(Image from Espinr's Flickr photostream.)
Designing and launching a new business or offering usually presents a company with new competitors. That better be the case when designing something revolutionary or disruptive (in the Christensen sense).
There are lots of ways to assess the current or potential competition. Back at the ranch, we use, try and consume many different techniques. Not all approaches are inspiring or insightful for designing new offerings. Some techniques leave out the emotion that characterizes the user's experience. Others limit the likelihood of recognizing competition from entrants and experiences outside of the industry.
A simple and inspiring alternative that's been working for us lately is to ask: what do people trust instead of our brand? What are we going to do about it?
Trust is personal and powerful and fleeting and essential. If the experience we're designing doesn't compete effectively for a person's trust then we have to deliver better, be more consistent, connect better, or simplify the offering.
For giggles, my colleague Michele challenged us to consider the USPS. What do people trust more than the post office? Probably lots of things. Tracking when they need to feel confident. Support staff to take care of of labeling. A drop box when they need flexible choices. Amazon when they need a gift to just be sent straightaway. A neighbor to pick up the mail. A super to sign for the package.
Who's your trust competitor? What brands out there compete the most effectively trust?