When you think of a phone, brands like Apple and Samsung come to mind. If you hear of luxury cars, you would most likely presume people are talking about a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Rolls-Royce. If you cut yourself, do you ask for a bandage or a Band-Aid? These companies were able to leave their mark on people because they incorporated an effective brand positioning strategy into their business model.
Brand positioning is designing a company's image and offerings to occupy a unique place in its target market. This describes what sets a brand apart from other competitors and its impression in the minds of customers.
What is a Brand Positioning Strategy?
Brand positioning can be simply put as strategically positioning your brand to appeal to your target market and potential customers. People often look for goods or services which are affordable and readily accessible. Your goal in business is to find ways to satisfy customer expectations and achieve growth. Too often, companies overlook the importance of having a brand positioning strategy in their marketing plan because some consider this aspect as an additional expense, without realizing the impact it has on their long-term success. Brand positioning aims to create a unique impression in your customer's minds that would make them link your product or service to something specific and desirable. This can only happen if a company is proactive takes a forward-looking approach to invest their resources and position themselves strategically in the market. Building a brand positioning strategy takes time because preferences change, and markets trend vary from region to region.
What Do You Want to Achieve?
In creating your brand positioning strategy, your company must identify the things you want to achieve within given timespan. EquiBrand Consulting shares the three objectives of a Brand Positioning Strategy:
- Relevance- Regardless of how innovative, efficient, and unique your product or service is, if it is marketed and positioned at the wrong timing and location, your business wouldn't be able to sell as much as expected.
- Differentiation-Your product or service must stand out from the rest of your competitors! This is a crucial aspect of your strategy because people are always searching for something different and unique to make their brand stand out.
- Credible and Attainable- These two concepts go hand in hand. Do not make promises that you can't keep because that would tarnish your credibility in the market. However, if you can attain all your goals and objectives at the given period, people will consider you a credible source. Setting attainable goals and staying credible gives you a higher chance for people to patronize your goods or services.
Types of Brand Positioning
Choosing your brand positioning strategy depends on what type of business you have and the kinds of goods and services you sell to the market. Marketing91 lists the five essential types of brand positioning:
- Quality-Based Brand Positioning- To be successful in brand positioning, you should try to focus on at least one type of parameter to specialize on. Creating high-quality products at affordable prices and creating superior services with competitive rates can put your company on the map. Many businesses are so focused on enhancing their products or services; this is why it is challenging for you to compete in terms of quality. Others may be doing well or sometimes even better than you in quality and quantity, but the best you can do is stay consistent in giving your clients the best services.
- Benefit Positioning: Countless companies have used this old but gold brand positioning strategy for decades. Businesses boast about their products or service's best qualities and position themselves as pioneers or experts in that specific field. Come to think of Sensodyne toothpaste's claim that it is the best premium toothpaste for oral hygiene.
- Problem and Solution Positioning- Numerous brands have used this strategy so that customers would consider them as solutions to their current issues. Businesses would specifically solve their clients' problems and satisfy the market as much as possible. Companies in the financial sector usually use this brand positioning strategy by giving loans with less hassle and requirements in a lesser amount of time.
- Price Positioning- The majority of customers consider price a major factor to consider when choosing the brand to purchase. You can smartly position yourself in the market by selling cheaper goods and services to your target market without compromising quality and consistency. Airline services such as the South Asian Airline in Malaysia have long been catering to lower and middle-class clients. Knowing your target market's budget and willingness to pay is crucial in drawing your price table.
- Value-based Positioning: Customers tend to work with businesses that can provide consistent value to them. It would be best to make your clients understand why they should get their services from your company. If you are selling high-end products or services, you can establish to your market's mind that the more expensive the product is, the better the quality is. Value-based positioning is a psychological approach that businesses should learn throughout their marketing strategy plan.
Impact of Brand Positioning on Your Business
A successful brand positioning makes companies more attractive and recognizable in the market. According to Oberlo statistics, consistent presentation of a brand has been attributed to increases in revenue by as much as 33%. While the market is always changing, and new competitors emerging, a company with a smart brand positioning strategy always has the highest chance of being the first choice in the market. Despite the competition, consumers tend to recognize and prefer well known and reliable brands.
Focus efforts to position your brand with the people who matter most to your business. A deep understanding of your target market can promote loyalty and customer retention. This can make your brand more meaningful and valuable to customers. By providing an identifiable and meaningful picture of your brand, you can own a space that could set you apart from a crowded market. Most importantly, having a smart brand positioning strategy can help guide your long and short-term marketing decisions. This can make your brand more competitive, adaptable, and recognizable to the market.
Benefits of a Brand Positioning Strategy
A good brand positioning strategy can play a large factor in the success of your business. YourArticleLibrary lists the top ten benefits of having a brand positioning strategy in your business:
- Make the entire organization market-oriented
- Cope with the market changes
- Meet buyers' expectations
- Promote consumers' goodwill and loyalty
- Design a promotional strategy
- Win the attention and interest of customers
- Attract different types of customers
- Face competition
- Introduce a New Product Successfully
- Communicate New, Varied, and Future Features
Brand Positioning in a Pandemic
In this “new normal”, your business must stay competitive and growing. Igina.net lists the four ways to strengthen your brand positioning amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Identify what makes you stand out from the rest of your competitors- Whether it's the product quality, responsive customer service, or even the fast delivery, you should be able to identify what makes your business attractive to your target market. In realizing these aspects, you would be able to learn and further improve in these areas.
