Nowadays, artificial intelligence has augmented the way we build, develop, and understand audience personas and emerging trends – and how we act upon the insights we glean from discourse online. There are some incredible technologies that cover a number of facets:

  • Audience intelligence. These tools can understand audience segments and help build the profile of consumers you target or want to target – including demographic, geographic, and psychographic detail.
  • Topical intelligence. These are your social listening tools; they help you understand emerging trends and topics from online conversations. And these topics can cover a variety of things, such as current events, feedback from consumers, etc.
  • Then there’s social media execution. These tools help you execute campaigns, measure results from your efforts, and conduct customer service.

However, there’s an area in our social intelligence tech stack that’s commonly overlooked. That’s competitive benchmarking and market validation.

No, we’re not talking about who has more followers or more likes on posts. We’re talking about a strategic analysis of corporate messaging and consumer response to the messaging, as well as deliberate activity of brands and organizations in order to identify:

  • Differentiators
  • Successes and failures of other organizations
  • Competitive vulnerabilities
  • Operational strengths and weakness

Why does competitive benchmarking matter?

Let’s look at an example in financial services. If I were to provide this value proposition for a credit card, could you determine which bank I’m talking about?

“Get XX% cashback and 0% APR for XX months when you sign up…”

The answer is MANY banks. It’s a burden in an industry like this to convince customers that a product differs from competitors’. This is especially true when the top reasons a consumer chooses their bank is because it’s a) located close to them, or b) a friend or family member uses them or recommends them–according to Financial Brand.

Another example is corporate social responsibility. Too often, a brand uses the following type of message to portray their generous efforts to give back:

“We’re proud to donate *insert something to donate* to *insert organization* in order to *insert org’s initiative*…”

For example:

“We’re proud to donate $1.5 million to the Red Cross to help those affected by last week’s hurricane.”

The issue is that many organizations use a template like this and (from a brief analysis consumer responses to this content) it triggers negative feelings toward the organizations due to suspected “virtue signaling”–or self-congratulatory bloviating. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Finding differentiation in a message can produce positive brand affinity, better customer retention, new customers, better brand recall, and more.

We begin answering questions like:

  • Who in my market or in complementary markets targets similar audiences with similar messaging? 
  • How is that working, and what differentiation can we provide, etc.? 
  • And why would a customer connect emotionally with our message?

Benchmarking and analyzing company-generated content (and responses to that content) bolsters the process of market validation when answering strategic questions or verifying messaging. There’s no shortcut in the process for industries that a) are highly competitive; b) have low product differentiation.

How Nichefire’s services can help me build competitive differentiation:


  • Nichefire provides data analysis and layered-in consulting services uniquely powered by their own, advanced Artificial Intelligence. It’s like outsourcing a team to help your team with advanced and tailored reporting and analytics.
  • They provide deep insights from mountains of data, all pulled and sorted by the AI. That includes competitive insights on brands, and their marketing strategies, as well as  consumer insights. Essentially, they reveal key insights previously hidden in mountains of data.

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