Ultimate Guide to Brand Positioning
A brand positioning strategy helps you understand your audience, what they want, and where you should fit in their lives. It helps you to build a sustainable brand that's uniquely yours.
If you want to differentiate yourself and build a brand that people remember, you need to understand the power of your positioning statement and what makes you unique.
What if I told you that you could create the best brand positioning strategy possible? Would you believe me? No? Well, maybe you should anyway. I'm not discussing your logo, taglines, or mission statement here. I'm talking about how to craft your entire brand.
It's the foundation of your entire business, and if you have a good one, you'll reap the benefits for years to come. Even if you have no idea what you're doing, this guide is for you. If you do have an established brand, this guide is for you, too. In this post, I will show you how to make your brand stronger—how to put yourself in a position where you'll reap the benefits for years to come.
Learn about the power of branding. Find out how to develop and use your brand's positioning and discover how it will help you win more customers.
What is brand positioning?
Brand positioning is a term used to describe how a business chooses to describe and promote its products or services. As a business owner, you must consider describing your products or services to consumers.
A product's positioning tells consumers how it fits their needs and lifestyles. If a product is positioned as a low-price, high-quality, reliable brand, it will sell better than a higher-priced, lower-quality brand. If your product has a luxury image, consumers will see your brand as higher quality, even though it may not be. The consumer is likely to pay more for a product that is seen as high quality.
The importance of positioning has been widely discussed in recent years. Consumer marketers and businesses worldwide are now making the most of positioning to build strong brands.
Many businesses have realised they must position their products to attract the right consumers. To succeed, businesses need to understand whom they target and what kind of consumers they want to attract.
We should associate a strong brand with values that appeal to most of the consumer market. It can include ethical and environmentally friendly practices, or it may be more specific to a particular population segment. A good brand will make consumers think of specific benefits, such as affordability, convenience or social acceptance.
Positioning is often used in advertising, but it applies to all marketing and communication strategies.
Why is brand positioning important?
There are many reasons why brand positioning is crucial for you, but a key one will help you decide whether or not to proceed further.
First of all, there is your reputation. It will be vital for you to ensure that it continues to be a positive one. It should reflect who you are and the kind of company you keep. The decisions you make about the business you run, and your relationships will also play a part. Your reputation is based on your character and the quality of the people you deal with. When considering a business proposition, you need to ask yourself if you want to be associated with someone who misbehaves and whose values differ from yours.
Secondly, you need to understand how people perceive your business. You must learn as much as possible about your market to achieve this. You will probably find that people will respond better to you if you have a clear idea about who you are, what you do, and why you are unique. To do this, you must understand your motivations. As a result, you must also consider how your customers will perceive you and what they expect from you.
Finally, you need to be sure that you are making the best possible use of all your resources. Brand positioning is one of these. You will want to position your business to get the maximum possible return from your investment.
You will want to consider several factors when deciding whether to invest your time and money in a particular business. Having a clear idea about what you would like to achieve is vital. If you don't, you won't know whether your efforts are making you better off than if you hadn't invested in the first place. Your financial security is also essential to think about. Will it be safe to keep investing in your business if it isn't generating a profit? Is there any evidence suggesting that your business will likely generate a profit? If you think your business is not viable, you must look at it differently and take steps to improve it.
Brand positioning is vital for your business because it will define who you are. You may want to go ahead with your business, but you must do so with your eyes open. You must ensure that you get a positive return from your decision and avoid making mistakes that undermine your brand.
What Is a Brand Positioning Statement?
A Brand Positioning Statement is a unique expression of the brand, which identifies the company's values, vision and identity. It reflects what the company does, stands for and aspires to be. This helps companies to create a consistent identity across different channels, brands and products.
A Brand Positioning Statement, unlike a mission statement, focuses on the brand itself and how it is presented to the consumer rather than what the organisation is trying to achieve through its activities.
We can use brand positioning statements to set the direction of a company. It can help the company make decisions about strategic priorities and focus its marketing efforts.
