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Competitive Intelligence, Brand Consultancy and Social Media: Why?

The basis for competitive intelligence is simply gaining the inside track on what the competition is doing.  It can get complicated and intricate but at the core it is knowing what the strategy, finances, products, services, customers and partners of your business opposition looks like. 

Once upon a time, companies conducted competitive intelligence consisted of companies looking at the market and their competition at the annual meeting.  As online information offered this information more frequently, the face of competitive intelligence also changed.  As information becomes available more quickly available, companies are able to more adequately predict the impact of their own product as well as their competition's product.  However, predictions can only take you so far. 

Enter the magic that is social media.  With its prevelance, speed and ease of use, social media is changing the face of competition in the business marketplace.  The reality remains that these factors alone will not make every social media outlet will have the desired competitive intelligence information that companies need and want.  Either companies can wait for the crumbs to fall inadvertently or can figure out a structured approach.  The structured approach is generally the wiser course of action.  The issue comes when the social media needs to be organized, analyzed and ranked in a simple and somewhat easy-to-understand language.  Listening is no longer enough; knowing what you want to listen to is now the target goal of competitive/targeting intelligence and brand consultancy

Use of analytics and intelligence instead of random searching is paramount.  Search engines can provide oodles of information but its relevance is not factored into the equation of usefulness.  Monitoring the range of topics for companies is necessary for effective and useful competitive intelligence.  It is also necessary because business processes tend to be variable and repeated with a range of audiences. 

Using social media effectively can (and will) transform how business is conducted.  It requires effort but that effort, when expended, pays large dividends in the end.  Staying in tune and on track with the competition is the hallmark of an effective social digital intelligence strategy. 
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