Brand Positioning: what it is and why it is important for companies

What is brand positioning? What does brand positioning really mean? Why is it fundamental in marketing strategies devised by companies, and why does it also concern your mind and that of millions of potential consumers?

Brand positioning refers to one or more marketing strategies that involve a company’s identity, its value proposition, the customer experience it offers, and, more generally, the competition among market players who daily vie for the attention of potential customers.

The term encompasses various concepts and can be analyzed from different perspectives. In this article, we will explore the main ones together. And in the end, you will learn how to implement a brand positioning strategy. You will find both theoretical information and an example of a current positioning strategy.

In particular, I will explain:

  • what brand positioning is
  • why it is important
  • what elements characterize it
  • how to create a brand positioning strategy
  • what the positioning statement and the positioning map are
  • a current example of brand positioning.

Explore our Digital Marketing Course to deepen your understanding of marketing, including effective brand positioning.

What is brand positioning

Brand positioning is a marketing strategy that involves distinguishing, differentiating, and standing out from those operating in the market in a specific sector. It deals with competition and how to surpass it. It’s not just about comparison. It’s not just a comparison with others for its own sake.

It means comparing and emerging, becoming recognizable, unique, and reliable in the minds of people, potential future customers. So that when, in doubt, they have to decide whether to choose this or that brand, product, or service, they will ultimately choose the one that, perhaps only unconsciously, is well imprinted in their minds.

It doesn’t just concern “only” the logo, image, slogan, or something purely formal and aesthetically memorable and appealing, but what lies behind it. Values, history, mission, vision, credibility, and everything that distinguishes a company, supports it, forms its foundation, positions it, and allows it to operate positively and recognizably in the market.

Whether it’s a traditional company doing marketing in the classic sense or a modern company or a start-up basing its strategy on digital marketing, brand positioning is still fundamental.

The theory of brand positioning

If you prefer definitions, in an article titled “Industrial marketing,” written in 1969, the American advertising executive and pioneer of the brand positioning theory, Jack Strout, argued that positioning was “a mental device used by consumers to simplify and store in a logical place” the enormous amount of new information they were bombarded with.

He went on to say that “the typical consumer is overwhelmed by unwanted advertising and discards all information that does not immediately find a comfortable and empty place in his mind.”

So, it’s about the mind of the consumer and potential customer. How products, objects, and those who design and make them are placed in it or excluded from it. And how this affects purchasing behavior.

If you think about “Dove” soap, is it positioned in your mind as “soap for men with dirty hands”? Or perhaps as “soap for women with dry hands”? This question comes from the English advertising executive David Ogilvy and I believe it helps you understand better what brand positioning means.

Why brand positioning is important

Why should a company invest heavily in positioning strategies? A company or brand operating in the market, in any sector, can build its reputation by doing nothing and letting the results achieved, reviews, feedback, or customer judgments determine its success (or failure), without having any control over the process. Alternatively, it can adopt tailored marketing strategies and build the reputation it wants to have. In both cases, the company will have a reputation, as will the product or service it offers. However, in the second case, by consciously adopting a brand positioning strategy, the benefits for the company itself and its product or service will be significantly greater. Now, I will explain why a company should have full control of the positioning process and not rely on chance.

Differentiating and emerging from the sea of competitors

Carving out a space in the market through brand positioning allows companies to differentiate themselves from competitors, increase brand awareness, and communicate its value and uniqueness. Communication based on this marketing strategy has both short-term and long-term benefits, enabling the company or brand to build loyalty with its target audience. People’s attention and time are limited resources. The advertising messages that reach potential customers on a daily basis are numerous. The background noise is deafening and continuous. Only a company with a clear and recognizable voice can stand out and speak directly to people who identify with what the company offers. Directly to its target audience. And it will be those people that the company wants to attract, who will become potential customers and then future clients.

Justifying the prices of products and services

Through brand awareness, conveyed value, and uniqueness, companies can justify their prices, which are a direct result of these three elements. Whether they offer high-value products or lower-value ones, positioning will transparently clarify why prices are higher or lower than the competition’s. The company will no longer compete based on price but on the value it expresses. And customers will know that the price they pay is justified by the brand they have chosen.

Facilitating consumer/client choice

People don’t want to spend too much time searching for the product or service they’re interested in. So, they rely on what they know and trust. If a company works well and applies the right marketing strategy, aiming to be recognized and instill trust, it triggers positive emotions in the minds of consumers and future customers. By pulling the right strings, it’s possible that people will choose a company, brand, or brand almost automatically.

