Brand positioning is crucial for you to be successful in your target market, as it is the process of placing your brand in the minds of your target audience. Simply put, brand positioning is how you want your customers to see your brand or make them see how your brand is different from your competitors.
What is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is one of the most important factors to consider if you want to establish your own business. It is a marketing strategy that sets you apart from all of your competitors. This was in concurrence with the definition of brand positioning by Philip Kotler, the father of marketing, as he said that "brand positioning is the process that the company has to undergo so that its brand and image will occupy the top of minds of its target audience."
As such, you need to be able to create a strong brand and make it your priority to ensure success. Brand positioning is an important ingredient if you want your company to grow and your business to succeed. In fact, according to an article posted on adience.com, B2B Marketing Leaders Report claimed that "77% of marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth."
Types of Brand Positioning Strategies
A study conducted by Lucidpress.com in 2018 found out that over 60% of brands believe that maintaining a strong, consistent brand is important when generating leads and communicating with existing customers.
And to gain customers through brand positioning, finding out the right strategy for you can help you in your quest to be top of mind of your target market. Below are some of the most common brand position strategies:
Convenience-Based Positioning Strategy (Service Positioning)
A convenience-based positioning strategy underscores a company’s products or services that are more convenient to use or make the customers’ lives more comfortable. For most customers, convenience is one of the key factors on why they are willing to support a particular brand.
This was evident in a survey by National Retail Federation, where it found out that “nine in 10 respondents would possibly choose a brand based on convenience, as clients are looking for companies to help them save even more time and effort in their busy lifestyles.”
Telling the consumers that you can make their lives easier—whether in terms of location, ease of access and use, or featuring multiple platform support—can help you get the attention of your target market and convert them into new and loyal customers. However, to provide the convenience you need to work harder, as you need to be more accommodating of their requests, as well as the need to continuously review all feedbacks that you gather.
Price-Based Positioning Strategy
The Price-Based Positioning Strategy, on the other hand, is when you associate your brand with the existing competitive prices in the market. This is also when you see a gap in the price points in the market and grab that opportunity to offer the most affordable price in that range, but banking on the great value of your brand.
The use of a Price-Based Positioning Strategy has its benefits if done right. One of those benefits includes generating a larger customer base who do not want or could not spend a lot of money. This strategy can also persuade individuals to choose your brand over their previous brands, as these customers may now consider you as a better, more affordable choice. You just have to be careful in ensuring that your products and services are still of quality and at par with that of your competitors, to avoid the perception that having lower prices means lower quality.
Quality-Based Positioning Strategy (Luxury-Based)
One of the most challenging positioning strategies to use is when you opt to highlight the quality of your brand as a parameter. What you can do is to combine a Quality-Based Positioning Strategy with other strategies, to make it more effective. For instance, combining a high-quality product with an expensive price point can help convince customers to avail of your products, just like when you bought your favorite designer bags.
Brands that use a Quality-Based Positioning Strategy often do not publicize their prices, but bank on the prestige and reputation that the brand can bring to the customers; making the products more desirable regardless of their prices. These customers believe that these brands have better products due to their good reputation.
Product Use Strategy or Application Positioning Strategy
If you want, you can position your product or service by associating your brand to its particular usage or application that your competitors do not have. By doing a competitors' analysis you will be able to highlight all the features of your product, and find out your differentiating factors, much like doing the Blue Ocean Strategy. It is "about finding out and taking unchallenged market spaces; in that way, you can make the competition irrelevant.”
By doing competitive analysis, you will also be able to find out your unique selling proposition (UPS) and through this, you can use your identified unique feature or benefit and use it in a way that your customers will think of your brand when they think of that identified unique feature. For instance, most consumers will go to Wal-Mart when they need bargain items, as selling items on bargain is one of the company’s UPS.
Differentiation Strategy (Competition-based) Positioning Strategy
Another strategy that brands can use is the differentiation or competition-based positioning strategy. As defined by Business 2 Community, “competitor-based positioning gives its focus on using competition as a reference point for differentiation.” This happens when a brand promotes a key difference in their products or services and makes it seem more favorable compared to other brands that are offering the same products or services in the market.
Simply put, differentiation or competition-based positioning strategy is when you compare your brand directly to a competitor, by emphasizing that your products’ key features and unique qualities are better as opposed to what your competitors offer.
Brand Positioning Strategy
Equibrandconsulting defines Brand positioning as "the place you want to own in the minds of your target audience. It is the quality or feature that you want them to think of when they encounter your brand."
Below is a guide on how to do just that.
