The Competition Conundrum

Whether you’re talking about the people who grow fresh food or the people who market it, it’s no surprise that both factions are met with a lot of competition. This fact is evident at the grocery store—just look at all the different brands of fruit, veggies and pre-packaged produce you have to choose from!

With all of these competitors surrounding you in the produce department and on the tradeshow floor, we completely understand the temptation to monitor your competition’s every move. After all, a great strategy to measure up your competition is to know what sets your brand apart and what you can be doing better. However, we’re big proponents that more produce brands need to stop chasing their competition and start focusing on their own unique vision.

Here are a few things to consider:

“Me Too” Isn’t a Strong Marketing Strategy.

Let’s say your competition comes out with a great DIY promotion and partners with several popular mommy bloggers. It might be tempting to feel like you missed the mark and start talking to similar bloggers, but adopting a “me too” strategy and trying to reach the exact same audience with similar products isn’t going to set your brand apart in the long run. When your competition goes left, consider going right. Who aren’t they reaching that also buys your products?

Don’t Lose Your Uniqueness.

When someone is faced with two nearly identical products at similar price points, they’re going to make a purchase decision based on the branding or packaging that speaks to their “aspirational self.” If your product looks just like your competitor’s, you miss out on the chance to have a unique brand that could appeal to a totally different subset of consumers who would choose your brand when faced with that choice.

Your Biggest Competition Isn’t Even Who You Think it is.

In many cases, our biggest competitive force as fresh produce marketers isn’t the other grower down the road; our biggest competition can simply be what we are not doing to elevate our brands. Our internal competitive barriers could be an outdated website, an unattended social media platform to not having measurement tools in place for your marketing activities. An internal assessment of what is working, what is not and what is missing is often the most productive ways to combat competitive pressures.

All this being said, there are times when it’s smart to do a little recon on the competition, especially from a sales perspective. As you evaluate your marketing strategy, here are a couple of ways you can measure up your competition to ensure you’re taking the right path for your brand:

Run a Competitive Analysis to Narrow Down Your POD (Point of Difference).

Why do people buy your product or services instead of your competitors? What do you offer that they don’t? For example, think of the extra convenience in a salad kit that includes salad dressing and toppings versus a bag of just salad greens. To sum it up—find out what sets you apart.

Assess competitors’ social media chops.

Do some searching and see how active your competitors are on social media—do they have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest account? How many followers? How often do they post, and what would you consider the quality of the content they share? If they have a strong following and are heavily engaged with consumers or customers, that means each of those prospects are finding and coming to THEM instead of you. How can you turn this around? Make sure you are present, engaged and listening in this space.

Keep an eye out for future competitors.

Along with keeping an eye on your current competitors, it never hurts to be in tune with who your future competitors may be. You can do this by searching the web for similar products or services, review advertising and press releases for your competitors, or even searching for existing patented products that are similar to yours (i.e. recyclable containers, pre-cut produce, etc.).

Using these tips, you’ll have the ammunition you need to fix what needs improvement and gain confidence that sticking to your company’s unique vision for your brand won’t steer you wrong. If I can leave you with one piece of advice, it’s this: the biggest competition, oftentimes, is yourself.