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  • Writer's pictureSelina Bolton

How to map your competitive position

Your competitive position should tell potential and current customers who you are, what you do best, what you care about, and why you get up in the morning.

Your competitive position is how customers perceive your brand and service compared to others’. It’s unique to your business and it’s what encourages someone to visit your website or premises instead of another.

Being known simply for low prices or award-winning customer service is valuable, but difficult to maintain in a highly competitive market. It will never be unique to your business, and competitors could easily match or overtake you.

Your competitive position should tell potential and current customers who you are, what you do best, what you care about, and why you get up in the morning.

Why develop your competitive position:

  • Differentiate your business from the competition.

  • Carve out a niche instead of competing for broad appeal.

  • Marketing and advertising will have a clear, definable purpose.

  • Potential customers will clearly understand what you can do for them.

  • You’ll build a loyal client base that trusts you to deliver what they need.

Having a specific, identifiable competitive position can make your business more profitable, cement your reputation as an impactful innovator, and retain valuable customers.

Look for gaps and opportunities in your market

The first business to notice and use an unexploited opportunity can experience significant growth. Your market doesn’t have to be particularly new or untapped – there are always customers looking for a brand to provide something more efficient, affordable, comprehensive, or higher quality. What’s missing from your sector? Transparency? Speed? A range of price points? Your business could provide a product, approach, or service no one else does.

What do customers currently struggle with? Your customers’ buying process takes them down a path, from becoming interested to converting. There are challenges throughout, and you can make them easier.

What could your business be better at? Identify what could be more efficient, persuasive, refined, or generally improved. This includes customer communications, marketing strategies, sales processes, and business technology. If it doesn’t fit with your competitive position, it needs to change.

Be niche and identifiable

Your business’ competitive position and brand identity need to be specific so your customers can recognise you instantly, and understand what you offer.

Customers are more likely to notice you, pay attention to your proposition, and want to buy. Crucially, they’re also more likely to make word-of-mouth recommendations, because they can clearly articulate what they like about your business.

Broad appeal doesn’t guarantee high value sales

It’s easy to assume that appealing to more people guarantees plenty of business. It’s actually very difficult to hold onto even a small share of the market with a generic offering that could easily be shared or bettered by a competitor.

Being general dilutes your competitive position. You might see an uptake in page views on your website, but those visitors are less likely to convert.

How to carve out your niche:

  • Assess your competition. Your competitors leave gaps that you could fill, such as faster response times, higher quality products and services, or expert advice.

  • Define your brand identity and positioning. Using the same branding, design, and tone of voice keeps your brand consistent, which helps you position yourself in even the most crowded market.

  • Roll it out business-wide. Everyone in an organisation has an impact on a brand’s competitive position, from sales staff to marketing assistants. It’s management’s job to make sure brand values are always there, driving productivity in every department.

A niche competitive position is impactful and easy to identify. Unfamiliar customers will have a reason to pay attention to you and become a qualified customer.

Be consistent with your customers

The most iconic brands assert their competitive position constantly, from typography and colour schemes, to sales and marketing strategies. This is how potential customers learn to recognise and trust you.

The power of reliability

Consistent branding equates to consistent service for many customers, as well as professionalism, trustworthiness, and quality.

  • You’ll differentiate yourself in a crowded market.

  • Your future and current customers will remember you.

  • Encourages loyalty and ‘brand evangelism’.

  • Helps you position your brand in the right price range.

  • Ensures marketing and advertising is targeted and effective.

Competitive positioning and branding may seem like it’s the domain of large businesses with a large budget, but it’s just as vital for SMEs and startups to assert themselves in their chosen market.

Define your position early and your target audience will respond positively to your branding, sales, and marketing.

Owning your competitive position

Mapping out your competitive position is an essential process and helps you to create valuable relationships with customers. When your customer base trusts you and wants to invest in your products and services, it will be reflected in your revenue.

When you’ve carved out your niche and developed your competitive position, a meaningful business valuable assessment can help you understand the true value of your company.

For an in-depth conversation about how you can improve profit in your business, get in touch.

Take the time to stop and objectively assess where your business stands today and identify the actions to take to grow your business successfully.


Selina Bolton is a business strategist and the founder of Seed.Partners; a mergers & acquisitions firm specialising in attracting investment and creating opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses to scale and build value at pace.

Contact Us to find out how we can partner with you to accelerate your business growth.

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