Competitor Monitoring to get powerful Competitive Intelligence


This article is called Competitor Monitoring to get powerful Competitive Intelligence. Here’s a story which demonstrates the value of monitoring your competitors. And not actually needing to know what they are saying either. During the cold war, the Western military monitored Soviet Morse code operators. It may seem a little pointless as they encrypted important intelligence. However, Western interceptors recorded as much as possible. Then human nature took over. After all, it’s the same whichever side of the Wall you were born.

Look at your competitors’ communications PR, press releases, marketing and social media to find their habits and patterns.

The result was that Soviet operators became bored and lazy, especially in the early hours. The Western monitors understood every Soviet Morse operator had a certain way of using their Morse code machine. Length, weighting, accuracy and speed of all those dots and dashes all became unique signatures. This was called their Fist.

A fist

This signature enabled Western Military Intelligence to get to know their habits and patterns, with direction-finding equipment revealing their location. Soon the personalities of bored radio operators were revealed as conversations turned to the weather, girlfriends, family and football teams. One famous Soviet division in the Caucasus used to offer local football scores every Saturday.

They started to build up a great picture of someone and their team without even meeting them. Not only was breaking their call signs relatively easy but it built a picture of the people and, more importantly, when and where their units moved to another part of the Soviet Union. The Western military could track troop, military exercises, meanings of codewords and moves to the border. They could predict what they were going to do next and how they were going to do it. This very real early warning system certainly helped prevent war.

So what’s the significance of this for you?

Octopus can do the same for your business. We can look at your competitors’ communications — PR, press releases, marketing and see what they say on Linkedin, social media, CVs and adverts — to find their habits and patterns. We can see when they start a new project, move to a new office or make any other change that may affect you. Then, if a member of your competitors’ team moves on to another rival, it is human nature to repeat what was successful at their previous company. We can also monitor them, looking at their habits to reveal what they are likely to do next.

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About Octopus Intelligence

Octopus is a global Intelligence service company. Answering the questions to help you grow. We help you beat competitors, increase sales, be disruptive, enter new markets and invest with more certainty with our Strategic and Competitive Intelligence, Due Diligence and good old common sense. We live in an increasingly uncertain, competitive and ever-shifting world. What you need is active real world business development strategy, where deep expertise combines with Competitive Intelligence based actions to answer the what and the how, for the now and the next.

NB — While some of this text would have been until recently be very secret the author has also seen this subject written about within a number of published books, including the history of GCHQ by Richard Aldrich.

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