In saturated markets, your personal brand could be the clinching factor that sets you apart from your competitors. How do you stay aware of your competition and adjust your branding in order to stand out?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Watch Their Social Channels
Social media is an important tool for personal branding and one where brands tend to peacock their achievements. Use social listening software to monitor your brand’s reach in comparison to the competition. You can also evaluate personal branding campaigns by using employees and thought leaders at your organization to come up with new ideas for your branding campaign. – Kristopher Brian Jones, LSEO.com
2. Attend Industry Events
Industry events and trade shows are a great way to get an up-close view of the competition, what they’re offering, and how they are marketing themselves. They are also an opportunity to hear from industry leaders and influencers, see which way the wind is blowing and get out ahead of the competition. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.
3. Update Your Brand
Look at your competitors and see if your brand/image may need updating to be more competitive. Take a few minutes to review your current strengths and work into your brand anything relevant. Next, break out your long-term goals to see if any items on that document might look good as part of your brand. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
4. Watch Them Like a Hawk
Sign up for their email list, set up Google alerts for their company and the keywords you mutually rank for and follow them on social media. You could even hire a virtual assistant to transcribe their podcasts or YouTube channel. From there, you can make product and service adjustments as necessary if they make big announcements. Knowing your competitors enables you to know what they’re not doing. – Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising
5. Go Against the Flow
The only way to stand out is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing, even if it seems crazy. The internet is a zoo. Put the laptop away and shut off the smartphone. Put on a nice suit and walk into businesses in person. Bring a free sample of your work as a gift and to show value to the owner. Ask for a meeting where you can talk further. No one is doing any of those things right now. – Thomas Minieri, Minieri & Company
6. Pick a Few Things to Do Well
Obsessing over every aspect of what your competition is doing on social media, events and their website and trying to catch up can result in half-conceptualized forays into channels that don’t work well for your personal brand. It pays to be aware, but make sure you are picking a few channels to do very well, not every channel your competition resides in. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs
7. Keep a Living SWOT Analysis
In order to keep a constant eye on our competitors’ activities and brands, we keep an open and continuous SWOT analysis of the players in the market. We are constantly observing the strengths of ours and other’s brands, weaknesses that we might be able to harness, new opportunities that arise in the market and threats that we might face. This simple tool helps us keep a pulse on the market. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
8. Monitor Your Customer Happiness
We like to quantify as much information as possible, so we’ll send out surveys to our customers asking them to rank their happiness on a scale of one to 10. This helps us gauge how satisfied they are with our product to better predict attrition rates and come up with retention strategies. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
9. Get Involved in the Community
I try to build close relationships within associations and business communities in the niches we operate within. For example in beauty, I’d reach out to offer content on their website, buy banner ads on their sites, speak at their conferences or buy a placement in their newsletters. Go above and beyond, invest your time and resources and win the mindshare space — and then stay top of mind. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
10. Read Reviews on Third-Party Sites
We have done extensive research and experiments on how customers interact with our website. The last thing potential customers do is search online for reviews and complaints about your company. It is essential that when your company is searched online that positive reviews are visible on websites such as Google Business, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. It is these reviews that seal the deal. – Brian Greenberg, Life Insurance Quotes
11. Find a Niche
While several different businesses and services may be aggressively pursuing one demographic, you can find your own untapped market if you look for a specific niche. Finding a sub-subculture in a larger pool may limit your audience growth but it can inspire rabid loyalty. CPAs for homeschooling and accountants for correctional facilities are two examples of lesser-known niches we’ve pursued. – Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT
12. Labor for Simplicity
We like to look at the competition to see what they are over complicating and make it simpler for the user. Whether it’s adding drag-and-drop elements to make a technology easy to use without code or providing better documentation, find ways that you can make features more simple to use. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
13. Accept Constructive Criticism
I always look for feedback. I ask for it from my team, from my peers and from my mentor. As an athlete, you’re always looking for how to improve, how to get an edge on your competition. I do the same with my business but instead of watching tapes, I watch my analytics and trust my team. I like constructive criticism because it helps me get better at what I’m doing, and helps my company grow. – Daniel Griggs, ATX Web Designs, LLC
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