- What and Who is Your target market- No matter how good your product or service is, if you don't know whom you are going to sell it to, your efforts may, unfortunately, come to waste. It is vital for you first to recognize your potential market before creating your products and services.
- Create your frame of reference- This is how your consumers perceive your brand. Having a reasonable frame of reference is essential for you when you are building your brand positioning strategy. If you are new in the industry, don't try to compete with bigger competitors immediately. Test the waters and focus on achieving the attainable goals first.
- Establish your proof- Avoid making promises that you can’t keep. Do not build your customer expectation to the point that they will lose trust in you and your business. Establish proof by collecting reviews and recommendations from your past and present customers. Be inspired by the good comments and stay consistent with providing efficient service. On the other hand, don't neglect the harsh criticisms, and instead, redirect your attention to working harder on filling in the gaps and strengthening your business's weaker aspects.
How to Successfully Position Your Brand
Forming a brand positioning strategy may look easy on paper, but in reality, executing your marketing plan takes focus and determination to be successful. If you want to position your brand successfully, companies need to direct their attention into building brand loyalty with your customers and continually reinforcing your product or service's values. Your brand positioning strategy's objective is to influence how your target market perceives your brand compared to the other competitors.
Steps in Positioning Your Brand
While there are many stages involved to correctly position your brand, DuffyAgency provides us with a simple step-by-step guide on how to create a brand positioning strategy.
- Lay the Foundation- If you want your business to be consistently booming in the years to come, you must consider laying a strong foundation for your brand. Keep in mind that your positioning statement should never exist alone. Your brand strategy should be built upon and linked with your brand's proposition, brand attributes, internal and external communication, and most importantly, the good or service itself.
- Talk to Your Target- This is the most crucial aspect of building your brand positioning strategy because miscommunication can lead to a breakdown in your organizational structure and development plan. Before you release your product or service out in the market, it would be great to consult a person or a group of people who are not affiliated with your business about what they think about your product or service. Hearing their honest feedback and criticism will give you and your team insight into improving and keeping consistent.
The following are the points you want to establish in your interview:
- What category does your brand belong in? Describe your product or service to them honestly and ask them what they think about your pre-launched brand.
- How they would categorize your brand, and where would it sit in their rankings.
- How do they view other competitors in contrast with your company? Would they rank other brands higher or lower than yours?
- The unmet needs that are not yet covered by the existing brands in the market.
- The importance of these unmet criteria to the purchasing power and decision of the buyer
- Analyze Collected Findings Unbiasedly- Make sure that the team interpreting and finalizing your data is unaffiliated with your business. Having a third-party review the results shall provide you with unbiased documentation of what the market expects from you and what your company should give to its clients.
The third-party should take into consideration these three aspects:
- Map the target market's existing categories and which category they would affiliate your brand with. If they place your good or service in a new category, make them note that as well.
- Map the existing positions and how rooted they are in the target market's mind.
- Suggest honest, practical, and attainable opportunities for you to reach and to build a brand positioning strategy around
- Adapt to the Market-Listen to what the numbers and figures are telling you. Many companies' major mistake is that despite the data showed to them, they still stick to their old and inefficient ways. Don't be stubborn and change what is needed. Adapt to the market by shifting your market approach and changing your advertisement strategy according to the current trend. It is alright to adapt and tweak things a bit, but not to the point that you are compromising your company's values and forgetting the real reason why you started your business.
- Focus- Brand positioning is an act of exclusion, not inclusion. Do not claim so many attributes that you can't keep consistent. As much as possible, stick to your business' most vital aspect and make that your sales pitch. Think of Volvo, who claimed "safety" as its brand position. Until now, people have seen Volvo as a pioneer of safe cars and purchases the vehicle because they believe that they will be the safest when riding a Volvo. View brand positioning as a handle that differentiates your brand from the mainstream and gives your target market something to hold on to and believe.
- Commit, Coordinate, and Nurture- A clearly positioned brand can be executed across all your touchpoints and be conveyed as your significant competitive advantage against other mainstream competitors. Once you have established your brand positioning strategy, the rest of your marketing efforts should build around it. Remember that brand positioning is the core of your brand's competitive strategy, that is why it is crucial for you to ensure that your brand makes an impact to your target market,
The Power of a Good Advertisement
A good advertisement may be a significant factor in enhancing sales and building your brand, but you should always remember to walk the talk and not claim features that are inconsistent with your brand strategy. Consumer Brand Builders suggests five positioning areas to focus on for your advertising:
- Appearance- Looks are important. Wear your brand colors.
- Messaging- Keep your promises. Mean what you say!
- Distribution- Where can the market find you? Stay visible on your social platforms!
- Advertising- Get the word out! Create a trend for people to follow.
- Behavior- Walk your talk. Your product should be as what the advertisements shows it to be!
Brand positioning is a comprehensive research process that needs to be tended, monitored, and consistently developed. It is a journey of discovering your brand and how it relates to the competition. Following these simple steps can help you position your brand positioning strategy successfully in a competitive marketplace. Companies must be passionate and enthusiastic about their brand values. Customers will feel more comfortable when buying if they feel a business is rooted in its values and cares about its clients. Make your target market feel that they are part of your family, and help each other grow over time.
If you are an entrepreneur who wants to grow your business, but is uncertain about your marketing strategy, contact The Five Echelon Group for help in building out a strategic marketing plan that can help your company accelerate its brand positioning strategy.