What is brand positioning, and why is it something every business needs to invest in if they want to stand out in today’s competitive marketplace? The chances are, you’ve heard the term “brand positioning” used by marketing and sales experts in the past.
Essentially, this term refers to the strategies companies use to alter the way consumers perceive their organization, and respond to specific products, services, and offers. A good brand positioning statement can help companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and act as a crucial compass for guiding future business decisions.
So, what is brand positioning, and how does it work?
Brand positioning is the art of highlighting the specific value a company can provide to its customers. It’s how companies separate themselves from the competition, by focusing on specific unique selling points, such as lower prices, higher quality materials or components, and excellent customer service.
Essentially, brand positioning involves shaping the perception of your company in the minds of your customers. It involves putting a spotlight on your product or service’s purpose, exclusivity, performance, or price. The goal of this tactic is to convince your audience to associate your brand with certain traits, such as “luxury” or “reliability”.
Used correctly, brand positioning strategies can help businesses capture the attention of the right target audience, while also ensuring they stand out from other competing brands.
Companies rely on a strong reputation, and a consistent emotional connection with their target audience to thrive. A good reputation and understanding of your unique value propositions is what convinces customers not only to buy from you, but to advocate for your business long-term.
Brand positioning strategies allow you to differentiate your product from the competition, so you can capture the attention of your target audience. They also help your company to cultivate brand awareness, so you can improve your chances of finding new leads and opportunities.
An effective brand positioning strategy:
In order to succeed with brand positioning strategies, companies need to come up with a plan for success, which revolves around a shared vision of the company. A brand positioning statement is the document business leaders use to help highlight the key selling points of the solution or service.
It can guide the sales and marketing strategies of a company, helping business leaders to articulate and promote the values of the brand. It also helps to ensure consistency, by keeping everyone in the team on the same page about what a product or service can offer.
Writing a brand positioning statement requires companies to consider:
Used correctly, brand positioning statements and initiatives can significantly improve business results. They stop businesses from blending into the background, and ensure they can stand out among their customers for all of the right reasons.
So, how do you create a brand positioning strategy?
Step 1: Audit your current position
If your business has already launched, you’re already “positioning” yourself in a certain way to your target audience. However, you may not be fully aware of your current position is. To get a better idea of your current positioning in the industry, it’s a good idea to speak to your existing customers.
Find out what prompted them to do business with you, and ask them how they would define your brand, or what kind of key traits they associate your company with. The more feedback you gather from your existing customers, the easier it will be to determine whether you’re positioning yourself effectively to gain new leads and prospects.
Step 2: Research the competition
One of the core benefits of brand positioning, is that it allows you to separate yourself from competing companies in your industry. However, you can only accomplish this if you know what your competitors offer. Assessing the competition will give you an insight into their strengths and weaknesses, so you can build a more unique positioning statement.
Ask yourself what your business can offer that other companies don’t. What is it that makes your organization special, and why should consumers consider buying from you? You may find your competitors even completely fail to address the needs of certain niche groups.
Step 3: Define your unique values
Effective brand positioning relies on your ability to highlight the core benefits and values of your products or services, according to the needs of your target audience. In order to succeed, businesses need a clear understanding of what makes their company valuable.
For instance, you might offer a product that’s priced higher than whatever your competitors offer, but also offers unique features and benefits consumers can’t get elsewhere. You may have an excellent approach to customer service, or a solution that’s more convenient or easier to use.
Step 4: Design a brand positioning statement
Using the research and information you’ve gathered so far, you should be able to start crafting a brand positioning statement which motivates and guides your team. The ideal positioning statement should define your target audience, the unique values of your product or service, and the benefits you can offer to your target audience.
The best brand positioning statements also address how companies can “prove” their value to their target audience. For instance, if a company promises excellent customer service as part of its brand positioning statement, it should have reviews and testimonials which highlight high levels of customer satisfaction.
Step 5: Showcase your brand positioning
Once you have your statement and research in place, you can begin to highlight your position in your marketing and sales tactics. The methods you use to communicate with customers and clients, secure sales and ensure retention should all reflect your position in your industry.
You may start by sharing your positioning statement with employees, stakeholders, and key clients. From there, you can think about how your messaging and marketing techniques reflect the key values you’re trying to convey. You may need to update and adjust your positioning strategy over time, based on the insights you gather from market analysis in the future.
Virtually every major business in the world today has a brand positioning strategy. Some companies are extremely open about their positioning efforts. They may even share their positioning statement on their website, or within their marketing materials. Here are some examples worth checking out:
McDonalds: McDonald’s brand positioning statement situates the company as one dedicated to exceptional service and convenience. The company is consistent in how it communicates with and serves its customers. It’s also constantly committed to gathering insights about its target audience so it can improve its positioning. For instance, the company has heavily invested in making its products healthier and more sustainable in recent years.
Dove: Dove is a health and beauty company which positions itself as a source of care and compassion for customers. The brand focuses on luxury products, available at affordable prices, which have been designed to address the genuine needs of everyday consumers. The company’s marketing and sales messages focus heavily on empowerment, and encouraging women to love themselves, and the bodies they have.
Apple: As a leading technology brand, Apple positions itself as an innovator and pioneer in its field. It does this by constantly staying on the cutting edge with new research and development strategies, which drive the creation of new products. The company is committed to strengthening it’s position as a true thought leader and pioneer.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for ensuring an excellent brand positioning plan. However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of success. Primarily: