How to Create a Competitor Landscape Analysis Fast

Harvey Rañola |
 02/10/22 |
6 min read

How to Create a Competitor Landscape Analysis Fast

Competitive intelligence is all about sharpening your brand’s situational awareness. These days, if you’re not using everything at your disposal to elevate your market understanding of the players within your category, you’re toast.

Innovative brands save themselves a lot of frustration by turning over every stone in pursuit of competitive intelligence that they can leverage. Relying on guesswork and intuition is out, and getting the lowdown on the competition using artificial intelligence is in. To that end, we’ll explore how to create a competitor landscape analysis fast so you get your brand behind the eight ball.

Specifically, we’ll focus on:

  • What a competitor landscape analysis is
  • Steps for pulling off a successful landscape analysis

Before we get going, here are a few stats that lend context to the discussion:

  • 90% of Fortune 500 companies use big data analytics to maintain a competitive advantage.
  • According to Crayon’s recent State of Competitive Intelligence Report, 84% of brands indicate their category has grown more competitive over the past few years.
  • Just 6% of brands said competitiveness in their industry remained the same. 8% said it was somewhat less competitive, while only 2% said it was much less competitive.

Your competitors will never quit gunning for more market share. A competitor landscape analysis is an ace up your sleeve to ensure they never catch you off guard.

What is a Competitor Landscape Analysis?

A competitor landscape analysis is research that yields comprehensive competitive intelligence into your competition and the industry in which you operate. The goal is to capture data from multiple angles using your data analytics tools to eliminate competitive blind spots surrounding your brand.

A thorough competitor landscape analysis pulls intel from company financials, patents, news media coverage, and social listening to provide coverage from multiple angles. Not only does doing so raise your situational awareness, but it also provides insights into several key areas, including:

  • Investigate major competitors and identify potential disruptors
  • Understand your competitions’ strengths and weaknesses
  • Use natural language processing (NLP) to scrutinize competitor’s consumer-facing language and messaging
  • Identify threats and white space opportunities within your category
  • Discover what’s driving each of your competitor’s audience perceptions

You can level up your industry viewpoint and competitive intelligence with a well-run competitor landscape analysis. And the thing is – you can do so relatively quickly. Let’s hit some of the high points to ensure you have the best perspective possible on your category!

Steps for a Successful Competitor Landscape Analysis

1. Harness the Power of Social Listening

Social media offers a wealth of intel you can use to inform your competitor landscape analysis. As always, it’s helpful to cast a wide net for an overall view of your industry, so you see how the global conversation is playing out currently. Wide-angle social listening will ensure you have a snapshot of what’s top of mind with social media users talking about your category. It’s also a great way to spot potentially disruptive brands, products, and trends.

Running a query on an industry lets us quickly see the trending sub-topics driving traction on social. Coloring the results by sentiment gives us an even better viewpoint, so we know which topics are pain points and which are meeting a need.

Here’s what that looks like using the fast-food industry as an example:


Top fifteen themes discussed about fast-food category on social media. 12/26/21-1/26/22

Narrowing further, we can create a dashboard that compares the social media discussions revolving around your competitors. Don’t forget to include any up-and-comers you may have discovered in the general conversation.

Your social listening tools should allow you to set up a comparative analysis between these brands and dissect many aspects of the conversation. For starters, you definitely want to grab the summary metrics to track volume and sentiment over time.


Summary social media metrics for three competing fast-food restaurant chains. 12/26/21-1/26/22

Part of the reason for creating a competitor landscape analysis is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Social listening gives you a leg up in this area by illuminating the differences in consumer perceptions in each competitor’s social narrative.

For instance, you can compare timeline movements in mentions, posts, and potential impressions to identify where your competitors are scoring marketing wins. You can also dissect the nature of their social conversation for an understanding of top terms, hashtags, alternative brand mentions, people, demographics, geographies, sentiment drivers, and leading consumer behaviors mentioned.


Sentiment drivers and consumer behaviors for three competing fast-food chicken chains. 12/26/21-1/26/22

When you’re done, you should have a thorough knowledge of social media talking points in your industry. You should also have a comparison between your rivals and a keen understanding of the differences inherent in each brand.

2. Capture your Industry’s Media Narrative

How your brand, competitors, and industry are portrayed in the news matters. Your competitor landscape analysis should include a snapshot of media attention showing how traditional media outlets cover your category.

Like the social listening aspect we just covered, an industry-level media analysis shows the top talking points and how your competition plays a part. Sometimes the media narrative mirrors the social discussion, and sometimes it’s wildly different. However, each side exerts influence on the other. After all, the media will quit covering something if no one’s reading it. As such, grabbing news media intelligence ensures you have a comprehensive understanding of both sides of the online coin.

In the case of the fast-food industry, traditional media is heavily skewed towards covering work accidents and crime compared to social. It’s an issue on social too – but nowhere near this big. We can also see that the media narrative shares similarities with the social discussion in areas such as labor, vaccinations, plant-based options, and the ubiquitous chicken sandwich.


US media coverage of the fast-food industry. 1/21-2/22

From here, you have a jumping-off point to sort for top sources, journalists, companies mentioned, locations, etc., to understand the chemical composition of your industry narrative.

Additionally, you can include targeted media mentions just around your competitors of interest and slice and dice the media coverage for tailored insights. That way, your competitor landscape analysis includes both a broad and granular vantage point.

3. Take the Financial Temperature of your Category

Aggregating company financial data on your entire industry gives your brand a healthy perspective of all the moving parts within. Explore top companies, IPOs, M&A, investors, operating status, etc., to illuminate who’s doing what – and where.

In this example, we’ve once again pulled in fast food restaurant chains to find 894 total companies with a median investment received of $4.3M. Capturing timeline intel alone is an excellent perspective for your competitor landscape analysis.

For example, here’s a timeline view showing private investment volume in fast food over the past few years – and, of course, you should investigate the movement relevant to your brand category to see what your competitors are up to. That goes double for companies involved in disruptive emerging trends like the plant-based food company highlighted below.


Company dataset timeline showing private investment in fast-food brands. 2012-2021

4. Explore the Patent Data Surrounding your Industry

Brands and institutions don’t just collect investments and rest on their laurels. Generally, a good portion of that capital is earmarked for R&D. At least, those are the brands you are really concerned with in your competitor landscape analysis.

You can go two routes here. Either do a top-level assessment of patent activity in your industry for a broad focal point or isolate patents according to emerging trends you want to explore. If you want the most comprehensive outlook – do both.

Since interest in healthy fast-food options and plant-based alternatives is growing in the social discussion, here’s a timeline view of patent activity for plant-based meat. We find 35 patents, along with inventors, companies, and filing locations, applied for over the past five years, with the majority occurring since March 2020.


Patent activity for plant-based meat alternatives. 2017-2022

The goal of your competitor landscape analysis is to better understand the market conditions you and your competitors are operating in. For the quickest overview, keep your searches broad in each of these areas for maximum coverage. You can always dive into specific interests down the road.

A competitor landscape analysis helps minimize surprises for your brand and spot white space opportunities before the competition. Reach out for a demo, and we’ll upgrade your competitive intelligence with next-generation data analytics.

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