4.11 Strategy Component Competition

The section on the strategy component competition is divided into the areas of

  • Basics: here you will learn the basics of the strategy components and the derivation of their content. That is this issue.
  • Application: here you will learn the derivation by means of an exemplary procedure (method). You can find this area as a separate topic here.
  • Interactions: this topic deals with the fundamental interactions within the strategy components.
  • Exercises: here you practice the derivation on your own example(s). In the coaching package of the online course you will receive feedback, suggestions and criticism on your exercises. You can find the exercises here.

The learning objective of the topic is to

  • Understand competition and its design as part of social media strategy.
  • be able to derive the contents of the strategy component from the defined strategy and the contents of other strategy components.

Reading time: approx. 15 minutes

Exercises: Exercises are in the PDF of all exercises of this course. Download it from here.

Basics

Definition of the strategy component

The strategy component Competition describes the design of competition within the social media strategy. It defines the competitiveness of our social media strategy for markets and topics, social media effects and social media usage formats and makes their strengths and weaknesses visible.

Significance of the competition strategy component

The strategy component Competition has practical value within strategy development and as guidance for the daily use of social media.

Strategy component Competition in strategy development

The strategy component competition provides a permanent quickly available overview of the cornerstones and contents of competitiveness and thus ensures the competitiveness of the strategy – provided that the strategy component is always understood and used as a benchmark for other strategy components and the strategy definition as a whole. The strategic importance of the strategy component competition thus lies in ensuring the competitiveness of the strategy and thus the success of the strategy.

Due to this property, the strategy component has corresponding interactions with the other strategy components – including usage format(s). In practice, this means that we measure the content/quality of the other strategy components against the requirements/content of the competition strategy component. If the content of other strategy components deviates from the requirements of the competition strategy component, this can jeopardize the competitiveness of the strategy as a whole.

In addition, we also summarize in the strategy component Competition how we will actively shape competition with performance and attention competitors.

Strategy component competition in daily work in social media

There is hardly any other area of our lives where the dynamics of change are as high as in social media. In order to quickly and comprehensively identify changes and their impact on our social media use / strategy, the strategy component Competition helps. It includes and describes

  • the basis of the competitiveness of our strategy and thus makes it easier to understand and classify the effects of a change more quickly.
  • the design of the competition i. R. our social media strategy.

Requirements for the content of the strategy component competition

The strategy component competition should describe at least the following contents

  • Competitive situation (attention and performance competitors)
  • Shaping the competitiveness of the company in social media
  • Competitive goals of our social media strategy
    • what position we want to achieve in the competition in social media and
    • what position we want to achieve in the competition through social media.
  • Methods, measures and content with which we achieve our competitive goals through social media .
  • identifiable resource needs for the content of the strategy component.
  • Assumptions and prerequisite underlying the contents of the strategy component.
  • identifiable opportunities and risks from the content of the strategy component.
  • interactions that we need to pay special attention to.

Competitive situation

We hold the competitive situation for performance competitors and attention competitors. To do this, we use the subject areas and the competitive situation within the subject areas. Topic areas offer the advantage of representing a more finely structured situation of competition in one or more markets. This approach provides a more precise picture of the competitive situation and thus facilitates a more precise definition of the options for action for the respective market or markets. Thanks to the use of subject areas, we can act in a more targeted manner and thus more economically and promisingly.

Shaping competitiveness

We shape the competitiveness of our social media use / social media strategy via the content and focus of the individual strategy components. Once again, we operate at the level of the markets – in the form of the subject areas. For competitiveness, the strategy components in particular are

  • Usage formats
  • User benefit
  • Participation.
  • Motivation.
  • Communication
  • Social media channels

relevant. We examine the current competitiveness – or the competitiveness of an existing social media strategy using the approach described below. For the initial design, we use the competitive positions of the relevant performance and attention competitors to derive the content.

The goal of this approach is to ensure competitiveness in social media through the content of the above strategy components. In other words, we define the content that the individual strategy components must deliver in order to be competitive, i.e. to be able to compete.

Note

We can define competitiveness by the status quo or by an added performance of our strategy components that exceeds the performance of the competition. In favor of the second approach is the fact that we are shaping the future with our strategy and that the competitors’ approaches in the future will not necessarily correspond to the present.

In principle, we have the opportunity to align all strategy components to superior competitiveness – where this is possible. However, we must then also be able to provide this alignment in the long term. For resource reasons, it may well make sense to focus on the essential factors in this design as well. Material factors are those most relevant to the company’s success and / or those factors in which we can generate competitive advantages in the first place.

