Monthly Archives

March 2019

Law firms and Competitive Intelligence case study

Have an idea what they want to do? Now disrupt them

By | Intelligence action

Take a good look at your competitors’ leadership team. What makes them tick?

Starting with the CEO isolate their five big ideas. Alternatively, strategies as they are often mistakenly called. Most leaders will have patterns they’ve followed in the past (maybe not every time). So have their big five ideas changed over time? Are the ideas communicated well within their business? Do other members of the senior team believe in them or do they have other thoughts? Can you exploit this potential discord?

Take a look at what relationships are important to them, which bandwagon are they jumping on and what type of customers are they getting to know. Read what they are writing, listen to what they are saying (and, of course, what they are not saying). Will these big ideas affect your future business growth? Also, you may see signals of a change in your competitors focus. Can you take advantage?

Going darker, now you have an idea what they want to do, can you disrupt their efforts? If you can’t find some big ideas or isolated too many of them does this also tell you a story too? Hopefully, you see Competitive Intelligence is not analytics; it’s not research, its so much more than that.

Inspired by an article by General David Petraeus.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

attractive asian woman on blue background. What the heck is wrong with your property market for an article by Octopus Intelligence. We isolate your problems, reduce risk and uncertainty and deliver intelligence-led answers and innovative solutions. Dedicated to help you win. And Question everything

A trigger happy glaring gap in thinking

By | Intelligence action

Technology solutions are great but you really need to think.

“Yes, you have information. You can find out all about a man, track him down, keep an eye on him. But you have to look him in the eye. All the tech you have can’t help you with that. A license to kill also means a license NOT to kill”.

– Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Mallory, Spectre

It is very common for companies to search for a hi-tech solution which will solve our intelligence and decision-making problems.

Technology in this sector is sold as smart, pretty and the easy option. It’s not.

Now, we believe technology is an essential part of the process (we are building something, so we are not hypocrites). But it’s just that; part of the intelligence process.

Jumping straight to technology shows a glaring gap in thinking.

Why? Well, a decision by competitors, regulators and every other living human originate as an idea from someone’s mind.

To understand the situation you face you need to look deeper. Technology will not tell you why a decision was made, what will happen next and what you are going to do about it. It will not get into the minds of your competitors. Intelligence does.

It can’t even make a decent cup of tea never mind deciding to pull the proverbial trigger or not.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

Trowel and Bricks for an article by Octopus Intelligence. We isolate your problems, reduce risk and uncertainty and deliver intelligence-led answers and innovative solutions. Dedicated to help you win.

What the heck is wrong with the property market?

By | Competitive Intelligence Insight

Brexit, the London Property Market & What Can Be Done

An unprecedented environmental change will inevitably lead to unprecedented events within the property sector.

Brexit’s effects on the property market so far have been just that, unprecedented.

As the possible deadline of March 29th draws closer and for that matter any extension therein, the compounding effects upon the London property market become more evident.

And the uncertainty in the market is growing undoubtedly more exposed.

UBS analysts have noted that in previous cycles of property downturn, a London downturn had preceded a decline in the broader UK market.

However, this time this appears not to be the case. The London market downturn is happening while regions of the UK continue to grow.

What are the possible reasons for this?

A Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) market survey uncovered three significant points regarding the London Property Market;

1. Compared to regionally, London respondents report the most significant fall in house prices (RICS September 2018)

2. Negative price trends across London with price softening being led by London (RICS January 2019)

3. Buyers are now more cautious, and new buyer enquires gauge fell to -21% in November 2018 (RICS November 2018)

These three key points demonstrate how the uncertainty generated by Brexit has spilt over into the property market in the capital. However, as previously mentioned this remains isolated to London.

The same report indicates that regions in the North and Midlands of the UK are on the rise. It poses the question of what is different in the UK market, or more importantly why?

What is driving sales and prices up in these other areas of the UK?

