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Brand Positioning

Brand Positioning Basics

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Brand Positioning Basics

Positioning is something (perception) that happens in the minds of the target market.

It is the aggregate perception the market has of a particular company, product or service in relation to their perceptions of the competitors in the same category.

It will happen whether or not a company’s management is proactive, reactive or passive about the on-going process of evolving a position.

But a company can positively influence the perceptions through enlightened strategic actions.

In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. It is the ‘relative competitive comparison’ their product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market.

Re-positioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products, in the collective minds of the target market.

De-positioning involves attempting to change the identity of competing products, relative to the identity of your own product, in the collective minds of the target market.

The Process Of Brand Positioning

Generally, the product positioning process involves:

  • Defining the market in which the product or brand will compete (who the relevant buyers are)
  • Identifying the attributes (also called dimensions) that define the product ‘space’
  • Collecting information from a sample of customers about their perceptions of each product on the relevant attributes
  • Determine each product’s share of mind
  • Determine each product’s current location in the product space
  • Determine the target market’s preferred combination of attributes (referred to as an ideal vector)
  • Examine the fit between:
    • The position of your product
    • The position of the ideal vector
  • Position.

The process is similar for positioning your company’s services.

Services, however, don’t have the physical attributes of products – that is, we can’t feel them or touch them or show nice product pictures.

So you need to ask first your customers and then yourself, what value do clients get from my services? How are they better off from doing business with me? Also ask: is there a characteristic that makes my services different?

Write out the value customers derive and the attributes your services offer to create the first draft of your positioning.

Test it on people who don’t really know what you do or what you sell, watch their facial expressions and listen for their response.

When they want to know more because you’ve piqued their interest and started a conversation, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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2 Comments

Barbara on May 09th, 2009 said

Why is brand positioning important to the store buyer, the visual merchandiser and the advertising agency?

LawrenceMcGlown on February 12th, 2010 said

Great article. I would like to offer perspective on a couple of underlying inferences in the outlined approach.

1) Every brand owns ‘a’ singular position — this is more a desire of marketers than a marketplace reality. Brands maintain different relationships with different people. As such, positioning should be treated as more of a sliding scale than an absolute. Taking this approach yields a strategy that ladders the range of opinions inside and outside of the managing organization to a compelling destination.

2) A brand can be positioned by simply aligning marketing efforts with identified white space — this is somewhat true. However, there exist challenges that extend beyond the development of a strategic plan. Influencing collaboration among working adults is not easy, but required in order to achieve the intentions of a plan. Marketers can influence more genuine support by assessing and developing strategies to influence enterpise-wide adoption of their positioning strategies.

In summary, the process of positioning extends beyond a communication strategy. Positioning should help employees create windows of meaning customers will open, personalize and tell others they too should do the same.

Cheers,

Lawrence

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