Methods, measures and contents

The measures we use to shape competition can be found in the respective strategy components. In the Competitiveness strategy component, we subject these measures to competitive performance testing and adjust them – in the respective strategy components – if this should be necessary to ensure the competitiveness of the strategy as a whole.

Note

The methods, measures and content that we list in the Competitiveness strategy component are taken from the content of the strategy components that we use to shape competitiveness. This is by design. This gives us an overview in the strategy component Competition of how we want to ensure the competitiveness of social media use / social media strategy in very concrete terms. Use this advantage once for a critical look at whether the listed contents are really promising. And also use this overview for regular reviews of the competitiveness of your own strategy – and these, if possible, before the market gives you cause to do so. So take a look at this overview again and again in a period defined by you, but also when something changes in the behavior of relevant competitors.

Interactions of the strategy component competition

Strategy components influence each other. In order for our strategy to work, we make sure that the individual strategy components do not hinder each other but, in the best case, support each other. We take into account that strategy components can have interactions with several strategy components.

By competitive reactions we mean the possible reactions of competitors to our social media strategy. Here we deal with reactions that have an impact on the effect of our strategy components topics, user benefits, usage formats, participation, motivation and social media channels.

The goal is to recognize,

  • what impact competitive reactions can have on the effect of our strategy
  • how we can respond to likely competitive reactions.
  • to align our strategy in such a way that it can be affected as little as possible by competitive reactions.

Understand this approach as a way to develop powerful social media strategies. It’s a bit like chess with strategy. A player who can think the game three moves ahead has an advantage over a player who thinks only one move ahead. The fact that things then always turn out the way you thought they would is a classic error in strategy. The benefit and advantage lies in the fact that one recognizes and understands more alternatives and can assess the effect of reactions better and faster.

Usage

As mentioned, the strategy component competition should at least describe the following contents

  • Competitive situation (attention and performance competitors)
  • Competitiveness: what competitive performance/quality our strategy components include.
  • Assumptions and prerequisite underlying the contents of the strategy component.

Below we look at the practical application of the strategy component.

Mapping of the competitive situation

We summarize the competitive situation in this strategy component. For this we define

  • the performance competitors in social media with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • the attention competitors in social media with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • the topics in which we shape the competition.
  • the requirements that are recognizable from the competitive situation.

Shaping competitiveness

Next, we examine the competitive quality of our social media strategy. Of course, we can only do this if the relevant strategy components have already been developed. In this case, we take the contents of the following strategy components and compare them to the current competitive situation

  • User benefit
  • Contents and topics.
  • Communication
  • Motivation.
  • Participation.
  • Channels

Competitive quality UserBenefits are developed from the user’s perspective. That is, we determine the attractiveness for the targeted users.

Based on the competitive quality of our social media strategy and the existing competitive situation, we can once again critically review our social media strategy – in particular, whether it seems sufficiently competitive.

The steps to do this

  • We have defined what the initial situation in competition looks like(actual situation competition).
  • we have defined the measures with which we intend to shape competition in our strategy(competitive performance strategy).
  • We compare the competitive situation (in the individual strategy components) and our content and check whether we are competitive – in the individual strategy components.(Examination of competitive performance Strategy)
  • If we identify weaknesses in the competitiveness of individual strategy components or their measures, we have to correct these weaknesses, i.e. adjust the measures accordingly(adjustment of weak competitive performance).
  • If we are satisfied with our overall competitiveness, we check the sustainability of our competitive performance by examining how easily competitive advantages from our measures can be offset or surpassed by competitors.

Work templates (examples)

Below are some examples of possible working templates for each step.

Competitive situation future strategy / strategy version and current competitive performance of the competition. Here we compare the content of the core strategy components of our future strategy / a strategy version with the content of the competition currently active in the market.

We compare the performance of our strategy / strategy version with the best performance of the competition. We take into account that the competitive performance is always the current status quo, which can change at any time – especially due to new competitive performance.

We take our content from our strategy / strategy version. We develop the contents of the competition through appropriate analyses.

Competitive situation – individual competitor

With this working template we record the competitive situation with a specific competitor. These can be performance competitors as well as attention competitors. We develop the overview of the competitive situation especially for the most important competitors as a whole or the most important competitors for specific market areas / topics.

We take the corresponding contents from our planned strategy and the currently existing competitive situation.

Competitive situation – overview

An overview of the competition in the core components of our strategy is helpful both for reviewing the content of our own strategy and for assessing the competitive situation as a whole, and not least for evaluating the competitive quality of our own strategy.

