When Does Competitive Research Go Too Far?
While doing market research, one of the most common practices is to look at your competitors web presence. This leads to a lot of comparison and reevaluation of your own online identity. Most often, businesses subscribe to the idea that if you make the same updates to your website, social campaigns, etc. as a successful competitor they will achieve the same results. If it works for your competition, it will work for you, right?
Wrong… To an extent.
Mimicking your competitor’s good practices such as: consistent social posting, strong SEO, responsive design, and community engagement are all things that should be copied. However, most small businesses like to take it a step too far by looking at surface level elements such as colors, graphics, and fonts.
Staying True to Your Brand
Far too often I see companies go through the steps of a competitive website analysis and start with something like, “I think the yellow really makes this stand out, we should use it on our site.”
Again, this is wrong.
The reason a color, image, or font is working for a competitor is probably not because it is just so amazing by itself. It is more likely that they were able to draw these elements from their brand and use them in a captivating way. A color, graphic or typeface alone does not make a successful web design. Never sacrifice deviating from your brand’s standards for a gimmick. Consumers are becoming more aware of smart branding and can tell when a business is forcing it. The most successful brands take what’s unique to their story and environment to create an original experience. The nice imagery and colors will fall into place as you craft your unique online identity.
80 Percent of consumers said “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand. (SlideShare)
Competitive research is an extremely important activity for market research, and it’s one you should exercise often. But, never make assumptions as to why a competitor is successful surface level. Odds are they probably have strong content, consistent content updates, and active social engagement which are the staples of any successful online presence.
If you would like help turning your brand’s identity around, give us a shout.