How can we look at competitors differently?

One of the things we like to do is identify the dominant stories associated with a brand and find out what other things in culture do people use or associate with that story. Here’s an example.

A leading teen clothing retailer noticed that his same-store sales were slipping quarter to quarter. The CMO didn’t notice any dramatic changes to what the other teen clothing retailers were doing. What was going on?

Cell phones.

For teens, clothing was a story about increasing social standing and looking up-to-date. For a long time, clothing was the tool to show that. Then cell phones came along. Having the latest cool cell phone was a better way to show off. It was a better costume element for a dominant teen story.

The teen clothing retailer never knew he was competing with cell phones because he thought about clothing before he thought about the stories of his customers.

We work with a tool called GPERS (pronounced gee-pers) that helps identify the stories associated with your brand. From there it isn’t hard to generate lots of new and more insightful ways of identifying your brand’s true competitive position.

"How can we look at competitors differently?" by Scott
Posted in Questions Collaborators Answer on Sunday, February 13th, 2011