1. Determine your current brand positioning
Analyzing your current brand positioning is a necessary first step to have a better understanding of where you want to go next. By performing an audit of your current brand positioning, you will have a better chance at understanding where you stand against your competitors, how your brand is working vis-à-vis your business’ objectives.
When you start analyzing your current brand positioning, you may start with identifying your target market. You can also assess the effectiveness and relatability of your brand's values, mission, and what makes you different from the rest of the market may come next.
Another important step to take is to study your brand value proposition, brand persona, and voice. Once you have a better understanding of where your current brand positioning stand, this is when you will need to decide how are you going to reposition your brand if needed at all.
Do take note that if a brand is new to the market, then this first step is not applicable.
2. Identify your competitors
After analyzing your brand positioning, your next step will involve getting to know your competition or finding out the brands that present the most threat to your brand. Conducting a competitor analysis will help you determine your next steps on how to improve your strategy and gain the edge needed to protect your brand and gain more loyal customers at the same time.
Getting to know your competitors in your particular industry is an essential process in brand positioning strategy. There are various methods wherein you can gauge your competition, and this includes: conducting market research, using customer feedback, and the use of social media.
You should also be mindful that substitute products can also be competitors. For instance, those who sell iced coffee now face competition from those who sell milk tea.
3. Conduct competitor research
Once you have identified your competitors, it is now what time to get to know them better and conduct in-depth competitor research. One method that you can use is SWOT Analysis. Factors that you need to research may include the products and services of your competitors, and the successful marketing strategies that your competitors used, as well as their and their current positions in your market.
A deeper step you can take is finding out your competitors: vision and mission statements, core values, brand fundamentals, and even their brand architecture. It is also essential to pore over your competitors’ positioning and brand strategies to ensure that the brand positioning that you will create will be unique and will give you that distinct and competitive edge in your shared market.
4. Identify what makes your brand unique
Identifying what makes your brand unique involves diving into your brand and identifying your own brand’s core values, brand fundamentals, value propositions, vision and mission, attributes, and features. Once the said task was done, comparing your own brand’s features to that of your competitors may eventually lead to you finding out the opportunities that you have, for their weaknesses may just turn out to be your strength.
This brand strength that you have identified can be your unique offering, this can be your unique selling proposition (USP) or the factor that makes your brand better than your competitors. A strong USP will help you stand apart from competitors. It is the one thing that can help you gain your ideal customers, who will be your ally in creating brand awareness. Having a unique brand is a competitive edge that will help you stand out.
5. Create your brand positioning statement
When crafting your brand positioning statement, make sure that that it has a powerful impact, and is easy to remember. Your brand positioning statement should always reflect your brand’s identity, or as MerlinOne.com explained in one of its articles, brand identity is "all the visual elements about your brand, including the logo, fonts, colors, and packaging."
What is a Brand Positioning Statement?
According to Masterful Marketing a brand positioning statement is defined as a sentence or two that describes what your brand is, and why is it different from other brands. It is what you want our target audience to think and feel when they see your brand. Your brand positioning statement should be unique.
The statement is usually an internal document, but this is the one thing that guides the marketing and sales team of your company about your brand’s messaging, ensuring that your communication and content are consistent with your brand identity.
How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement
As fabriksbrand.com claimed, brand positioning happens whether or not your company has developed your position, because customers will still have their ideas or impressions as to what your brand is.
However, crafting your impactful brand positioning might influence your customers’ opinions positively. You need to take into consideration the following elements to create a strong brand positioning statement. These are your target audience, your specific product service category, the greatest benefit of your product or service, and the proof of that benefit.
1. Evaluate if your positioning statement works
Once you have created your brand positioning statement, it will beneficial to test your positioning statement to your chosen customers and gather their feedback and find out if your brand positioning achieves your goal or not. Testing your brand positioning statement can help you find out if you were able to achieve its desired effects, and adjust necessarily if not.
2. Establish an emotional connection with prospects and customers
Connecting with your target audience emotionally is extremely important, as emotionally invested customers can bring value to your brand over some time.
In fact, according to a study conducted by Capgemini, 70% of brands that consumers who are emotionally engaged to a particular brand spend at least two times or more on brands that they are loyal to, as opposed to 49% of those with low emotional engagement.
If that is the case, establishing that connection with your audience and maintaining that emotional connection, is an important part of how you should shape your brand identity and your positioning statement with it.
3. Reinforce your brand's differentiating qualities during the sales process
Emphasizing your brand’s differentiating qualities is essential, to be able to stand above the competition, and ensure that your product will take the lead. It is important to show your customers what you can offer that your competitors do not have, and the product or service that you are offering is valuable to them.