Companies use brand positioning statements as part of the business plan to define the business's positioning and attract new clients.
How To Write a Brand Positioning Statement
Developing a brand positioning statement is similar to creating a mission or vision statement. However, unlike a mission or vision statement, a brand positioning statement focuses on the brand itself.
The main difference between a brand positioning statement and a mission or vision statement is that the brand positioning statement defines the company's values, vision and identity. This can help companies make decisions about strategic priorities and focus their marketing efforts.
Step 1 – Define Your Brand
Ask yourself questions about your company and its services or products. What does the company do? What does it stand for? What does it aspire to be?
What kind of customers do you want to attract? Who are they, and why do they choose you? What do they like about your company? What don't they like?
Who are your competitors? What are they good at, and what are they bad at? What makes you different from them?
Step 2 – Identify the values of the company
Once you have answered the above questions, you should be able to identify your company's values.
Your brand values are the underlying beliefs and principles that guide your company's activities. They determine the goals you set, the policies and actions you implement and the behaviours you exhibit.
Step 3 – Make a list of values
List your company's values on a piece of paper. For example:
Step 4 – Write the Brand Positioning Statement
Your Brand Positioning Statement should communicate the following:
- The brand's values, which you have just identified.
- The vision of the brand.
- The brand's identity.
Brand Positioning Statements can be found on the website of many businesses and often include a ‘mission', ‘vision' and a ‘values' statement.
Types of Brand Positioning Strategies
1 – Customer Service Positioning Strategy
A customer service position strategy is a plan of action to be followed by a company's customers while dealing with their problems. It enables the company to provide a satisfactory customer service experience. It is part of a broader service strategy that aims to improve the overall experience of a company's customers.
Customer service position strategies are divided into three main sections:
- Problem Identification
- Problem Solving
- Problem Resolution
The purpose of problem identification is to understand and identify the type of problem the customer is experiencing. It helps the company to offer a range of appropriate solutions to the problem. The purpose of problem-solving is to find the best solution for the customer. Problem resolution is communicating with the customer and ensuring the problem is resolved satisfactorily.
Customer service strategies enable a company to develop, maintain, or improve its reputation and image. Companies must ensure they meet their customers' expectations and keep their trust. A company can use different ways of communicating with its customers.
They can do this by providing feedback and suggestions to customers, informing them about changes in policy and procedures, and using different communication methods. A company can also develop a positive relationship with its customers by understanding their needs, giving them a choice of products and services, helping them solve their problems, and offering information and advice.
A company's customer service position strategy can be formal or informal. Formal customer service position strategies are usually set out in writing and require a lot of effort and coordination. Informal customer service position strategies are less formal, involve less planning, and don't require much time and effort. These strategies depend on the nature of the company and its customers.
2 – Convenience-Based Positioning Strategy
It's important to understand that convenience is only as strong as its weakest link. If there is one drawback to your product or service that's not shared with the competition, the advantage will vanish instantly. You may even lose customers because of it.
Convenience is also about how much value a customer feels the company will deliver to its customers. If the customer feels they can't trust the company to deliver on the promise, there is no sense of convenience, to begin with. The customer will quickly decide that the product is not worth the price or that better alternatives are available.
It's impossible to get your product or service to stand out without having some sort of a barrier, be it price or convenience, to keep people away from you. For example, if you run a restaurant, having a high price tag is not a way to stand out.
A better way is to create an atmosphere that makes people want to return. You can achieve this by offering a gift when they enter. You can also offer coupons or a loyalty program, which can be very effective.
If you're in the B2B SaaS space and want to offer your product to customers across multiple operating systems, some costs can come with it. For instance, if you're running a B2B SaaS and want to make your product available on multiple operating systems, you may need an on-call development team to handle any bugs or other issues. And, to run that team, you'll likely need the money to pay for their time.
3 – Price-Based Positioning Strategy
This is not necessarily a bad idea. If a company offers a great deal on their products or services, and their competition is not, the customer may be inclined to buy from the cheaper company.
