How To Create Strong Brand Positioning in 2020
What sets you apart from the competition? Successful companies like Coca-Cola and Band-Aid have one important thing in common: a strong brand. In fact, their brand names have become generic terms for all similar products in their niche. If you cut yourself, do you ask for a bandage or a Band-Aid?
A strong brand should be a priority for all businesses striving for success and the proof is in the numbers. Brands that are consistently presented see an average revenue increase of 23%.
What is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. More than a tagline or a fancy logo, brand positioning is the strategy used to set your business apart from the rest.
Brand knowledge comprises of brand awareness and brand image contribute to establishing of customer based brand equity. The process is gradual and requires in-depth understanding of consumer mind. Connection between brand and consumer leads to long term partnership and loyalty. And, continued support to marketing efforts of the company. So when a company is trying to build up brand knowledge, Brand Positioning becomes very much relevant. For example, Apple and Windows both are well known brand. Consumers are aware that they both are computer brands dealing in entertainment, but Apple stands for style, cool quotient, iPod etc whereas Windows stands for world class operating system, quality etc. Consumer can easily identify point of similarities and points of difference between the two brands. This process of creating point of similarities and points of difference in consumer’s mind is called Brand Positioning.
Brand positioning strategy is about finding a right place for a brand in market place as well consumer mind. A consumer should easily identify that for a given need or want this is the brand. If brand fails to do this, it simply becomes just another product or commodity on supermarket or mall shelf. So for successful brand positioning, following points are of utmost importance for companies; target consumer, main competitors, point of similarity with competitors and point of difference with competitors.
So, to identify target consumer we must narrow down target market. A market comprises of cluster of individual with similar behavior, referred to as segments. These segments can be defined on basis of personal consumption profile, which includes marital status, consumption of product, usage rate of product and expectation from product. Another is demographic which includes age, sex, income level, race and family. Further segmentation can be done on location, if consumer, that is whether they are local or global. Other segmentation can be done on basis of emotional profile, which includes personal belief and values, chosen lifestyle, religious affiliation etc.
Knowing your competitor is very essential for survival in market. SWOT analysis is definitely good starting point. Competition may not be coming from the same product class but maybe from substitute, such as, tea vs coffee. The point here is that not to narrow down competition too much as to lose focus. In recent time apparel industry has facing competition from consumer electronics industry, as people are willing to spend buck on iPod, HDTV to make style statement and not clothes.
Point of difference could be defining in terms of the way consumer thinks for a given brand. These are the points which will make the brand stand out from competition. Point of difference is like unique selling proposition and this difference can be in form of appearance, predictable performance, quality, better customer service. For example Wal-Mart, faces competition not only from Target but also from Macy’s and Shaw’s. But point of difference is the product range it can offer at competitive prices compared to other stores.
Points of similarity are common traits essential to make sure that consumer understand the product. It helps in enforcing a simple point of identifying product within product class. This becomes important especially if brand is in extension mode and looking to enter another category. This is more prevalent in consumer goods industry, such as Old Spice earlier it was focus on shaving product but later moved to grooming products like deodorants.
Brand positioning is very important step in establishing customer based brand equity. Target market, Knowing competitors, Point of difference and Point of similarity together add to strategic branding process.
Brand positioning is defined as the conceptual place you want to own in the target consumer’s mind — the benefits you want them to think of when they think of your brand. An effective brand positioning strategy will maximize customer relevancy and competitive distinctiveness, in maximizing brand value.
SIX STEPS THAT HELP YOU CREATE A BRAND POSITIONING STRATEGY
Creating your own brand positioning strategy involves diving deep into the details of your brand and discovering what you do better than anyone else. These six steps help you create a brand positioning strategy that’s unique to your business.
Step 1: Determine your current brand positioning
Are you currently marketing your product or service as just another item on the market, or are you marketing it as something distinctive? Your current brand positioning gives you important insight into where to go next. You’ll need to understand your current position to further analyze your competition.
Start by considering your target customer and defining who they are. Next, identify your mission, values, and what makes you different from the rest of the market. Finally, take stock of your value proposition and your current brand persona and brand voice.
Matylda at Live Chat Partner Program advises, “We all like connecting with brands that sound and feel authentic to us. Instead of building a complex lingo that no one will be able to understand, just talk human. Start with researching who your (ideal and existing) audience is, and use their language.”
Step 2: Determine your competition
After analyzing yourself, it’s important to analyze your competition by performing competitor analysis. Why? You’ll need to see who you’re up against to conduct competitor research. That research will help you decide what you can do better in your strategy to gain an edge.
There are different methods for determining your competition, including:
- Conducting market research: Ask your sales team what competitors come up during the sales process, or do a quick search using a market keyword and see which companies are listed.
- Use customer feedback: Ask your customers which businesses or products they were considering before choosing yours.
- Use social media: Quoraoffers a platform where consumers can ask questions about products and services. Search these forums to discover competitors in your niche.
Step 3: Conduct competitor research
Once you’ve determined who your competitors are, it’s time to conduct in-depth competitor research. You’ll need to analyze how your competition is positioning their brand in order to compete. At its simplest, your research should include:
- What products or services your competitors offer
- What their strengths and weaknesses are
- What marketing strategies they’re using successfully
- What their position is in the current market
Step 4: Identify what makes your brand unique
Building a unique brand is all about identifying what makes you different and what works best for your business. Chmielewska suggests, “Start by defining what ‘effective’ really means for your brand — and then build its image based on that.”
Chances are, after you conduct competitor research, you’ll begin to see patterns. You’ll start to see some businesses that have the same strengths and weaknesses. As you compare your product or service to theirs, you might find one of their weaknesses is your strength.
This is what makes your brand unique; and it’s the perfect starting point for positioning your brand in the market. Take note of your unique offerings as you compare, and dive deep to identify what you do better than anyone else.
Step 5: Create your positioning statement
It’s time to take what you’ve learned and create a brand positioning statement. According to The Cult Branding Company, “A positioning statement is a one- or two-sentence declaration that communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your main competitors.”
There are four questions to answer before creating your positioning statement:
- Who is your target customer?
- What’s your product or service category?
- What’s the greatest benefit of your product or service?
- What’s the proof of that benefit?
From there, you can craft a simple but compelling positioning statement. For example, take a look at Amazon’s positioning statement: “Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Amazon’s target customer — although incredibly broad — is anyone. They sell a wide range of products for everyone, which is also their greatest benefit. And the proof? It’s all online.
Step 6: Does your positioning statement work?
Taking the time to position your brand to appeal to a certain customer is just the beginning. Once your positioning statement is created, it’s time to test, experiment, and gather feedback from your customers on whether or not your positioning achieves its goal.
As Ryan Robinson of Close.io says, “Investing the time and effort into positioning your brand to appeal toward a specific vertical, type of consumer, or demographic is only a small part of the battle. It’s crucial to test, experiment, and actively gather (real) feedback from your target customers on whether or not your positioning is actually having its desired effect. We’ve doubled down on our positioning by consistently asking for (and listening to) feedback from new customers when they join, and it’s clear that both our content and its delivery style remain a key asset for our brand.”
Brand Positioning Map: The Power of Perception
If you want to see how your brand compares to others in consumers’ perceptions, a brand positioning map can help.