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Brand positioning. 6 steps to success

When planning to enter the market, every entrepreneur involuntarily thinks about the future of his business. How long will the company live? The answer from Richard Foster, who is a professor at the Yale School of Management, is not encouraging. According to him, the average life of brands has more than quadrupled since the 1920s and is now 15 years. However, there is also good news. Strong brands are the exception to the general rule. They live long. Sometimes for a very long time. Of course, it is difficult to push Adidas, Toyota or Starbucks Logo out of the market. But getting closer to them is quite real. How to do it? With the help of competent positioning!

What is positioning and why is it important?

Brand positioning is a marketing strategy, the purpose of which is to make a company or its product stand out from competitors as much as possible, to make them more visible and attractive to the target audience. Why is it important to develop an effective strategy? In short, competent positioning tells the consumer why he should buy the product of this particular brand.

What is the purpose of brand positioning? First of all, it helps:

  • Distance yourself from competitors. The modern market is overflowing with offers. In such conditions, not having your own face and being like dozens of other companies is an unaffordable luxury. Competent positioning allows you to analyze the situation and find your niche.
  • Build an emotional connection with your target audience. Professional positioning development makes it possible to effectively interact with consumers. Including build relationships in which the buyer not only purchases the product, but also advises others around him.
  • Create added value. To be honest, technically, the iPhone is not flawless at all. But this does not prevent Apple from selling smartphones at a price that is several times higher than the cost price. The reason is competent positioning, which allows the owners of “apple” technology to feel more progressive, free, and secure.

Note! The above applies to any line of business and market segment. We can talk about the manufacturer of clothing, cars, ice cream, gum, and even personal brands. Either way, positioning helps take your business to the next level.

Positioning Strategies Examples

Experts identify several strategies for positioning companies, brands and products. Consider the most popular types:

  • By category. This concept is suitable for those who are ready to offer the world something unique. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs who created the iPhone. But it is necessary to qualitatively differ from competitors.
  • By audience. This strategy involves positioning according to the principle “For those who”, “Especially for”, etc. When choosing this concept, you need to be careful. First, you deliberately cut off a part of potential consumers. Secondly, you can accidentally offend someone. An example is the Toyota scandal that happened in 2018. The slogan Made For Men, around which the advertising campaign of the Fortuner Toyota SUV was built, became the reason for accusing the automaker of sexism.
  • By price. A controversial concept, since it is impossible to compete endlessly on price alone. Sooner or later, a new player will come to the market, ready to offer buyers more favorable conditions. But it is also impossible not to include this type of positioning in our list. Moreover, such a strategy was successfully used by the largest brands. For example, in the mid-thirties of the last century, PepsiCo seriously pressed its main competitor by offering customers twice as much drink for the same money.
  • For profit. The essence of this positioning strategy is to convey to the consumer information about the material or emotional benefits that he will receive from owning the product. For example, Mercedes is not only a car, but also a real German quality.
  • By premium. This concept should only be used if your product belongs to the luxury niche. This approach involves building the image of a company or product around exclusivity, higher quality, luxury.

Of course, this is not a complete list. But it allows you to get a general idea of ​​the types of brand positioning. Therefore, perhaps, we will finish with the theory and move on to practice.

Stages of positioning development, or How to make a brand successful?

Step #1. Assess the current state of affairs

To move forward, one should understand the position of the company at present. To do this, you need to answer several questions:

  • What values ​​are you communicating to your target audience?
  • To what extent does the company’s ideology correspond to the interests of the target audience?
  • Do you understand the problems of potential consumers?
  • Is the brand understood by the target audience?

Study the life priorities, needs, desires of the target audience. And try to understand how your offer corresponds to them. Note! Both in answering questions and in understanding the pains of consumers, it is necessary to be as honest as possible. Based on initially incorrect data, it is impossible to build competent communication.

Step #2: Gather Competitor Information

Once you understand your position, find out how your competitors are positioning themselves. Any source of information will do – a website, social networks, mystery shoppers, etc. Analyze what marketing tools are used by other manufacturers working in the same niche. Pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of their products.

And the most important! Remember that the target audience of your competitors is also your target audience. Track the reactions of subscribers, analyze their behavior in social networks, learn from the mistakes of others and try not to make your own.

Step #3. Formulate what makes you unique.

So, at the first stage, you were able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand. On the second, we learned the pros and cons of competitors. It’s time to formalize this information into a preliminary positioning concept.

The weaknesses of competing brands deserve special attention, as they can be turned into your own advantage. Does another manufacturer produce a smaller product line? Tell the target audience about the rich assortment of your brand. A competitor works from 8 to 17, and you around the clock? Pass this information on to buyers.

Step #4: Develop an idea that will form the basis of positioning

Building on the work you’ve done so far, create a positional statement. As a rule, these are one or three sentences telling about what you are doing, for whom you are doing it, what is the advantage of your offer. Sometimes a positioning statement is equated with a slogan, but this approach is wrong. Slogans and slogans are oriented to the external environment. The position statement is for internal use only. Focusing on it, you will be able to make better decisions that affect the rational and emotional perception of the brand.

Step #5: Test, Test, Test Again

Do not forget that you are working for consumers and their opinion should come first. Before launching a large-scale transformation, study the feedback of the target audience, make sure of a positive reaction. Make sure that the updated positioning “went” to buyers and does not cause rejection. Otherwise, take a step back.

Important point! Each person is unique, so it is impossible to match the tastes of all consumers. Do not pay attention to individual dissatisfied comments and opinions. You should be interested in “average temperature in the hospital.”


Nicole is a painter and designer. She has her bachelors in Advertising Design and a Masters in Painting & Drawing from Ohio University.

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