The preparation of a brand's communication strategy or the launch of a PR campaign are impossible without benchmarking — the stage of monitoring and studying the experience of competitors.
Essentially, it is a measurement technique that involves comparing a company’s KPIs over a certain period to those of competitors and using the results to improve its position.
Recommendations for benchmarking
• Establish several main goals of benchmarking or highlight problems that it will help your company solve;
• Prepare a list of competitors for comparison. Make sure to include not only market leaders but also those who are rapidly developing, as one of them might soon become your new competitor;
• Identify key parameters for comparison with competitors. They should be clear and measurable.
Possible tasks of benchmarking in PR
1. To increase the presence in the publications of Ukrainian mass media
A regional milk company is opening an office in Kyiv. It wants to increase its presence in publications of popular Ukrainian mass media and make the brand recognizable.
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In order to achieve its goals, the milk company monitors the media, then compares its media effectiveness with competitors, forms a list of key media for further placement, and evaluates the style and subject matter of the most popular publications.
2. To assess the reputation of the candidate running for mayor
A famouse city businessman is planning to run for mayor of its city from a newly created political party. He owns several restaurants downtown and a stake in one of the top construction companies in the region. The media often write about him.
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You can conduct a reputation audit to assess the candidate's image and to find out how the key mass media see him in comparison to competitors. The received data will help address the weaknesses and prepare key messages for distribution in the media in the period before the election.
3. To update the communication strategy
A fashion retailer launched the first line of clothing made from ecological fabrics and is planning to develop the sustainability niche in the future. It is important for the company to manifest its ecological orientation in its communication strategy.
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In order to update the communication strategy, you should evaluate the level and quality of the media field of your brand and compare it with the metrics of competitors. If your objective is to emphasize environmental orientation, make sure to include companies and brands from related fields with successful experience in environmental positioning in the list of competitors. With the help of content analysis, it is possible to collect data over long periods, evaluate your position, and explore effective communication channels for your target niche.
4. To find effective solutions for business development
An online home rental service is planning to expand its business locally and add new services for customers. The company needs to understand which regions and services to include in the business plan.
5 examples of insights that content analysis can bring
One of the tools to assess the market situation in general is retrospective content analysis, which makes it possible to obtain data for a long period. It will let you analyze the successful experiences of competitors and evaluate services for customers already operating not only in your field but also in adjacent niches.
The successful result of benchmarking is the acquired knowledge about the processes that can lead the brand to success, reduce reputational risks, and improve the effectiveness of communications with the media.