Brand positioning, in its purest form, is all about making the right marketing decisions at the right time. But how do you decide which brand positioning decisions are the right ones? And how do you make those right decisions consistently? By keeping a few simple brand positioning concepts in mind, you can be confident that the decisions you make, time and time again, are the ones that will position your brand exactly where you want it.
Standing out from the Crowd
Everybody knows that brand positioning means standing out from the crowd and differentiating yourself from your competition. Effective brand positioning means you should be asking yourself if your product can be used in ways that your competitors products can’t.
Are your manufacturing processes different? Do you use different materials? Is your product more durable, more eco-friendly, or possessed of a higher build quality? If you provide a service, does your service staff possess qualifications or certifications that the competition doesn’t? If your product or service is substantively different from those of your competition, make sure your customers and potential customers know about it.
It isn’t enough merely to be different from the competition, though; it’s important to be different from the competition in ways that matter to your market. If your target market is concerned about the environment, informing them of your ecologically friendly manufacturing processes is a great idea. Telling them about how much excess power your device can output when compared to the competition might not be as useful. Stand out, but only in the ways that matter to your market.
Staying Relevant = Brand Positioning
It’s also vital to find a way to make your brand relevant to your target market. Relevant, in the context of brand positioning, means that you are serving a need or want that your target market is aware of. If your product or service serves a need or solves a problem that your target market isn’t aware they have, you may need to educate them — show them their problem so you can fix it.
A classic example of this can be found with the invention of the term halitosis. The term halitosis was first used by a major mouthwash company to make people aware of a problem — bad breath — to which they had the solution. It seems to have worked well for them.
If your product doesn’t serve any need or solve any problem of your target market, it’s entirely possible you’ve been focusing your brand positioning efforts on the wrong market. If you’ve been trying to sell the best snow tires in Arizona or trying to expand your ice cube delivery service in Alaska, it may be time to reevaluate who your target market really is.
When making brand positioning and marketing decisions, it’s important to determine if your decision is in line with your overall brand message. The strongest brand positioning efforts are the ones with a single focused message, one that’s easily assimilated by the market. If you spread your branding message too thinly or wander off into many directions, your message becomes diluted, muddied, and much less effective.
A brand that has spent years extolling the luxury and high build quality of their product would be ill-advised to suddenly start talking about saving money. Not only is the new message unlikely to be convincing in light of previous marketing efforts, but it will almost certainly undermine those previous marketing efforts. That means this particular brand will have wasted a great deal of time, energy, and money on not one but two marketing efforts.
A company that has done and continues to do an impeccable job positioning its brand is Chick-fil-A. From the company name which means, “chicken filet” (because the breast is the best meat of the chicken) to the consistent service provided at all locations, the company has successfully established its brand. There’s no doubt, Chick-fil-A is most definitely fast-food, but the company has differentiated itself from others by providing service similar to what you would receive at a standard sit-down restaurant.
The restaurant continues to meet the needs and wants of its customers by involving itself in the community and by providing scholarships. Along with Chick-fil-A’s camps and scholarships, it continues to build its brand by creating marketing campaigns that approach trendy topics that align with the company’s Christian morals. Last football season, Chick-fil-A ran its, “Rivalry Restaurant” campaign. This focused on bringing together University of Georgia fans with Auburn University fans. The campaign focused on uniting two states and two fan groups, for a fun and uplifting day of friendly competition.
Defining and implementing a successful brand positioning strategy in today’s complicated and rapidly changing business environment can be challenging to say the least. By keeping our fundamental principles in mind, you can ensure that the strategy you plan is solid, and the decisions you make and the steps you take will get you to your goal efficiently and effectively.
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