For this overview, we summarize the performance of relevant competitors in the core components of their social media strategies. We always keep in mind that this overview covers the current status quo and that this competition can change at any time.

Assumptions and prerequisites

Assumptions and prerequisites are as individual as the situation of the company and its competition. Nevertheless, there are some more or less typical sources of conscious and unconscious assumptions and presuppositions, as the following examples show:
  • Behavior of the competition: we estimate the behavior of the competition. Mostly based on past behavior. This may have worked for years, but it is not safe in the long run. Define these assumptions, but also define criteria and points that indicate that this assumption is no longer as certain as it was before.
  • User behavior: People don’t really like to change their behavior very often. And yet it happens. So, let’s better define on what user behavior our competitiveness is built as well as possible signs of its change.
  • Competitive structures: we know the competition with our performance competitors. This is an established situation. We’re just getting used to competing with attention-grabbing competitors. This is still more or less uncharted territory. What we also have to get used to is the competition for attention with social media users. If social media users are actively engaging the same topic areas in which we as a company would like to see ourselves as the most important source, this changes competitive structures and is probably not in line with our assumptions about the development of competition.
Dealing with assumptions and prerequisites

One example of such not-at-all-surprising changes that people nevertheless fail to keep in mind is the emergence of social media users as attention-grabbing competitors. Social media users become competitors for attention in our subject areas if they attract attention to their subject area with their own content – outside our social media presence. For example, a very convinced BMW fan in Turkey has received more attention from users for his fan page in Facebook than BMW Turkey. If we are active in a market or topic area with high user engagement or for a lovebrand, we should not only consider this possibility, but actively work with it. Ultimately, it is only a risk if we have not taken advantage of the opportunity in it, which lies, for example, in constructively involving these particularly enthusiastic fans and users.

Opportunities and risks for successfully shaping competition arise from changes in behavior in the market – among users and companies. Or through changes in the behavior of competitors – through new impulses, new minds, new strategies. That’s why it makes perfect sense to keep an eye out for signs of possible changes in the competition – especially in the area of personnel.

Example Work Template for Competitive Situation Assumptions

It is highly recommended to think about possible / probable reactions of the competition to the content of a strategy. Once to view the own content from the competitive situation and to optimize the quality of the own content. We record our assumptions for competitive situations in our strategy component in order to be able to test our assessment based on the competitive reaction.

Depending on the competitive situation, we can apply this assessment holistically or for individual competitors.

Competitive Reactions

We develop relevant competitive reactions by considering how a competitor could or should react to the content of our social media strategy.

Work step 1: I.e. we note down the contents of the strategy components topics, user benefits, usage formats, participation, motivation, social media channels and compare our contents with possible counter-contents.

Step 2: Once we are sure that we have identified all competitive responses, we consider what impact these competitive responses can be expected to have on the impact of our strategy content. We record and justify our assessment of these impacts.

Work step 3: Where we can identify negative effects on our strategy content, we define our possible counter-reactions and justify whether, how and to what extent we can reduce or prevent negative effects with these countermeasures.

Work step 4:

We examine how we can strengthen the intended content of our social media strategy components for these possible competitive reactions, for example, by anticipating counter-creations in the content of the strategy and designing the content in such a way that these counter-actions can have less or no effect.

Below are some notes on these steps.

Work step 2: Of course, there is always the risk that we do not anticipate competitive reactions and are surprised by them. This residual risk will always remain. But it is better to deal with recognizable competitive reactions in advance than to wait and see what happens.

Step 3: the impact of competitive reactions always depends on how users react to them. The British maxim applies here: prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Work step 4: price in possible competitive reactions sounds simple, but it’s certainly not.

Examples

Topics: If, after our strategy has been implemented, competitors focus on additional topics which our strategy addresses but which have not yet been used by the respective competition, we can assume that the competition is following suit, and we should make sure that possible open competitive positions are used by the competition. I.e. in this case we should try to secure these open positions.

User benefits: if competitors rely on the same user benefits but have a better starting position – for example, due to their greater reach in social media – we have to check whether we are still competitive with the same user benefits. This competitiveness may be based – in the case of a tie in UserBenefit – on structural or otherwise durable competitive advantages in the remaining core strategy elements.

Usage formats: if competitors manage to respond to our social media strategy by tying with a better competitive position or by using a more powerful usage format, we have left a large gap in our strategy development in the form of an open competitive position. At best, we can counter this structural competitive disadvantage by catching up in the usage format and by gaining additional advantages in the other core strategy components.