However, if your product or service is significantly less expensive than the competition, you may miss out on a potential sale. Also, consumers may be put off by a significantly lower price than competitors. The customer may choose to go elsewhere if the competition offers a more attractive deal.
This strategy is effective as it allows you to reach your goals, but it also has some risks and drawbacks.
4 – Quality-Based Positioning Strategy
Quality is a promise, not a statement. When a company makes a promise, it should be able to deliver. Quality is the ability to offer what you promise. A company should demonstrate its ability to offer what it promises.
You know that if you buy a $10 pair of shoes, you will not wear them for more than 10 minutes. So what happens if you buy a $1,000 pair? You will be delighted and excited about your new purchase in the short term. You will wear them constantly, and they will probably last a lifetime.
But how long will your happiness last? After all, you have spent a great deal of money on something with little long-term value. If you are like most people, the answer is “not long.”
You will sometimes get bored of them and want to replace them.
So what's the difference between $1,000 and $10? For one thing, the quality of the product or service is the same. But it's the quality of the experience. The quality of the experience you have when you buy $10 is not the same as the quality of experience you have when you buy $1,000.
And so it is with life. A $10 pair of shoes may not last long, but a $1,000 pair may last for a lifetime.
You may think that price-conscious shoppers prefer the less expensive alternative over yours. However, you could use buyer personas to determine whether it's worth emphasising quality with a higher price. Your target customers' income and shopping habits would influence whether you should emphasise quality (with a higher price) or a lower price.
5 – Differentiation Strategy
You can achieve differentiation by offering products and services that are new, innovative, and unique. It's a strategy that Tesla Motors has used very effectively. It's the main reason they've attracted investors interested in green energy.
When you use this strategy, you're aiming to stand out from the crowd. It's not about being cheap. Instead, you want to offer an excellent product or service different from others.
The best way to differentiate yourself is to identify a niche and work to become the market leader. For instance, Tesla Motors has identified the green energy market as the niche they are going after. By being the market leader in the green energy market, they can offer unique products and services that appeal to consumers.
Consumers will appreciate the newness of your products if you show them how it works. However, they may not appreciate that it is entirely new and without historical use. When you have an entirely new product, consider showing the research and testing that went into its creation. Consumers appreciate understanding how new technology or products work.
6 – Social Media Positioning Strategy
This kind of positioning is unique because it's focused on a set of channels rather than a stand-alone tactic. In addition, the channels your brand uses (and doesn't use) say just as much as your messaging does.
Some people will say that Facebook is the best platform for your business. Others will argue that Twitter is the most effective tool for reaching your customers. You must understand where your customers spend their time and where they will likely make purchases. Only then can you decide on the most appropriate platform to reach them.
If you're ready to start social media marketing, you need to consider where your target audience is and which platforms they frequent. You can ensure that your content aligns with the customer's interests.
For example, if you're selling products or services to older people, then Facebook and LinkedIn are probably the best places to start. But if you're targeting younger consumers, then Instagram will work better.
How to Create a Brand Positioning Strategy
1 – Determine your current brand positioning.
The first step in determining your current brand positioning is your core competencies. Core competencies are the primary skills you possess and the services you offer. You should be able to easily describe the services you provide to your customers and tell your customer what your company does.
You need to identify your target audience; you should be able to tell who your ideal customer is. You should also be able to describe your ideal customer. This will help you to understand what kind of person they are and what they would be looking for in a service provider.
You should be able to explain your values and how they apply to your business. This will help you to decide what your company stands for.
Finally, describe your competition and why they are doing well; this will help you understand how you can stand out from them.
2 – Create a brand essence chart.
Brand essence is the unique combination of human values, cultural touchstones, emotions, beliefs and aspirations that form the emotional connection we feel for a product or company. Brand essence is the key that unlocks a brand's potential and differentiates it from its competitors. It is the intangible, intangible and highly emotional part of a brand. A brand essence chart is a tool to determine your organisation's brand essence.
