Market positioning and competitive intelligence to differentiate your brand in subtle ways


In the game of market positioning, we must recognise the power of competitive intelligence. It’s more than just gathering data; it’s about uncovering insights that can recalibrate your brand’s trajectory. You don’t need us to tell you that in the competitive modern marketplace, a fierce business environment, and unpredictable change as left field as the actions in a Premier League game influenced by VAR, we need more than intuition. We need a profound competitive intelligence framework.

Despite what the misguided SCIP and others tell us, it isn’t all about AI. It isn’t only about gathering data. It’s about transforming it into insights that recalibrate your brand’s trajectory.

Challenges our preconceptions

Competitive intelligence acts as a guide, converting raw market data into valuable insights. It challenges our preconceptions about customers’ desires and how they perceive the world. It offers a deep dive into the psyche of your customers and competitors. By understanding not just what your competitors are doing but why they do it and how it’s perceived, you identify opportunities to differentiate your brand in subtle and significant ways.

Competitive intelligence should be leveraged not only to mirror or exceed competitor moves. But to delve into consumer decision-making’s less rational, more emotive aspects. Looking for the seemingly trivial details that can disproportionately affect consumer behaviour. I recently listened to Rory Sutherland. He told a story about the introduction of self-service terminals at McDonald’s. One of the unexpected behaviour changes is an increased tendency among men to order two burgers. Highlighting how a small change can significantly alter consumer behaviour and perceptions.

Building on this thinking, why not use competitive intelligence to test counterintuitive ideas that could lead to breakthrough marketing strategies?

This could improve your market position in ways visible only to your new customers. Sutherland again suggests that logical solutions are only sometimes the most effective. More often than not, illogical approaches yield the best results.

Can competitive intelligence be used to anticipate market trends and experiment with ideas in areas where data still needs to be found?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then, we will begin

Storytelling is also crucial in competitive intelligence. Many need to realise that more is required to collect and analyse data. The key is to weave that data into a narrative that resonates internally and with customers. Turning dry data into compelling stories that illustrate:

  • Why certain strategies work
  • What is your market ready for
  • How consumer desires evolve

Competitive intelligence is a transformative tool that goes beyond crafting brand strategies to appeal to consumers’ logical surface-level desires. It challenges the conventional marketing wisdom of segment target market position, questioning the validity of the segments themselves, the efficacy of the targeting, and the stability of the positions. It prompts deeper questions: Are we even playing on the right battlefield?

Competitive intelligence helps define the real questions that matter:

  • What are our competitors not seeing? Identify gaps in their perceptions and offerings where your brand can meet unarticulated customer needs.
  • Why are customers responding to competitive moves? This goes beyond surface-level reactions. Delving into emotional and psychological drivers, providing a blueprint for more compelling engagement strategies.
  • How can we disrupt the status quo creatively and effectively? Sutherland’s advocacy for non-linear thinking in marketing inspires this question, which challenges us to rethink traditional strategies and harness the power of creativity to carve out a niche.

Competitive intelligence is not about being a passive market player. It’s about becoming an active market shaper. Each piece of competitor data, customer feedback, and market analysis becomes a thread in a larger tapestry. You must weave these threads into a strategic vision — a vision that captivates and persuades, turning what you know into what you can influence.

Ask and answer the right questions

Embracing competitive intelligence stimulates strategic thinking, equipping us with the foresight to ask and answer the right questions in ways that redefine market boundaries and possibilities. It invites marketers to step into strategist, psychologist, and alchemist roles. This is not just about selling products. It’s about crafting narratives and experiences that resonate more deeply with consumers. It’s creating a lasting competitive advantage that’s as much about perception as reality.

market positioning, competitive intelligence, and how to differentiate your brand

Let’s reimagine market positioning not as a static exercise in alignment but as a dynamic play of understanding, influence, and transformation. With competitive intelligence, you’re not just participating in the market but shaping its future. One insight, one decision, one bold move at a time. This is the power of competitive intelligence, and it’s in your hands.



Octopus Competitive Intelligence Solutions

The global people-powered competitive intelligence agency. We find the answers to beat your competitors.