Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

How can you determine deception from a competitors including marketing, press relases and web sites?

Sometimes I see things from competitors that just does not add up and later found out is was deception.  Often I wonder if there is sure fire method to weed out deception.  The problem with deception in a public forum (marketing, news releases and such) is that the customer sees it as well.

What methods do others use to screen out deception?

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All warfare is based on deception - Sun Tzu

And so is Corporate Warfare and Economic Warfare based on deception.
Alain Juillet says Competitive Intelligence is protection of strategic and vital information.
Truth Well Told - McCann-Erickson
I know Sun Tzu well, have the "Art of War" on my desk. Here is the issue--If you use deception that the customer sees, especially in the Defense Industry, and later the Customer figures it out, you take a huge hit in credibility. You could be seen a a risk to the customer. So how do you balance that? Like Mr Universe says in Serenity "You can't stop the signal". If you use deception in an open source everyone is going to see it... How do you deal with that?
Hi Richard,

What techniques can be employed to detect deception? Well, in my professional opinion, myriads; dependent upon the type of deception/claims, naturally. A couple examples:


Given I've always been in technology, one big mechanism to counter these types of falsehoods can be competitive benchmarking as often competitor x will say we are 25% faster, or we can produce the same quality for 50% less. Run an objective benchmark using industry standard metrics and what results do you get? MMM mmmm....Now, some comeptitors will try to manipulate the benchmarking process as well to generate favorable results so they can make claims of superiority, so read the fine print, and often, there's the deception right the form of ecological fallacy, etc.


Utilizing various linguistic and psychological models can be useful here, which are often taught in Deceptive Communication courses. That said, the hallmarks of deception here range from continual references to general information, ie- avoiding specificity like the plague to overuse of impersonal pronouns, sprinkled with too much extreme positive language and no hesitation words.


Deception is to get you to commit to a strategy option by leaving trail on OSINT for you to analyse.
Deception is used in Information warfare to deposition competitors
OSINT is deception
Hello Richard,

One suggestion, at least for public companies, is focus more on the Annual Reports (10K and 10Q filings) than on marketing, news releases and such because (even though it has many flaws and costly burdens that were not needed) the Sarbanes-Oxley Act did make it so the official documents like the Annual Reports must be true, or the CEO and CFO are in deep trouble.
I find there are no sure fire ways to uncover deception. You need to be tracking your competitors, new technology, etc closely. I find that once you track closely you sort of "know" and recognize patterns. Deception often doesn't fit those patterns. This is the art of competitive intelligence, having that intuition while tracking to note that "something doesn't look or feel right."
Ellen is exactly and precisely right! And I think one of the points underlying her commentary is that for CI to really work well, it has to be an ongoing activity not a drag and drop, one point in time thing.

That said, indeed when you have a solid intel analyst who has been following a competitor for years, they absolutely should have the ability to sniff out something that just doesn't align with previous patterns. Many times that analyst will have built tools to show the evolution of a competitor's strategy or product line, behavioral profile, etc-and you line up say with whatever the new move/piece of intel is...and often it's viola! this isnt right.....


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