Communicating more coherently and creatively

It may seem obvious, but having a clear and defined position in the market, one’s identity, values, goals, and the type of potential customers also helps with better communication and creativity. Understanding these elements well allows them to be used as guiding stars that drive the creation of the message that the company wants to convey and how it wants to be perceived by people out there. A company’s communication and marketing must be managed in line with positioning, and at the same time, positioning enables more creative and profitable management of marketing and communication.

Brand positioning for improvement and innovation. Discover how to innovate your company and be more competitive.

LEARN MORE HERE

What are the characteristic elements of brand positioning?

When devising a good brand positioning strategy, it is crucial to consider certain elements without which the goal of becoming recognizable, unique, and occupying a well-defined space in the minds of consumers cannot be achieved. We are talking about coherence, value proposition, target audience, and content.

Coherence and value proposition

The company must clearly and consistently convey what potential customers can expect from it. Its marketing strategy and online, web, social, and offline communication, in physical stores and wherever it appears, must be consistent with the values and objectives it has and wants to achieve. It must also reflect its value proposition, which is what sets it apart from other competitors. What unique elements it can offer compared to other market players? The same coherence must then be found in various moments of the customer experience. It is this that fosters customer trust and, in the long run, pushes them towards one proposal rather than another.

Target audience

When positioning itself in the market, the company must have a clear understanding of its target audience. This should consist of people who share values and a way of acting that sets the company apart. This way, it will be able to attract customers who think the same way and can build a community based on a shared worldview.

Content

Content serves as a bridge between the company, its values, vision, goals, and the community of people who follow it. Through the content it offers, the company creates engagement with its audience and strengthens the trust relationship, with positive effects in the medium to long term.

 

Enhance your Brand’s Social Media Presence by optimizing it with the help of this comprehensive glossary

guide on social media marketing

How to do brand positioning

A brand positioning strategy goes through various phases. It is necessary to have a detailed understanding of the company, brand, or brand, its identity, its strengths, and what the company, brand, or brand can do and possess that others cannot. This knowledge will allow positioning in the market in the most correct and profitable way for the type of business it conducts. Below are the most important steps.

Determine the current position

In this phase, the company, brand, or brand must consider what its current positioning is. Is the product or service it offers already on the market, or is it offering it exclusively? Who is the target customer? What are its values, and mission, What makes it different from competitors? What is its value proposition? What is its tone of voice? Knowing its current position well will help me understand better which direction to go in the future.

Define objectives

The objectives that the company wants to achieve must be clear at the time of defining the brand positioning strategy and must be well-defined. In this phase, it is essential to analyze the market’s direction and verify if the path to be taken is correct and profitable.

Identify competitors

This step is crucial and serves for the company to understand who it competes within the market. Research is necessary. Know what the competition does and how it does it. What products, and services does it offer? What marketing strategies does it use? How is it currently positioned? In what is it stronger? In what is it weaker? Knowing these aspects will allow the company to understand what, how, and where it can excel compared to its competitors.

How can competition be studied?

Among the most commonly used methods are:

  • Market research
  • Customer feedback
  • Use of social platforms.

SWOT analysis

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Analyzing these elements allows understand how to leverage strengths to one’s advantage and how to manage any weaknesses that could create sudden and unforeseen problems.

Defining your value proposition

What makes the company unique? What does the company offer that others don’t or do differently? In this phase, the research conducted earlier can be useful.

For example, the weaknesses of competitors could instead be strengths of the company, which can leverage them to its advantage. It is through the definition of the value proposition that the company, brand gains its strength, uniqueness, and positions itself in the market and in the minds of potential customers.

When all these steps have been completed, you can proceed with the creation of a document that gathers the key aspects of what has emerged. This document constitutes a fundamental part of the brand positioning strategy: the brand positioning statement.

 

Do you have an E-commerce Business? Position your brand to stay ahead in the competition landscape

e-commerce mini guide ebook

The brand positioning statement

The “brand positioning statement” is an important document in the brand positioning process. It describes and communicates the uniqueness of the company, and brand compared to its main competitors.

It must be simple but impactful and must particularly answer these questions:

  • What category does the product or service fall into?
  • How is this product or service offered?
  • What is the biggest advantage that the product or service offers?
  • What is the proof of this advantage?
  • Who is the company’s target audience?

