Temporal Competitive Analysis

Because SWOTs and 2x2's don't work anymore

Of all the frameworks and models in a strategist's toolkit, I've always found that competitive analysis was significantly lacking. 

No matter what model we used, whether it was SWOT, perception 2x2s or Porter's 5 Forces, it rarely gave us any useful information for our brand strategies. After all, most people already know every detail about their competitors' products and positioning. 

We needed something completely different, and my team and I have spent many years creating our own model, working and reworking its functions, testing it on every client, in every category.

Finally, we've arrived at something that has been revelatory for us, and we realized what the missing element in every other model was: Time.

Time has become the single most important variable in business and strategy, and it should be at the center of every competitive analysis, too. 

Your market is going to change because right now your competitors are conditioning your market how to think, feel, behave and buy in the next 3-5 years. Over time, those changes will evolve your users, and when your users reach that new point of evolution, they will be ready for a new idea.  

And if you’re smart, your brand can be that new idea.

What you need is a new perspective for understanding the competitive landscape and a new model for unpacking that perspective into actionable insights.

We developed the Temporal Competitive Analysis to do exactly that.

Temporal Competitive Analysis is powerful in its output.

It will help you understand how the landscape is evolving and the opportunities that presents. Most importantly, it will tell you how your customer can be changed. 

It’s 4 steps, each building on the last, to see how the market will evolve over time and how to win over that horizon. 

You will be required to both drop your comfortable biases and make uncomfortable predictions - things you should be doing as a strategist anyway - and every time you do, you will gain a sharper focus on your market.

Come Out Of Your Shell

Here's what we've been consuming.

The Millenopause Era (WWD): "“Millennials did revolutionize fertility conversations, sexuality, endometriosis, the conversation around miscarriages. There were so many things about their bodies that they demanded better information, and now this is the community of people beginning to see the early stages of perimenopause,” said Michelle Jacobs, cofounder and chief operating officer of menopause solutions brand Womaness. “This customer is going to want better product, better information.”"

Hungry (but Not for Human Contact), Americans Head for the Drive-Through (New York Times): "The most striking explanation may be a societal sea change: People emerged from the pandemic with less tolerance for interacting with strangers [...] “These are all sorts of ways people are prioritizing safety. The drive-through mentality keeps people both physically and psychologically safe,” said Shelley Balanko."

AI Can Help You Ask Better Questions — and Solve Bigger Problems (Harvard Business Review): "Colgate-Palmolive tapped AI to understand how charcoal became a wildly popular ingredient in consumer products so they could “find the next charcoal.” Their algorithm generated and answered thousands of questions based on their initial search for data, sketching out a decades-long trajectory from charcoal scrubs in South Korea 20 years ago to charcoal appearing in face washes in the U.S. and then in all kinds of products around the world.”

Less Is More (Hidden Brain): "The calculus that most communicators make is I've got four great arguments. Granted, two of them are very strong, but the other two are still strong. Let me put it all on the table as a way to convince Niro that Mbappé is the best football player... Turns out, however, receivers of information don't engage in an additive function, they engage in an averaging function. The two weaker arguments are not piling on top of the stronger arguments to make a taller tower. Instead, the weaker arguments are undermining the stronger ones."

The Myth of the Cynical Genius (Psychology Today): "Cynics are not actually more intelligent; if anything, people who are trusting in others are often smarter and more competent than those who are cynical about human nature [...] Research suggests that trust, rather than cynicism, is a sign of intelligence. There tends to be a positive relationship between trust in people and cognitive ability (Sturgis et al., 2010). Arguably, this relationship exists because cynical people stop learning about the world and close themselves off to new ideas and opportunities."

Something Doesn't Add Up

Quick hits of insight in socially acceptable places.

Alive and Thriving

Creative inspirations for the other side of your brain.

The best advice I've ever gotten is to "stay curious no matter what".

I've found in life, in work, in all matters of the head and the heart, curiosity will ultimately lead you to a place of connection. 

My job at work is to connect the dots. My job everywhere else is to connect with people (and actually, that's my job at work, too). 

Curiosity is the best defense you will ever have against fear, anger, judgment, confusion or any other thing you may be trying to avoid. 

But curiosity is a skill that takes work, and it can be very uncomfortable to remain curious in the face of certain challenges. I'll admit that sometimes in my lesser moments, curiosity has ended up being my last resort, but it has never failed me.

If you're stuck somewhere right now, workwise or otherwise, stay curious.

Stay curious about the other person, stay curious about what could possibly go right, stay curious about how this might not be what you think it is, or why it is.

Somehow, a curious heart and mind always lead to a better solution than you may have expected.


Jasmine Bina
Founder & CEO
Concept Bureau, Inc.