Considering the RICS report, we can extrapolate that the UK buyer mindset is currently tending more towards caution. Coupling this with the naturally high prices of the London property market could explain the drop in interest.

However, the same report states that the rental market is currently booming. A point reinforced through Gov.UK figures which show London private rental increasing 1.6% compared the rest of England.

Demonstrating there is still an opportunity to be had in the London market. However, the wrong market could be being targeted.

To compound the problem of wrong markets being targeted are the London mortgage lending patterns. Gov.UK state a major issue in new buyers in the capital is the loan to income ratio.

The Bank of England will only permit 15% of lenders new mortgages of a ratio which exceeds 4.5. With the average first-time buyer having a ratio of 4.04 (movers 4.01) and as this is on an upward trend the issue is certain to persist for private buyers.

Essentially this means if intending buyers can’t borrow. Also, they can’t buy, which opens up a pipeline for developers and estate agents alike.

Will synergy help?

Is synergy possible with mortgage brokers? Or could a second option explored of an extended London market rent to buy scheme?

However, this again suggests a shift of the targeted market for the purchasing of London property.

Multiple developers in the capital are seeing uptakes in business. For example, Derwent London has raised its dividend as it starts to make the most of the commercial property market.

Further external investors have started to quietly enter the market for London properties. In particular, German real estate giant Grand City Properties SA. They have recently undergone a property buying spree. One of which was a purchase of 117 apartments in 159-uni Hill House. Their current investment alone is present at 800 properties as of February 2019 (Independent 2019).

There are opportunities within the London market

There are demonstrable signs that there is development opportunity in London.  And further that there are still parties that are more than interested in London properties. However, a perspective change may have to take place.

Secondly, what you need to consider are developers activities when they conduct on the ground post-purchase.

UK developers should take note and monitor these signs. In particular, market leading FTSE 100 giants are currently tanking more than 20%. Persimmon has seen a rise in sales. However, this is predicated in the help to buy scheme. Fears surrounding the continuation of this has again recognised the giants share price fall.

This proposes interesting questions. What is it that these developers plan on doing, or are doing? And which is being missed by the significant host of national developers?

One theory is the commercial property. However, a more realistic thought is that they may be turning properties of a different ilk to residential properties.  To meet the differentiation of supply and demand in the capital.

So what effect will this have on the post-Brexit landscape in London?

Uncertainty could also mean opportunity

Naturally this uncertainty and seeming negative environmental pressures are causing problems for business operating in the market. However, within uncertainty opportunities are very much available. Provided it is backedup with the correct industry knowledge.

All firms associated with the market, be they estate agents, mortgage brokers, developers etc. need to recognise that although the market appears is on a downward trend. The correct application of industry and competitor knowledge could catapult them into market dominance.

This is because with industry knowledge business can start to identify consumer pain points associated with the property market.  Then allow them to start to plan actionable plans to address these and re-stimulate growth.

To gain this insight, however, will take expertise.

Be Powered by Intelligence

Utilising Intelligence services can leverage key industry consumer and macro environmental insights to construct an exceptional value proposition for customers.  And thus, a sustained competitive advantage in a market which is currently stagnating and falling.

So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter

what we do - boy next to a wall What is Competitive Intelligence?

Good to great questions

By | Intelligence planning

Great questions are the best way to create great intelligence.

However, it’s not just a case thinking up a smart question to catch all about a competitor or market.

You have to guide the decision maker to take action.

What do I mean? Well, rather than asking:

What are competitor X’s main strengths?

Ask it like this:

What can we do about competitor X’s strengths?

Arguably, given time and a greater situational understanding, you will be able to come up with an even better question.

But you will see how a subtle change in the question transforms a concerning situation to proactive decision focused intelligence environment.

And that’s the power of Intelligence.

We have a saying at Octopus “Intelligence is just knowing” so, we offer a daily short and sharp intelligence based thought with an aim to help your day to day work. Feel free to sign up here:


So, do you what more answers to the questions you need to ask? Get in touch here or follow us on Twitter