The worst-selling products are products that are marketed to everyone and appeal to no one. In order to earn its place in the market and create a clear brand image in consumers’ minds, you need to create a strong brand positioning. This way, you’ll be sending your customers a clear message about who you are, what your brand is about, and what your reputation is. Positioning helps you to find the place you’ll occupy in consumers’ minds among other products in the marketplace.
What Is Brand Positioning
Positioning a product or a brand means developing a specific image of your company that would convey the company’s values along with the advantages of its offer so that your customers would be able to easily remember it whenever they have a specific purpose in mind. In the modern market of goods and services, consumers can often feel confused if you don’t “filter” what you’re offering to them. Without product positioning, people unknowingly put a product into a large group of unrecognisable and ambiguous offers, which they give their lowest priority to. And it’s most likely that they will prefer a product with a clear positioning based on the characteristics and criteria that they find important.
With proper brand positioning, you’ll be able to:
- Create a clear and coherent perception of the brand for your audience.
- Create the right connections and triggers so that your potential customers can remember your offer at the right time for them.
- Speak to the audience about their specific problems in the language they understand.
- Convey the brand’s main ideas and values that consumers share.
- Establish strong contact and trust with your target audience.
- Make your offer stand out among similar ones.
Simply put, a brand with a clear positioning becomes more visible in the market. Customers are more likely to quickly understand it, remember it, and purchase from it at any occasion.
Types of Brand Positioning Strategies
Positioning calls for a coherent, well-structured strategic process with a number of stages. The appropriate strategy for positioning your own brand would depend on many factors, including the type of product you offer, the current situation in your market segment, the competitors’ positioning and the organisation’s capabilities.
Consumer Based Positioning
This strategy is relevant if you sell products aimed at a specific segment of people. As a rule, you can identify your potential customers using a set of parameters or a certain individual feature, as you would do with targeting your ads.
Product ads are usually targeted at a particular category of people and feature celebrities who become associated with your brand in consumers’ minds.
Brands speak to specific audiences, distinguish them among the others and let them know that they’re unique and deserve all the best.
Competitor Based Positioning
Every market has its leaders. If you’re looking to get your share of consumers and convert them into your customers, you need to make it clear why you’re a better choice and what sets you apart from your competitors. Identify your opponents’ weaknesses, find out which consumer needs (such as, quality, service, shipping terms) they fail to satisfy, and show that you’re a better choice for these criteria or present yourself in a new way, different from the rest of the market.
Category Based Positioning
If your brand is developing an innovative product or service, a product with unique features, if it strives to establish a new market or introduce an improved solution to the consumers’ problems to the existing market, you should position yourself as a leader in a specific product category. The strategy implies that you’re offering your target audience a new, more comfortable, high-status and advantageous way to handle their tasks — by using your product, that is. And by doing so, you’re improving the product category in general.
This way, a brand shows what benefits a potential buyer will get by purchasing a product. The strategy is aimed at convincing potential customers about rational or emotional motives for purchasing products. In a highly competitive environment, businesses are struggling to offer unique advantages. Many companies are offering the same benefits, and it’s only the strongest market players whose benefits stick in consumers’ minds. That’s why this strategy is more suitable when you introduce a specific group of products, operate in a low-competitive environment or create a new market.
Conventionally, consumers consider products from the viewpoint of rational and emotional perception. At that, consumers can have higher and lower levels of involvement in the decision-making processes. For example, a buyer would clearly spend less time choosing a pack of napkins or a pizza to have for dinner than deciding on a mortgage loan or picking up expensive jewellery. That said, some purchase decisions may call for a more practical approach while in other cases, it would be better to rely on internal feelings. With that in mind, brand owners have three options for their pricing factor:
- Offer cheap products. Competing on price makes sense if you’re operating in the economy segment with overpriced products. Alternatively, you can target those who don’t want to pay extra or those who don’t care much about quality or expect exactly the level of quality you offer.
- Offer more value for less money. Here, the focus is made on discounts and promo offers.
