The answer to the timeless question, “Who am I?” is still eluding most philosophers. But our brands seem to have solved this question in the business landscape through brand positioning.
Well, all of us have heard about brand positioning, haven’t we? It’s the identity of your business and how you would want your audience to perceive you. But brand positioning is much more than all that.
Let’s check out some reasons why you need a smart brand positioning and why it is as important to you as it is for your audience.
Brand positioning challenges
The most common challenge we face while defining our brand positioning is that our positioning message sounds identical to at least some of our competitors. Now, that’s quite a problem, especially when you are marketing IT products, solutions, or services. How can you differentiate your solution, service, or product when you are just a clone? A tricky question, indeed!
Marketing has always been a trust-building approach where we introduce our expertise to our audience, build trust with them, and then connect with them. This long-lasting relationship requires a strong identity – that will consistently be reflected, not just by your marketing team, but also your sales, marketing, and even the R&D teams. In the end, as a team your organization requires a brand positioning that builds confidence in your audience that they can trust you with solving their problem or fulfilling their need.
Brand positioning is not just a statement or a message, it’s a guideline that reminds you and your stakeholders about what your brand stands for, and identifies you to your audience. So, getting down to defining a crisp and perfect brand positioning statement is not a joke!
What should your brand’s positioning achieve?
Let’s look at the purpose of brand positioning as a quick list of checkpoints. An ideal brand positioning approach should
- Define the identity of your brand internally and to your audience
- Identify whom your product or service is intended for
- Determine the landscape you compete in
- Differentiate you from the alternatives your audience has
- Highlight the unique value your brand delivers
- Guide your organizational stakeholders in representing your brand consistently across the board.
- Avoid covering an entire spectrum of service or product line, as this defeats the purpose of establishing a unique identity
- Of course, be clear and simple
Drafting a smart brand positioning
- Identify your customer and define their persona
- Focus on the key identity of your brand – not just from a commercial point of you but also from the fundamental purpose of your organizational vision
- Position yourselves in your audience’s shoes and imagine how you would want them to perceive you
- Identify your competition and their expertise
- Find out what sets you apart from them – why should you audience come to you and not them (e.g., unique feature, price, quality, unique value, application, etc.)
- Zero in on the main features that you would want to focus on and then build your positioning
- Validate every claim your brand is making – in today’s ever-online world, it’s easy to spot a fake claim
- Consistent brand positioning is not a practical approach to take today’s world – so look for ways to adapt your brand positioning based on. Netflix is a fantastic example of adapting to the changing preferences of your audience. Their transition from being the “best way to rent DVDs” to their current positioning referring to the concept of “movie enjoyment” shows the long way they have travelled in understanding their audience’s mind.
- Make it simple. What’s more simple and straightforward than Philips believing in “Sense and Simplicity” and their latest “Innovation and You”
Conclusion – Brand positioning to anchor your position in your market
No discussion on brand positioning is ever complete without the Dollar Shave Club example. They were up against the giants in an industry that hardly had any space to even gain a foothold. But Dollar Shave Club pulled out a magic wand and not just created “some space” but gathered immense attention, thanks to their unique sense of humor, strategic pricing, zero compromise on quality, and ease of access. With just a click and just a dollar, men really could forget about running out of shaving accessories. The result? Well, Unilever acquired the Dollar Shave Club and quite a lot more than “just a few dollars”!
So, drop all your blind marketing activities and sharpen your focus on positioning your brand in the market right at the winner’s spot!