon and improve it in order to sustain the continued successes of your top-dog status.
Lastly, social media insights can provide you with in-depth knowledge of WHICH social media platforms your company is most talked-about online, as shown in the example below:
Nike is knocking it out of the park on Twitter when it comes to social media channels. Facebook and Instagram trail behind significantly, but just barely more so than others like Radio, Web, and TV.
Like exploring different mediums in the art world, when a brand digs into the complex world of content mediums, it can reveal much about what is lacking in an engagement campaign, and reveal even more for your CI. The above image shows just how helpful this sort of market intelligence insight can be, showcasing where the majority of the discussions/mentions are being held online. For Nike, this could reveal where they’re lagging in comparison to other companies like Reebok and Adidas, or where they’re excelling.
Marketing Power Tip: When all else fails, you can try your hand at SWOT analysis, a technique some marketers use to identify: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to your competition and/or your future ad campaigns. It’s another helpful set of resources that you can use when in need of an alternative method of insights.
Image sourced from www.corporatefinanceinstitute.com
🖼️ Let’s Put A 😊 Little ☁️ Here: Paint Your Competitive Intelligence Piece With Social Media Insights
With all the colors of the social media insights spectrum at your fingertips, you’ll be able to fully create a one-of-a-kind marketing campaign that takes into consideration all the important factors that your competitors bring to the table, and how to turn those insights to your advantage.
The old, poorly painted bowl of fruit that I created under the influence of a Pinot Noir 2018 vintage can now be found hanging on the wall of my apartment bathroom, where it will forever be showcased in the gallery of bad art. And that’s where your marketing efforts will go if you’re not smart enough to incorporate the necessary resources into your digital strategies - right down the toilet of failure. May your artistic endeavors be much more successful than mine, and may they also outshine your competitors through the use of social media insights.
Written by Micah Levin
With a background in creative writing, advertising, and psychology, Micah is a copywriter in name and a Digiminder at heart. When he's not developing content for agencies, you can find him crafting novels, cooking and running around in Brooklyn, NY.