But how should a brand positioning statement be written? The keywords are simplicity, brevity, uniqueness, and memorability. These four qualities must highlight the company’s values, what it offers, how it does it, and what sets it apart. Once the brand positioning statement is created, it is crucial to verify, test, experiment, and gather customer opinions to determine whether the implemented strategy is effective, needs improvement, or should be changed.

The brand positioning map

In a brand positioning strategy, the positioning map allows comparing the position occupied in the market or sector by a company, or brand. We are talking about the visual representation, on Cartesian axes, of specific companies, brands, or brands concerning predetermined characteristics known to be important in consumers’ purchase decisions. Imagine that on the x-axis, at the far left, there is the characteristic “low price,” and at the far right, “high price.” On the y-axis, at the top, there is “high quality,” while at the bottom, “low quality.” Depending on how a company or its brand is positioned in the market, they will populate the map, occupying various quadrants.

  • Brand A, high cost, high quality
  • Brand B, low cost, poor quality
  • Brand C, low cost but good quality.

And so on. By placing the company, brand, or brand on the map, along with competing companies, brands, or brands, it is possible to determine who is more competitive in a particular area compared to others and, consequently, set your marketing strategy.

A current example of Brand Positioning

If you pay attention and switch to “curiosity mode” for just a few hours, you can realize that you are constantly surrounded by examples of positioning. On TV, on the radio, but also online, on the web, and on social media, companies competing in the market try in every way to position themselves in the minds of consumers or to maintain the position they have acquired. Not doing so, not doing brand positioning, would mean risking being overwhelmed by the sea of information and messages being produced and disappearing under the blows from increasingly fierce competitors who would end up snatching all the customers.

brand positioning examples

For example, think about two commercials that have been on TV these days. One is more recent, while the other has been running for a few months.

In the first one, you see two people in the park, a young girl who seems worried and lost in her thoughts, and an adult woman who is feeding some birds. There are some exchanged glances and faint smiles. In the background, a voice explains how Covid has contributed to amplifying the discomfort of young people.

The commercial ends with a package arriving and an unexpected gift that the woman gives to the young girl. In the second commercial, the protagonist is a young man who, while images of his workday and family flash in the background, talks about who he is, and what he does, and describes some aspects of his life.

These are two campaigns created by Amazon, a company that has always put people at the center of its business. Its services are designed to make people’s lives easier: fast delivery, low prices, a vast catalog, the possibility of returns, and efficient and always-available customer service. All of this is designed with people in mind because customers can have a positive experience when using the e-commerce platform founded by Jeff Bezos.

By doing this and communicating it in the right way, Amazon positions itself in the market and in the minds of consumers.

Do you remember the example of Ogilvy’s soap? If you think of a company or brand that allows you to buy practically anything very quickly, all from your own home, what company or brand comes to mind? In which slot in your mind do you place Amazon? Because an “Amazon” slot is certainly present in your mind, as well as in the minds of millions of people.

Selling on Amazon today is a great opportunity. And you can do it without having a warehouse and managing shipments.

LEARN TO SELL ON AMAZON

But there’s more. Because Amazon doesn’t want to occupy just that slot in your mind. With these two commercials, it tries to gain other valuable spaces. By playing with emotions and using a masterful brand positioning strategy, it expands (and improves) its reputation:

  • It shows sensitivity and attentiveness to the problems of those who use its platform, offering simple solutions that somehow help people live and feel better.
  • It shows behind-the-scenes those who work there, humanizing them and showing them engaged but happy because they are employed in a company that cares about people, all people.

What is this if not a marketing strategy designed to underline its values, vision, uniqueness, and ultimately the place it wants to have in the market and in people’s minds?

Conclusion and free personalized consultation

As you have seen, in the field of marketing, brand positioning is not just something theoretical, made up of abstract rules and strategies, but it is something concrete that, perhaps hidden behind a commercial that moves you or an engaging experience offered by a website you have visited, even unconsciously ties you to that particular company, brand, or brand that will remain impressed in your mind as a synonym for reliability and shared values. That’s why companies invest so much in this marketing strategy and will continue to do so.

If you have a company and want to discover how to position yourself online, request a free Personalized Strategic Consultation

REQUEST MORE INFORMATION

START YOUR CAREER

next-departure -courses-digital-marketing

DOWNLOAD YOUR EBOOK

Which is the best Digital jobs for you cover ebook

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *