Brand positioning, contrary to popular belief, is simplistic in what it intends to achieve. It’s defined as the act of positioning your business in the mind of the customer. Your brand’s positioning is your attempt to occupy a very specific position in the target audience’s mind.
Reis and Trout’s masterful work titled Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is treated as the Bible of brand positioning. Very succinctly, it captures the idea that whether you try or not, brand positioning will happen. Just by being proactive, you can take control of the position that your brand occupies in the minds of your audience.
Why New Businesses Need to Focus on Brand Positioning?
With brand positioning, you attempt to own a niche for your brand, products and services. Your positioning strategy encompasses and directs your tactics around key marketing elements such as pricing, promotions, distribution and packaging. By creating a unique impression on the customer, you can make your brand synonymous with some highly desirable attributes that make you different from your competitors.
Brand positioning, at its core, entails long-term commitment to the positioning strategy decided by the business. In the words of the owner of online fashion brand Beyond4cs, “Brand positioning operates at symbolic levels of customer consciousness, and brands need to stand by their positioning decisions for long time durations.”
Target Specific Audiences
The first step toward successful brand positioning is to identify your target audiences. Most new corporate brands would ideally want to target as many customer groups as possible, but such a strategy often dilutes brand equity. Instead, try to be laser-focused on a target group, and orient all your marketing mix decisions with the target group in mind.
Some questions that can help you understand and target the right audiences are:
- What are the types of businesses and customers do you want your brand to reach out to?
- How do these people make their purchase decisions?
- Which income group would you classify them in?
- What are their interests?
- What is the quality of their lifestyle, and their future aspirations?
Example of a specific target group: Men aged 40 to 50, adventure lovers, upper-middle class.
Identify and Promote Your Brand’s USPs
Attention spans are at an all-time low. Always remember that you are fighting for a customer’s attention with hundreds of competitors. To capture and retain their attention, and to nurture positive associations in the minds of customers, you need to be the best at doing one or more things. What makes a customer pay almost two times the price for your product as compared to that of a competitor? What makes people wait half an hour in queues to get a shot at your food chain’s spicy barbeque chick burger? That is your USP, and that needs to be the star in every interaction you have with customers. Your brand’s USP becomes the driving force for your brand positioning statement. Here is a great brand positioning statement for you to check out.
Consistent Execution of Positioning Strategy Across Touch Points
To effectively position your brand in your customers’ minds, you need to star within your business. Every employee must be a representative of the brand. Every day, your corporate brand will find opportunities to interact with customers, whether it’s via a billboard, your office reception, your tele-calling team, or a walk-in customer interaction. From your marketing material to your product packaging, from your in-store displays to your web-store branding — everything contributes to making your brand positioning statement a reality.
Vishwa Deep, founder of BestROwaterPurifier, says, “Especially in the early stages, founders and managers need to infuse the positioning strategy in the culture of the company.” Across all your communication channels, and through all your touch points, your brand needs to reinforce its intended position via two building blocks: performance (meeting customer’s expectations from a product), and imagery (meeting customer’s unsaid expectations on a social and psychological level).
Evaluate and Fine Tune Your Positioning Strategy
In spite of all the diligence with which you complete the first three steps of developing and executing your brand’s positioning strategy, unknown market variables will come into picture. Make sure you evaluate your positioning strategy to identify potential gaps that you can then fill. Some questions to deliberate on:
- Does it really differentiate you from competitors?
- Does it communicate your brand’s most unique attributes clearly to target audiences?
- Is it interesting, memorable, and worth repeating?
- Is it consistent across your marketing mix?
- Is it well aligned with your long-term vision for success?
- Can it withstand counter attacks from competitors?
Your brand’s positioning strategy is the foundation on which you can build brand equity. Trust the methodology explained in the guide to take control of your corporate brand’s positioning.