Staying competitive in any market means you have to know what’s going on around you. Is there an area where your competition is absolutely crushing it? If so, keeping an ear open with social media analysis and sentiment analytics will help you get to the bottom of the story. Once you do, you can form your strategy to capture a larger share of voice.
Here, we’ll explore what it looks like to find those conversations using Quid Social with a focus on:
- Consumer conversation rarely matching assumptions
- Where the competitions’ consumers are talking in relation to yours
- Finding missed opportunities to capitalize on
We’ll explore these topics using the fast-food industry as an example, so here are a few related statistics as a primer.
- Globally, the fast-food industry is expected to achieve a CAGR of 4.6% through 2027, which would mean a market cap of $931.7B by the end of the period.
- Drive-through ordering is a hallmark of fast-food restaurants that helped save the day during the pandemic. By December of last year, they counted for 44% of off-premise orders across the entire restaurant industry.
- In the U.S., total revenue in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry dropped in 2020 to $239B from $273B in 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the aim of putting your competitive intelligence in action, let’s jump in and find the conversations that will take us there.
Consumer Conversation Reality Rarely Matches Assumptions
If understanding what the consumer is thinking was easy, social listening wouldn’t be a priority for brands. Just because something hasn’t passed our field of vision in a while doesn’t mean it’s not happening or ongoing.
When Popeyes launched their chicken sandwich, it became an unexplainable phenomenon. People went crazy to get their hands on one, and short supply drove interest higher. A good deal of time has passed since then, and if chicken sandwiches aren’t on your radar, you’d be forgiven for thinking that people have moved on. They haven’t.
Popeyes really forced the whole fast food industry to change their chicken sandwich lmaooooo
— stegan the mallion (@thisiskashmir) March 2, 2021
Now, a brief analysis of the general fast-food conversation over the last thirty days reveals that when it comes to share of voice, McDonald’s has the top spot by a considerable margin. That’s not surprising, but if we switch gears and explore fast-food chicken sandwiches, we see a different story. Contention in the space has grown prolific, with brands introducing new products with regularity in the quest for share of voice.
Capturing the Crowd
And that’s the point of using social media analyses for competitive intelligence to find where competitors own parts of the conversation. Suffice it to say; the chicken sandwich wars are not over. Popeyes still maintains conversational dominance carrying 7.7% of the crowded discussion, as we can see in our Quid Social analysis below.
The chicken wars took a little breather at the beginning of the year, but it’s steadily grown in volume since then. Popeyes changed the landscape with their chicken sandwich, and now everyone is on the scene trying to get a piece of the consumer’s attention. Will one of their competitors take away their crown? Time will tell, but whatever the parallel conversation is in your industry, competitive intelligence built on sentiment analytics is how you inform and grow your share of voice.
Where They Are vs. Where You Are
Just because most of your brand mentions might happen on Twitter doesn’t mean your competitor’s mentions are the same. For reasons that aren’t always obvious, sometimes a competitor’s mentions on Reddit or other platforms may outshine their Twitter mentions.
In the chicken sandwich conversation over the last three months, forums account for the highest volume at 38%, followed by Twitter at 32% and blogs at 24%. Tumblr is an honorable mention here at almost 5% but dies off entirely at the end of February.
Understanding the distinction of where your competition’s customers are speaking in relation to your own is critical. If you’re trying to understand why they’re owning a segment of your space, you need to know how the conversation differs from your own. For example, though forums are hosting most of the discussion on chicken sandwiches, McDonald’s mentions lean heavily into Twitter. Several of their competitors lean elsewhere.
Digging into the conversations around the competition can be a wealth of information that sheds light on how their customers feel. Popeyes has many fans on Reddit, and much of the conversations revolve around comparisons to other brand’s offerings.
Popeyes might not be the biggest fish in the QSR pond, but they’re tenacious with their marketing and are seemingly everywhere. Here’s a fan post that got a lot of traction in the Wall Street Bets subreddit as the GameStop drama unfolded.
So, if you want to beat the competition, you have to find where they’re getting traction – and beat them at their own game.
Finding Tasty Morsels and Missed Opportunities to Woo Customers Away
No matter how thick the competition is in a space, there have to be opportunities somewhere. Finding white space in a crowded environment can be challenging but keeping an open mind to global trends is the right way to go. As they say – when in doubt, zoom out.
Keeping tabs on emerging trends on the macro scale helps to keep things in perspective. What is society keen on at this point in the pandemic? Sustainability, healthy living, clean eating and an itch to travel are just a few. Can we tie a chicken sandwich to any of those?
Undoubtedly, the first player to bring a vegan chicken sandwich that resonates with the masses will score major points with a burgeoning demographic. And as spring unfolds and more people have access to vaccinations, more and more travelers will hit the road after being pent up all winter.
Vegans travel too and characteristically have a more challenging time finding restaurants to accommodate them. Is there a viable market for a crispy vegan chicken sandwich? Probably, as vegan conversations are apparent in our chicken sandwich analysis after you clear away the meat-eaters.
Of course, this is just one example of trying to think outside of the box in adding value to a crowded space. When searching for white space or first-mover opportunities, tying your options back to existing trend lines ensures the prospect has the potential for traction.
Is there a product or service in your space that the competition is dominating? Competitive intelligence built on social media listening and sentiment analytics can help you figure out their strengths and weaknesses. It also reveals areas where you can creatively add value to the space. Reach out for a demo, and we’ll help you pull back the curtain on the competition.