When developing your brand’s marketing plan, an important step – whether formally or informally – is to conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, or SWOT, Analysis. Thorough research and communication into the market environment informs how you can position your brand to stand out from competitors and have a unique edge with your target audience.

SWOT analysis:

Identifies your brand’s competitive advantages.

The first step of a SWOT analysis, pinpointing strengths, gives insight into the competitive advantages of your brand. Identifying what makes your product or service better than competitors or new to the market will direct your approach to branding. By focusing on strengths and differentiators in marketing and public relations materials, a brand carves out space in its market and in the minds of its target audience. Cooksey Communications makes it a priority to build these points of difference into our key public messages, especially in saturated, competitive industries like commercial real estate and law firms.

Informs your issues management strategy.

Defining brand weaknesses and threats is a critical step in developing issues management strategy. If you’ve already researched potential brand pitfalls, you can proactively prepare for any crises and have messaging readily available. Taking these steps early in the marketing planning process ensures you can get ahead of problems and positively influence the public conversations surrounding your brand. Threats can emerge both internally and externally, so be sure to consider potential issues from all angles. From staff mistakes to natural disasters to political turmoil, think through anything that could negatively impact your brand or your ability to provide consumers with your good or service. This step is especially important for our municipal and economic development clients. The political and economic climate is so polarized and changes so quickly, being prepared for any issue or crisis is essential for productivity and effectiveness.

Gives you a realistic view of the market.

A SWOT analysis provides a realistic outlook on your brand’s opportunity for success and allows you to dig deep into its current or future environment. Not only do you learn more about competitors, your brand advantages and potential threats and issues facing your brand, you can also identify opportunities to capture market share and expand your presence. Finding niche or untapped markets and then properly communicating the right message to those consumers is key to successful branding. Conducting the analysis gives you both a big picture and detailed view of the market and where your brand could fit to make connections with people. For example, we utilize the extensive trade publication network for our professional services clients to have direct access to their target market for opportunities from highly specialized consumers.

There’s a reason SWOT Analysis is a longstanding component of marketing research and planning. Even more, the analytical tool can be applied to a variety of ongoing tasks and is useful in the day-to-day management of brands. The seemingly simple, four-step process gives valuable insights and a holistic view of what your brand is up against – both the good and the bad.

Cooksey Staff