Is your competition the competition?

Do you really know your competition?


One thing I notice often in my work is a huge misunderstanding around a brand’s competition. Sometimes I feel businesses don’t appreciate who their competition actually is. This post is all about asking the question: Is your competition the competition? The real competition. The actual things your brand is competing about. Does this make no sense? Read on.


Most of my projects always begin with a discovery phase. Typically there is always the question of who a brand's competitors are. I ask for a list of these at the start of most projects and usually, I get a set of businesses my client feels are their competition. But are they?


The problem is this: businesses often look at competition from their own perspective. They see themselves in established market places and eco-systems. But they forget that this is their perspective. The perspective of people who have an in-depth knowledge of who else offers something similar to them.


Who (or what) is the real competition?

The dictionary has this as a definition for competition:

"The activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others". (https://www.lexico.com/definition/competition)

The question, of course, is what are you competing over?