A brand essence chart helps you understand the core values, beliefs, emotions, aspirations and cultural symbols that make up the collective identity of your organisation. It helps you in understanding your organisation's position in the market. It also enables you to understand the characteristics of your organisation's consumers and employees. It helps you understand and clarify your organisation's vision, values, mission and goals.
To create a brand essence chart, find a comfortable position where you will not be interrupted. Then choose a blank piece of paper and draw an image of your company using a pencil, pen or marker. Include the following elements:
- The colour of your logo
- The shape of your logo
- The typeface of your company name
- Your organisation's name
- Your company's mission statement
- An explanation of your business philosophy
- An explanation of how your organisation operates
- Your company's values
- An explanation of your company's history
- Images of your product or service
- An explanation of how your product or service fits with the company's brand
- A short description of your company's essential products or services
3 – Identify your competitors.
While many different methods are used to achieve this, the most popular method is competitive analysis. Competitive analysis is identifying your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. This process aims to discover what makes them different and understand what they do better than you.
The main aim of a competitive analysis is to understand the competition's position and strategy. Competitive analysis requires thorough research into the market and the company itself. By researching the market, you can determine whether your competitors are successful or not and what strategies they're using to attract customers.
By studying the competition, you can understand what works and what doesn't work for them. This allows you to formulate a unique business strategy based on what works for your competition. Once you understand what they are doing and why, it is easy to develop your own marketing strategy.
By comparing your products and services to your competitors, you will see if your product is better than theirs. You can also compare how each of your products and services is marketed.
Identifying your competitors and their marketing strategy can also help you decide whether you should use their tactics to improve your marketing strategy. If you see that they offer similar products or services with a different approach, you may choose their marketing strategy instead of yours. This could be an opportunity for you to create your unique brand that stands out from the rest.
4 – Conduct competitor research.
For competitive research, you need to identify the market or niche you want to enter, gather information about the competition, conduct primary research and analyse it to come up with a conclusion.
Competitive analysis helps you to understand your competition. It's also important because it provides a basis for developing a product or service that can compete in the market.
The first step to conducting a competitive analysis is identifying the industry, market and niche. Next, you must gather information about your competition and its products and services. And finally, you need to perform primary research to collect data about the products and services of your competitors.
The primary research should include:
- Interviews and surveys to understand the problems your competitors are facing and what solutions they are providing
- Market research such as secondary research to collect data about your competitors and their competitors
- Document review to gain knowledge about your competitors
- Customer reviews to know what people say about your competitors and their products
5 – Identify your unique value proposition.
In today's market, customers are searching for answers. They search for something that's going to help them achieve their goals. And it's your job to provide them with that solution.
They are searching for answers, so the first thing you have to do is to make sure that your brand is the one answering the question.
Your business has a unique value proposition that distinguishes it from competitors. You can be the one providing the solution. If you're not, you're just another person trying to sell another product to the customer.
When I ask my friends what they think about brands, they often give me many opinions. They say, “I like the way the logo is designed.” “The colours are nice.” “It looks good on the packaging.” They aren't trying to say, “This is the best brand.” They are saying, “This is the brand I'd choose.”
That's what you want to happen. Your brand should be the one that stands out to the customer. It should be the one they choose because they are looking for your unique value proposition.
Identifying your unique value proposition is the first step in ensuring that you successfully brand your business.
To start identifying your unique value proposition, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the problem that my product solves?
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the value that I provide to my customers?
Your unique value proposition is the answer to those three questions.
So, if you want to make sure that your brand stands out, you need to focus on solving the problem that your customers have. When considering your unique value proposition, imagine how you'd describe it to someone else.
5 – Build a brand positioning framework.
To create a brand positioning framework, start by mapping your company's core values. These could include things like trust, honesty and integrity.
Next, decide which values you want to highlight that are most important to your business. This will allow you to create a series of statements or statements that you can use to describe your brand to your audience.
Next, think about how you plan to use these values in the future. This will help you identify ways to promote your company and its products.