- Offer more value for more money. This approach is worth taking if the audience expects quality and is willing to pay more for durability, high-quality service and prestige.
This strategy calls for you to put your competitors out of the equation and place focus on a unique feature, character and special properties of your product. To date, this is the most common strategy, and also one of the most effective strategies for new brands to take.
This strategy implies that consumers can buy not only a product but also prestige, luxury and special treatment associated with the product and that they’re ready to pay for these. The luxury segment includes all kinds of products and services from any category, from cosmetics and food to vehicles and insurance. That said, a company can either only offer luxury goods or include them in its product portfolio. Examples may include business-class seats on an aeroplane, organic fruits and vegetables, selected varieties of coffee, or exclusive fabrics.
How to Make a Strong, Lasting Positive Impression on Your Target Audience
To create a strong positioning, you should know your audience and competitors, analyse your product and make an offer that consumers will have in their hearts for a long time.
Determine Your Current Positioning
Your current positioning can give you an idea of where you are at the moment, what resources you have and what your next steps should be. To do this, you need to analyse trends within your market and assemble a profile of your target audience. Next, assess the position of your product. Find out what people think of it at the moment, determine its values, mission, and distinctive features that set you apart from others. To do this, you can analyse the behaviour of the audience on social media networks, read customer reviews, conduct a survey — as a rule, loyal customers willingly share their impressions of the product and expect you to listen to them. In this way, you’ll be able to identify valuable consumer insights in relation to your company, as well as drivers and barriers related to your offer.
Identify Your Direct Competitors
The assessment of your current situation involves multiple activities. You should not only collect feedback from consumers but also identify competitors who operate in your market environment and compete for your audience. Who else in the market offers similar or the same solutions to the same customers’ needs?
Analyse the Positioning of Your Competitors’ Brands
Identify the key messages used by the top players in your market. To do this, analyse customer feedback across online platforms and brand profiles on social media, monitor advertising campaigns, and try being a client of those brands yourself. This way, you’ll be able to reveal strengths and weaknesses in your competitors’ products and services, identify their key offers to the audience, and use this data to set yourself apart and choose the best optimised positioning strategy for your own business.
Highlight the Unique Features of Your Brand
The uniqueness of a brand is something that customers won’t be able to get anywhere else. Knowing the market, its key players and consumers’ opinions about you and competitors will enable you to establish a foundation to build the brand for many years ahead, create messages with the right tone of voice, and choose the positioning by which customers will recognise your brand. Here are a few positioning tools that may help you highlight the unique attributes of your brand:
- Consider the reasons why customers already choose you among competitors.
- Create a completely new product category that will only have your product, and make sure your product doesn’t have the shortcomings of goods in the current market;
- Offer your own unique solution to the problems of the target market and become a leader in this.
- Distance yourself from competitors by creating a new image of a product already familiar to everyone in a highly competitive market.
- Become number 2, by setting yourself up against a competitor and get a share of their audience.
- Share the best practices for using your product with your audience.
- Give new emotional experiences.
Create Clear Messages for Your Target Audience
In order to make sure your target consumers receive your message and understand your product, you need to make it clear for them what your product is about, and to convey the message in the right way. Corporate identity, tagline, tone of voice are integral parts of your marketing strategy. Together, they shape your brand’s image in the mindset of your target customers, and their attitude towards your brand. They also help you define the overall style and flow of your content and get on the same page with your customers.
If you’re creating a new product or updating an existing one if there’s a change in demand or competitors are keeping ahead of you, this calls for developing a positioning strategy for your brand. A well-known brand influences every aspect of your business, from attracting the right staff who would understand your customers’ pain points, to capturing and retaining the audience’s attention in a market environment. In any case, if a business doesn’t have a positioning strategy, people will get their own impressions of the brand anyway. And those impressions don’t always turn out as you’d want them to be.
Strong brand positioning will enable you to position your brand in a way that will help you stand out from the competition, attract your target audiences, develop an effective communication strategy and strengthen your position in the market.