Chapter 5: Understanding the Competitive Environment

Summary  •  Outline  •  Study Questions  •  Flashcards  •  Quiz

"The idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another." - Richard P. Feynman

Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a fact-based approach on how to effectively assess the competitive environment. The following stages allow you to deliberately, but quickly, shift your judgments when the facts change:

Stage 1
Collect relevant facts from your organization, your competitors and the social media cosmos.

Stage 2
Isolate the essential analytical anchors implied by the facts; in other words, the key insights you’ve extracted from the facts collected in stage 1. Analytical anchors represent descriptive convergence points linking many facts together.

Stage 3
Make judgments based on the analytical anchors by identifying how an anchor could translate into a strength, weakness, opportunity or threat for your organization and your social media team.

Stage 4
Validate your judgments. Your validation options range from the informal, such as doing a quick Google search, to more rigorous, such as conducting a focus group.

Chapter Outline
  • Stage 1: Facts – Collect relevant facts
  • Stage 2: Anchors – Isolate the essential analytical anchors implied by the facts
  • Stage 3: Judgments – Make judgments based on the analytical anchors
  • Stage 4: Validation – Validate your judgments
  • Conclusion

Chapter Deep Dive Study Questions

These exercises are designed to enhance your understanding of the chapter's key ideas, principles and approaches.

#1
Rank order the F-A-J-V elements, from most difficult to do to least difficult to do. Provide at least three arguments for your ranking. Suggest three ways to overcome the challenge for the most difficult item on your list.

#2
Develop three arguments for the value of adding "analytical anchors" to the traditional SWOT analysis.

#3
Create a two-column chart. Label column one, "Informal" and column two "Rigorous." In column one, provide three typical situations where it makes the most sense to use more informal validation methods. In column two, provide three typical situations where it makes the most sense to use more formal validation methods. Provide a justification for the selections in your chart. (Hint: see Figure 5.1 for a list of validation options.)

Chapter Flashcards

[qdeck] [q] Analytical Anchors
[a] Objective statements about important patterns regarding the competitive environment. These are the key insights the social media strategist extracted from the facts collected about the organization, competitors and the social media environment.
[q] F-A-J-V
[a] An acronym that represents a fact-based approach to assessing the social media competitive environment. The approach includes the following four stages:
Facts – Collect relevant Facts
Anchors – Isolate the essential analytical Anchors implied by the facts
Judgments – Make Judgments based on the analytical anchors
Validation – Validate your judgments
[q] SWOT
[a] An approach to strategic planning that involves identifying a firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
[/qdeck]

 

Chapter Quiz

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