It may be helpful to consider the example of the travel company Expedia. When booking flights and hotels, they focus on providing an honest service and ensuring that customers receive the best possible deal. They aim to be the trusted authority in their field. As such, they promote their company as a trusted source of information by making their branding highly visible in their advertising.
By defining your company's core values, creating a brand positioning framework and identifying ways to use them in the future, you are well on your way to building a powerful brand that will attract more customers.
6 – Evaluate whether your positioning statement works.
If you're planning to create your positioning statement, you'll want to think through your goals for your brand before you start. Once you've identified your goals for the brand, it's time to experiment to determine if your positioning statement achieves those goals.
One of the most significant steps in developing a position is to do testing and research. You should try to identify what customers think about your product or service. If there is negative feedback, it's probably best to fix the problem. It will only make sense to do further testing and research if you have something positive to tell the customer.
7 – Establish an emotional connection with customers.
As a brand manager, I always pay attention to customer satisfaction. As a result, customer feedback has become a critical source of information to guide my decision-making. At the same time, brand managers usually prefer having an “emotional connection” with customers rather than simply trying to understand and respond to customers' emotions.
The following are reasons why establishing an emotional connection with customers for brand positioning purposes is essential:
1) The power of emotions
Emotions are an integral part of our social environment. They are powerful forces which shape our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions. They are a powerful driving force that influences human behaviour and actions. Emotions are also highly personal. Our emotions affect how we perceive ourselves and how we interact with others. They drive our decisions and guide our choices.
2) Emotions are invisible
Emotions are invisible. They are not just a feeling. They do not have a physical form. We can sense the presence of emotions but not their identity. They are not visible, audible, or tangible. There is no way to measure them. They are not measurable.
3) Emotions are subjective
Emotions are subjective. Emotions are based on how we feel about something. No one else can tell us what our emotional experience is like. Everyone perceives emotions differently. There is variability between individuals, and it's not predictable. They can come and go at any given time. Emotions are not controllable. We cannot predict when or if they will occur. Emotions come and go. They are not constant.
4) Emotions are not logical
Emotions are not logical. Emotions are a form of response. Emotional reactions or instincts govern emotions. In response to a specific stimulus, there are different emotions. Emotions are a reaction to the external world.
8 – Reinforce your brand's differentiating qualities during the sales process.
To ensure your brand has a differentiating strength, you should consider how your brand can stand out in a crowded market and differentiate brands. The sales process is usually competitive, so you must use the right strategy to ensure that your brand stands out.
To reinforce your brand's differentiating qualities, you need to consider the following factors:
1 – Make your product or service stand out from the crowd
Before making a purchase decision, customers need to know what they will get by choosing your product or service. Therefore, you must ensure that your brand has a strong value proposition.
To reinforce your brand's differentiating qualities, you need to make sure that the value of your products or services stands out from the competition.
The value proposition is why your brand should be chosen over others. Your brand's value proposition should include a compelling reason for customers to choose your brand.
2 – Focus on your brand's promise
Before making a purchase decision, customers need to know what they will get by choosing your product or service. Therefore, you need to ensure that your brand has a clear promise.
A clear promise will help to reinforce your brand's differentiating qualities. If you don't provide a clear promise, it can be challenging for your brand to stand out in the market.
3 – Focus on your brand's vision
To strengthen your brand, your brand vision must match your business goals. A clear vision will help to reinforce your brand's differentiating qualities.
9 – Create value.
Your company's product or service should be part of the solution. You should be helping your prospect solve a problem they're currently experiencing. That's the most important thing here.
Your prospect needs a solution to their problem, and your company has the solution. If your company's product or service solves a problem your prospect is experiencing, you have a great chance of selling the product or service. You need to be able to show the prospect how your product or service will help solve their problem. To do this, you need to understand what problems your prospect is experiencing and how your product or service can help them solve those problems.
10 – Ensure that employees embody your brand.
You can't have an influential corporate culture without the right employee engagement programs and policies. While the company's brand and message are critical, the day-to-day experience for its employees is just as necessary. You could lose out on new business if your company doesn't have a program that fosters an engaging workplace culture.