Differentiating your product, no matter where industry you belong to, is extremely important especially if you have a lot of competitors. Ensuring, too, that your customers understand why your brand is unique and what’s in it for them when they avail of your product will help you gain more customers and keep them.
4. Ensure that customer-facing employees embody your brand
Your employees, especially those who are on the frontline should understand how to execute your brand promise. What’s more, they need to embody it. Training your employees about your branding is needed, to avoid confusion and inconsistencies in your external and internal branding messaging and communications.
To encourage your employees to own your brand, you may ask for ideas on how to improve your initiatives and request their support.
Your Customer-Facing Employees can also be your source of firsthand information to be able to evaluate the reactions of customers that they encounter during their frontline duties.
Brand Positioning Examples
Once you have brand positioning in place, you will need to ensure that your brand logo has a strong brand slogan or tagline, which creatively embodies your unique selling proposition.
Nike was able to position itself well, as it has become the top of the mind of athletes worldwide. The brand has expanded, that it does not only offer shoes but a complete attire with accessories. Its tagline, “Just Do It,” has become synonymous with promoting health and fitness.
Perhaps one of the most successful brand positionings is Coca-Cola. The said brand was able to thrive in the market for 125 years. Coca-Cola communicates to its audience that its brand evokes the feeling of happiness and joy when you share a bottle of Coke. Invoking these brand values was successful, as consumers are encouraged to share their happy experiences.
If you want the perfect fusion of elegance and luxury and innovative technology, then nothing beats Apple products in being on the top-of-mind of consumers. Their marketing campaign, channels, that their use for promotion, and most importantly their products and services evokes just that.
Starbucks’ brand positioning is that of giving its customers the best experience when buying coffee. From delicious concoctions to personalizing the cups before serving the drinks the brand even allows the customers to input their requests on its app now, reinforcing its brand position of convenience and pleasant experience.
Building the perfect brand positioning for your company is an important element in your brand architecture. It is the one that anchors the values, vision, and ethos of your company. Brand positioning is also an essential requirement for your company to be able to develop the perfect marketing campaign and its execution.
As such, it is of essence that to be considered as one of the strongest brands, there is, you must develop your brand’s UPS, as it will spell the difference of how successful you can be when your brand enters the market. It can make or break you, as your unique brand positioning is what will make your target audience notice you, give you a chance, and will help you grow your brand.
With that being said, it will also be advantageous to always keep an open mind, and be flexible when needed, as any industry is ever-changing, and going with the times is key to remain in that top-of-mind position.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to create a winning brand positioning statement?
In creating a winning brand positioning statement, you need to know how your product is different from your competitor, and how to capitalize on that difference. Factors that can guide you to determine your uniqueness include pricing, exclusive feature, or you can even create a positioning map in comparison to your competitors.
As you write your brand positioning statement, you need to be succinct, clear, use your brand voice and always focus on the positive.
Your brand positioning statement should contain your target market, your brand name, the core of your brand that is different from your competitors, and the reason why they need to believe your statement and buy your product.
What is brand positioning?
Brand positioning is the act of placing your brand at the top-of-minds of the target audience, by defining the most important feature of your product or services or your unique selling proposition. Brand positioning is what makes your brand different and what convinces the customers to be loyal and support your brand.
How can you create a strong brand positioning strategy?
There are basic steps in creating a strong brand positioning strategy, this includes:
- Evaluating your current brand positioning;
- Assessing your competitors;
- Creating a positioning map;
- Listing valuable features and the benefits of availing your products/services;
- Making sure that you can deliver what you promised;
- Creating your brand positioning statement; and
- Keeping your brand positioning statement at the center of your campaign.
How Well Is Your Brand Positioning Working?
To ensure that your brand positioning is working well, you will have to do research, analyze your customer data, evaluate your competitors, determine their brand position and how it is doing, evaluate your brand position, and how you can do better than them.
What is an example of brand positioning?
Through the years, the following brands were able to maintain their strong brand positioning, below are examples of brand positioning:
A luxury car brand known for its innovative ideas, Tesla offers premium products at high pricing. The brand still experiences high demand due to its value-based experience strategy. Its cars are eco-friendly, runs on electricity, and are scientifically advanced.
Dubbed as the “happiest place on earth,” Disneyland has positioned its amusement parks as an experience of a lifetime, and no other amusement park can provide that experience.
Facebook is still the top social media platform and it has established itself as a way to communicate to your family and friends, as well as to new acquaintances. Facebook is continuously evolving, to ensure that users will always have something new to experience.