While you need to declare your strengths and your benefits, you don’t have to treat the competitor as the enemy. The goal is to have no competition, not bring attention to it! The more unique you can make yourself, the more you appeal to a select part of the market. You are carving out your own defined market.
In my opinion, 7-Up doesn’t compete with Coke. 7-Up, by calling itself “the Uncola”, appeals to people who don’t want caffeine or dark soft drinks. 7-Up defined a market which was waiting for an alternative. To say that these companies aren’t competitors may be going a bit far, but the point is, you need to take care of defining your specialty, and promoting it, in the maximum possible way. When you promote positive benefits, with flair and impact, you’ll get your market share.
I also maintain that even though you have declared your image and have made it known, you still need to be aware of any changes in the competition that favor your position. If Brand X got caught with its hand in the till, it’s not time to say, ‘We’re honest.” People tend not to like those who take too much advantage of a bad situation.
However, you need to know when the positive effects of doing business with you are available, like running a few ads if Brand X is out of inventory (without rubbing their noses in it).
In addition to offending the public, bear in mind how the competition will remember should the tables ever turn. Part of your image needs to be that you possess integrity. That by itself will bring a certain amount of business your way – and you’ll have a better conscience.
Daniel Wadleigh is a nationally published marketing consultant and has programs for start-up and existing businesses including effective web sites, e-mail/database, other non-internet ways to drive them to your website, and low cost ways to get more new customers.