Crafting Your Own Brand Narrative
When doing a competitor analysis, you shouldn’t aim to out right copy what they’re doing. You’ve probably heard that there’s no such thing as an original idea anymore because everything has already been done.
Austin Kleon’s ‘Steal Like An Artist’ suggests that you not only look to your competitors but go one step further, researching who they’ve pulled ideas from as well. When you collate all the information from several different sources, you’ll be able to form your own opinions around the subject matter.
By ‘stealing like an artist’ you can quickly pick apart what others are getting wrong and gain clarity when coming up with your own solutions. This remixing of ideas can lead you to a better way of producing content.
Who are your competitors? They’re people going after the same market as yourself. Companies that sell similar products or services.
1. Finding your rivals
Get on your search engine of choice and search for keywords or phrases that you use yourself. The aim should be to find 6-8 competitors that are in the same market. Searching specifically for the top x in your geographical location can sometimes reveal articles and posts regarding them as well.
2. Competitor analysis
Look specifically at the videos that your competitors are putting out and assess the following:
- Which subjects are they covering?
- Which meta data and naming conventions are they using?
- Which videos are getting the most views/ engagement?
- Which videos are getting the least views/ engagement?
- Do they have a narrative structure running through their videos?
- Is their brand voice clear and what is it saying?
- What’s their posting schedule, have they got any other forms of content going out with the video?
- How are they positioning themselves in the market? High end, low end, somewhere in the middle?
- Are they using funnels, if how are they structured?
You can go further with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
3. Analysing video
When analysing individual videos there are a couple of aspects to focus on.
- The Hook: On social media platforms sometimes, you only have a couple of seconds to grab a viewer’s attention. Did the video do enough to make you stop scrolling?
- Attention: Did you make it all the way through without getting bored? If no, why not? At which point did you lose interest?
- Uniqueness: Does it feel like a generic video or is it doing something differently?
- Relatable: Is it the right video for their brand, is it communicating well with their target audience?
- Brand Awareness: How prominent is their brand in the video?
4. How to position yourself
On occasion you may find that there’s a gap in the market which you have the potential to fill.
Sometimes exploring other industries that have similarities to your own can spur on ideas. You may be able to pull parallels that others aren’t looking for.
5. Stalk their social
What are people saying about them, if there are any negatives can you come up with your own solution as a fix for your own video?
Which social media sites are they posting to? When are they uploading? Do they respond to comments? Are they posting other kinds of content or just video?
Being Clear On Your Own Brand
It makes sense to have your own set of values and beliefs as a brand so that you don’t become a mimic of someone else’s.
1. What are your values?
What do you want to achieve, what are your goals, what problems are you trying to overcome? What changes do you want to make to the world around you?
2. What do you have to offer?
You want to position yourself as a brand that solves the problems of your target audience. Which means putting yourself in their shoes. Which obstacles do they come up against in life, how would they go about solving them?
How will your brand help guide the audience out of the darkness? How can you be relatable?
Focus on what makes them think and feel, often brands can try and sell their audience on the features of their product or service. Customers often don’t care about the specs they just want results to a problem they’re up against. Aim to improve the lives of your audience and they’ll respond.
Psychologist Carl Jung theorised that humans use symbolism to understand complex concepts. When it comes to brands there are twelve archetypes:
- The Innocent: Exhibits happiness, goodness, optimism, safety, romance and youth. (Coca-Cola, Nintendo Wii, Dove)
- The Everyman: Seeks connections and belonging; is recognised as supportive, faithful and down-to-earth. (IKEA, Home Depot, eBay)
- The Hero: On a mission to make the world a better place, the Hero is courageous, bold, inspirational. (Nike, BMW, Duracell)
- The Rebel: Questions authority and breaks the rules; the Rebel craves rebellion and revolution. (Virgin, Harley-Davidson, Diesel)
- The Explorer: Finds inspiration in travel, risk, discovery, and the thrill of new experiences. (Jeep, Red Bull, REI)
- The Creator: Imaginative, inventive and driven to build things of enduring meaning and value. (Lego, Crayola, Adobe)
- The Ruler: Creates order from chaos, the Ruler is typically controlling and stern, yet responsible and organised. (Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, British Airways)
- The Magician: Wishes to create something special and make dreams a reality, the Magician is seen as a visionary and spiritual. (Apple, Disney, Absolut)
- The Lover: Creates intimate moments, inspires love, passion, romance and commitment. (Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Haagen Dazs)
- The Caregiver: Protects and cares for others, is compassionate, nurturing and generous. (Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s Soup, UNICEF)
- The Jester: Brings joy to the world through humour, fun, irreverence and often likes to make some mischief. (Old Spice, Ben & Jerry’s, M&Ms)
- The Sage: Committed to helping the world gain deeper insight and wisdom, the Sage serves as the thoughtful mentor or advisor. (Google, PBS, Philips)
If you’re able to fit your own brand into one or two of these categories you can start to form your brand voice which will set the tone of the stories you’d like to tell.