People on laptops discussing marketing strategy and SWOT

What is a SWOT analysis and how can it help your marketing?

(Updated: 24 May 2022)

A SWOT analysis is a simple, but very powerful tool that is used by companies world-wide to help advance and change your business strategy, by identifying internal and external factors that might affect the future or current performance of your company.

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, these four factors focus on evaluating the balance between the internal resources and capabilities of a company, and the external opportunities and threats that may be overlooked. Although the SWOT analysis is typically used by management, marketing and branding teams can also help provide insight from a brand perception point of view, to provide a well-balanced view of how the company is operating and where improvements can be made.

Understanding the benefits of SWOT

A SWOT analysis organises your top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats into an organised list that you can focus on when trying to improve your company. The SWOT Analysis can highlight new pathways for marketing that will boost your brand recognition once you have consolidated all your findings in the brand analysis.

Strengths

Strengths are generally the internal characteristics of your business, which help determine the success of any organization. A company’s strengths can either be tangible or intangible and include financial resources, employees, services, products, company location etc. A company can have some control over their strengths, which allow them to be modified or improved.

Weaknesses

A company’s weaknesses consist of internal characteristics the hinder an its productivity and prevent a company from reaching its full potential. A company’s weakness can be controlled, and the negative impact lessened once identified through the SWOT analysis exercise. The process can also identify unexplored opportunities that can assist in reversing said weakness.

Opportunities

There are countless opportunities that a company can identify within their environment which can prove beneficial to the overall function and success of the business. These opportunities may stem from the market (what your target audience is looking for), competition (their shortfalls), technology (improving CRM, products, services and internal operations), or the company’s untapped existing resources that can be utilized.

Threats

Threats are considered areas of vulnerability which can jeopardize the performance and success of any business. Albeit threats are uncontrollable, they still need to be addressed or identified in order to find a viable solution. A threat can come from both internal and external factors and through the SWOT analysis and careful consideration can be turned into a strength or opportunity.

Your SWOT and Brand Strategy

A SWOT analysis is essential an essential component for your brand strategy. It gives you a holistic view of your business and can highlight items that may have been underestimated or overlooked in the initial brand strategy.

It is a great way to align your capitals, resources and capabilities to ensure you have a competitive advantage and that you benefit from this advantage as much as possible. The SWOT analysis is only effective when it produces actionable strategies that will improve your company. As your resources are limited, it is crucial to prioritise the use of resources around your strategy document.

Who and how?

 To generate an effective SWOT analysis, you need to select the right internal team. Grab the heads of each division or better yet gather a group of people who have different viewpoints on the company. Select people who can represent different sections of your company, whether they be from deep inside the office from sales and customer service, to marketing and product development staff. Everyone at the company should have a say, having multiple perspectives can provide important insights to the SWOT analysis and the brand strategy.

Doing a SWOT analysis is similar to brainstorming meetings, but there are advantages and disadvantages of doing these types of meetings. The right way to do it is by giving each team member a notepad or device to create their own list. This safeguards against bias and prevents everyone from just listening in and possibly holding back their ideas as someone else had a similar idea and that is good enough for them. This ensures that all voices are taken into consideration and that the patterns that emerge are valid.

Questions to Consider

Strengths are the positive attributes of your company within your control.

  • What processes are successful?
  • What assets do you have in your arsenal of education, network, and skills?
  • Who and what do you have – do you have customers, equipment, or potentials?
  • What do you have that competitors don’t?

Weaknesses are negative factors that diminish strengths. Which may need to be improved to give you that competitive advantage.

  • Is there anything that needs to be better or more competitive?
  • What processes need improving?
  • Are there physical assets that your company needs?
  • Are there holes on your team, is someone taking too much on?
  • Is your location ideal?

Opportunities are external factors that are likely to support your success.

  • Is your market expanding? Are there trends that will motivate people to buy more of what you provide?
  • What events can your company take advantage?
  • Are there upcoming changes to rules that might influence your company?
  • What are your standings like with your customers – do they support you and think highly of you?

Threats are external aspects that you cannot control. These will require contingencies.

  • Do you have potential threats or opponents who may enter your market?
  • Will your suppliers be able to supply your materials consistently?
  • Will future developments in technology and your industry change how you will be doing business?
  • Are your clients’ behaviours changing? Could it negatively influence your business?
  • Will the market stay consistent?

How to integrate SWOT with Brand Strategy

Once you have developed on your SWOT analysis it is time to implement your analysis in the following ways:

  1. Strengths and Opportunities. Use your strengths to take advantage of accessible opportunities.
  2. Strengths and Threats. Use your strengths to minimise threats.
  3. Weaknesses and Opportunities. Improve weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities.
  4. Weaknesses and Threats. Work to eliminate weaknesses to avoid threats.

When you eventually implement your analysis, you will need to have accurate data and be realistic of the outcomes. Apply your findings and the SWOT analysis at the right level

Conclusion

 SWOT Analysis is a simple but useful tool to analyse your business’ strengths and weaknesses, which in turn highlights the opportunities and threats that your company may face. SWOT helps you to focus on your strengths and minimise your weakness, giving you more opportunities to succeed as a brand. It also diminishes external threats and gives you the greatest possible access to all the opportunities. You can leverage your SWOT analysis to get a considerable jump above of your competitors.

Find out how to improve your brand strategy today.

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