The following post was written by Julie Carey, Senior Manager of Global Brand & Messaging at Akamai Technologies. Julie has a decade of B2B technology marketing experience and has led marketing teams at startups, mid-sized businesses, and enterprises. When she's not launching programs or championing her company’s brand, you might find Julie running along the Charles River in Boston or researching her next great book club read.
We have probably never met. Even so, I am confident you have a stellar background and a proven track record of success in competitive intelligence. Or, if you’re new to competitive intelligence, you have the energy, curiosity, and work ethic to kickstart a robust competitive intelligence program. By all accounts, you are poised to take competitive intelligence to the next level at your company.
But trust me, you can’t afford to go it alone.
That’s right, your competitive intelligence program is going to take a village. It’s going to require some organizational change. If you want your big ideas to take shape they’ll need broad support. So whether it’s going to take changing technology, processes, or attitudes, a solo performance can’t be a part of the plan.
While it might be an uphill battle at first, it will be worth it in the end. Your entire organization will reap the benefits of competitive intelligence once you have a program in place. Read on for some (perhaps) lesser known ideas to get your colleagues pumped about competitive intelligence.
Develop An Internal Brand For It
People can’t buy-in to what they don’t know about. A strong internal brand for any program offers credibility and transparency. With the right approach, you can guarantee you won’t be known as a feature comparison machine.
Start with these four key questions to help curate your internal competitive intelligence brand.
What’s your competitive intelligence mission?
What’s your competitive intelligence philosophy?
How will you communicate?
How will you gather feedback?
Once you have the answers to these four questions laid out, you’ll be able to promote your internal messaging for your competitive intelligence program.
Who can help: Brand, comms, creative, PR, HR & talent acquisition
Hopefully, your employees already have a connection with your company values. Try to reflect the promise of these within your downstream program. A name, logo, visual symbol, and slogan can help represent your program’s overall identity. Once it’s recognizable, employees will gradually understand and appreciate your competitive intelligence program’s purpose and planned activities.
Use Your Physical Office Space
Your office’s physical environment can directly influence work performance and productivity. An excellent avenue for your competitive intelligence practice could be to tap into workspace psychology (and open non-digital, non-email real estate) for a chance to engage employees.
If your company isn’t yet taking full advantage of your office space, offer to drive a committee to make it happen. If one already exists, join it. Carving out space to foster collaboration, especially for new initiatives, can make all the difference when trying to launch a new program.
Who can help: Administrative roles, corporate communications, employee culture committees, human resources, brand and creative, and facilities.
Not only can you carve out a “competitive corner” or “competitive collaboration” space within your office space you can also use this project to expand your internal network. Getting a diverse group together for a common goal can build bridges across departments and open doors for competitive intelligence.
Gamify and Incentivize
There’s no better way to motivate your colleagues than with some friendly competition (and free stuff). This could be a good way to kick a program off, or breath new life into one that is somewhat defunct.
Who can help: Teams responsible for new employee onboarding, training and sales enablement, internal communications, and more.
Since you’ve already got your brand locked, use one-off or seasonal contests with giveaways to gain visibility. If you’re a little more advanced, complement this with a structured training curriculum specific to competitive intelligence with a virtual certification.
Whether it’s a virtual badge or a company water bottle, committing to and completing tasks is a proven motivator and can drive the bottom up buy-in you’re looking to achieve.
Get Started Now
It’s true, getting internal buy-in will involve more than a slick logo and some cool employee swag. You’re bound to run into roadblocks. People are going to disagree with you. You’re going to change your mind.
You are also going to make incremental progress, build consensus, and gain perspectives that enhance your program’s impact and possibilities.
The strides you make with gaining employee mindshare will build trust and credibility and can even strengthen your leadership-level discussions. So what are you waiting for? Get to work and kick off your competitive intelligence program!