Personally, I’ve never been afraid of competition. Oscar Wilde once simply stated, "be you because others are already taken."
Seth Godin had a brilliant post (as he usually does) on competition: "The number one reason people give me for giving up on something great is, ‘someone else is already doing that.’ Or, parsed another way, ‘my idea is not brand new.’ Or even, ‘Oh no, now we’ll have competition.’… Competition validates you. It creates a category. It permits the sale to be this or that, not yes or no. And this or that is a much easier sale to make. It also makes decisions about pricing easier, because you have someone to compare against and lean on."
The lesson is to become an "or" instead of just an "and".
It’s not just semantics. Yes, my agency, Twist Image, has a very different business development platform than some of our competitors (we prefer to use this Blog, the Podcast, a business book and my speaking to get people to think differently about Digital Marketing and – in turn – to consider hiring us as their Digital Marketing agency of record). But, there’s a bigger idea happening here: we’re not just trying to think differently or be thought-leaders, we’re trying to differentiate ourselves from the competition (and that’s not just in the words I publish, but the work we do for our clients – as 100+ full-time employees across multiple offices – every day). The net result is that when a big brand is looking for a partner to help them get their Digital Marketing in order, the conversation goes something like this: "Well, there’s Company A and Company B and then there’s Company C… or, there’s Twist Image."
You have to be able to deliver.
Talking, Blogging, tweeting, promoting, having a Facebook page, etc… Everything is critical to keeping your brand in the public’s eye, but none of that matters (and none of these words matter) if the brand can’t deliver on the promise. Godin is right, competition validates that the industry you’re in is actually an industry with paying clients, and the easiest way to be the best choice amongst all choices is to be become an "or" instead of just an "and."
The great brands know this. The great brands live this. Do you? Does your company? Or, do you shy away because there may be some competition?