That said, if your company does have such a program, it should be communicated to all employees, especially the customer-facing staff. Ensure that your brand is reflected in how they communicate and that the messages are consistent and not confusing.
What is a Brand Positioning Map?
A brand positioning map is a framework that helps identify the critical points of view that underpin the messages that create your brand. In other words, it shows where you stand concerning the competition. It provides a foundation for how your organisation is seen by its target audience, potential customers, and stakeholders.
A brand positioning map aims to build awareness of how you think about the world and what you want to convey to others. It stimulates thinking about how your business stands out from the crowd. The brand positioning map does this by:
- Identifying the company's values.
- Defining the company's beliefs about the world, customers and the business environment.
- Determining what your products and services offer and how customers can perceive them.
- Identifying the company's mission and vision.
- Defining the company's positioning statement.
- Providing a unique and memorable tagline.
- Identifying the company's personality – what its character is all about.
- Providing a visual representation of how your company is positioned in the marketplace.
Why Create a Brand Positioning Map?
Brand positioning maps are essential tools for marketers and business owners, providing them with clarity about where they stand in the marketplace. They can help organisations clarify their messaging strategy and identify the critical components of their brand.
Here's why a brand positioning map should be part of your marketing plan:
- It enables you to identify your business's most influential brand messages.
- It clarifies your organisation's brand message.
- It shows how your brand fits into your company's overall brand system.
- It identifies the core attributes that make your company distinctive.
- It helps you develop a straightforward, compelling brand narrative.
- It gives you a clear idea of the competitive landscape.
How to Build Your Brand Positioning Map
- Research and define your business's key messages
- Identify the business's brand identity
- Define the market segment(s) you're targeting
- Develop a unique and memorable brand name
- Clarify the core attributes that make your company unique
- Develop a comprehensive visual brand positioning map
- Consider the competitive landscape
Successfully Position Your Brand for Growth
There's a big difference between identifying what you do well and making a significant impact on your market.
It may feel like an uphill battle at first, but if you want to make a difference, it pays to understand your brand and know where you stand today.
Here are a few tips to get started:
1 – Know Who You Are First
Your brand is more than a logo and a slogan. It's about who you are and what you stand for.
Start by asking yourself these three questions:
- Where am I going?
- What do I want to achieve?
- What matters to me?
Then think about the brand you want to build. Is it a high-end luxury brand? Or does your company provide value for people in every budget? What is your brand's purpose, and what sets you apart from the competition?
2 – Understand Your Customers
Understanding your customers helps to understand your competition.
Who are your competitors, and what do they stand for? Is your brand perceived as the same as theirs?
When considering what your brand stands for, it's essential to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Think about your brand in terms of:
- What does it say about you?
- What do your customers say about you?
- Who are your customers, and why do they choose you?
3 – Be Honest About Yourself
Being honest with yourself is the most important thing you can do to ensure your brand is genuine.
If your brand is authentic, it will stick in customers' minds. You don't want to be seen as a cheap imitator, so make sure you're true to yourself.
Don't be afraid to show your true colours – don't try to be something you're not.
4 – Build a Powerful Story
People remember stories, and yours should be one of them. Your brand story should be easy to remember and capture your audience's attention. A powerful brand story will be something that connects with your customers on a deep level.
Think about what your brand represents and what makes you unique. If you're not sure what to say, start with the truth.
5 – Know Your Competitors
What does your competitor stand for? Do they offer the same products or services as you do?
- Why do they compete?
- What do they offer that you don't?
- Do they have the same customers as you?
Brand positioning is simply having a consistent and clear understanding of who you are as a business. It's important because it lets you differentiate your business in the marketplace. Understanding and defining your audience is key to having a clear brand position. Once you know your target customers, you can use this insight to shape your business, messaging and communications. This is why it is vital to have a clear and compelling business strategy. If your business lacks a strong brand identity, it will be difficult for you to communicate effectively with potential customers.
Learn precisely what brand positioning is and how it can help you get your company's products noticed.