Last week temperature in New York was at least 7-10 points sub 32 degree Fahrenheit. End of the week it was 32, and it felt really good (on the warmer side). On the other hand, in my home town of Indore in India, the temperature was in late 40s for the week and came down to 30s end of week and my parents felt it was really bad (on the colder side). This brings up the point that everything around us is in fact relative to something else.
We experience it everyday at work. The quality of work being good or bad doesn’t mean anything. It is either better than someone else’s work or worse. The cost is more often than not either cheaper than the alternatives or more expensive. The company performance is either better than the same quarter last year or worse.
Same is true when you look at your brand in your industry. When doing research on your brand, you have to consider what kind of perception your consumers have about your brand as compared to the competition. In technical terms, we call this benchmarking. The basic idea of benchmarking is setting the foundation for relativity.
While almost always an absolute analysis of your brand is required and is immensely valuable, the relative analysis helps you prioritize your resources, fix the areas where you are most vulnerable to the competition as well as publicize and exploit the areas where you have competitive advantage in the industry.