How To Set Up A Positioning Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide
A positioning strategy is a marketing tactic to position a product in the customer’s mind. This includes creating a message and visual image that portrays your product as the best and most desirable. This is often accomplished through an advertising campaign or television ads.
The first step is to decide on the type of customer you’re looking to reach. Do you want to attract business leaders who have more money? Or do you want to attract customers who already have a high net worth? Once you’ve determined this, you need to research your target market.
With the rise of digital platforms and the proliferation of channels, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to establish a strong brand identity that will help you stand out from the crowd.
In today’s article, we’ll look at setting up a positioning strategy to help you better define your business and gain traction with your audience.
What is a Positioning Strategy?
The term positioning strategy refers to the methods businesses use to market and sell their products. By knowing what their customers want and how they want to buy and use the product, companies can develop strategies for sales and marketing that can produce positive results.
A positioning strategy is more than just a slogan or tagline; it is an organised approach to selling a company’s products, services, and ideas to consumers. For example, Apple’s “Think Different” slogan represents the company’s core values. Nike has created a culture of sports apparel and accessories that is synonymous with athletic performance and lifestyle.
A positioning strategy is a company’s marketing plan. It is a plan for developing and implementing marketing messages that help customers associate a company’s products or services with positive feelings.
A positioning strategy should communicate who the company is and why the customers should trust them. This marketing effort aims to convince potential customers to purchase and use a company’s product or service.
Positioning Strategies in Business
Positional marketing is creating an identity for your brand or product. Your product or service is your company, and your positioning is your position in the market. A positioning strategy will help you to establish your position in the marketplace, and it will help you to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
A good positioning strategy helps to define who you are as a company and what you offer to your customers. It is one of the cornerstones of marketing and should be developed early in the company’s history.
When creating a positioning strategy, it is crucial to consider your company’s unique circumstances. Your business needs to answer questions such as:
- What is your product or service?
- Who is your target audience?
- What does your product or service bring to the customer?
- How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
- What are your core values?
Once you know your company’s answers to these questions, you can think about the positioning strategy that best represents your company.
What Should a Positioning Strategy Look Like?
A positioning strategy is not a one-time thing. Instead, it is a process that evolves. Companies that consistently develop their positioning strategy can be seen as having a higher brand awareness and credibility.
When developing a positioning strategy, it is vital to consider three main points:
- What your positioning statement will be? A positioning statement is your company’s customer’s first point of contact. The statement should communicate what the company stands for, what it is known for, and how it can be different from its competitors.
- Your positioning message. Every time you talk to a customer, your message is one of the main ways you show that you are different from your competition. A positioning message communicates the qualities your company is known for and is intended to create a positive emotional response from your customers.
- Your position in the marketplace. A positioning strategy is not just a plan to win customers. It is a plan to develop the company’s overall market share.
There are many different ways to communicate your position in the marketplace, but all of them should be based on your company’s unique story and experience.
How to Develop a Positioning Strategy
If you are in the early stages of developing a positioning strategy, consider starting with one part of the product experience. For example, you could focus on the benefits of your product and how it can help customers.
If you have already started developing your positioning strategy, you can move on to the second phase, which involves choosing your positioning statements. Here are three tips to consider before selecting your product positioning statements:
- Know your market. Your positioning statements should address your target market’s unique challenges, problems, and concerns. Your positioning statements must speak to their needs and wants, enabling them to identify what they want from your product quickly.
- Ask questions. Questions allow you to clarify what your audience wants and need from your product. When answering your questions, keep your answers brief and straightforward.
- Consider a range. Your positioning statements should be accurate and effective but not so positive that they come across as false. When answering your questions, look for something in the middle, not too optimistic and not too negative.
In addition, here are some common questions to ask yourself when creating your positioning statements:
- What are the core benefits of my product?
- How can I help customers solve a problem or achieve a goal?
- What sets me apart from other products and services?
- Who are my ideal customers?
- What are the top reasons customers would buy my product instead of competitors’ products?
- Do you think the positioning statements you selected are accurate and precise?
- Have you created a product positioning strategy for your product, service, or company? If not, why not?
Identify the Key Competitors
In an ideal world, we always have access to the information needed to make informed decisions on everything from purchasing to selling. We would know exactly what each vendor offered: strengths, weaknesses, benefits, and drawbacks. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
We often don’t even know what options exist in a given category. For example, you may have multiple vendors offering the same product, or you may not have access to a vendor.
So, how do we identify the key competitors for a positioning strategy? We need to look for the gaps in the market or the areas where you have no choice but to act. By identifying the gaps, we can use those to inform the product and marketing choices that will help us sell more.
First, we need to understand the current marketplace. Start by searching for terms like “competitors,” “options,” or “alternatives” in Google, or by checking your product website and competitor sites. Look for companies that are offering products that are similar to yours. The most important thing to note about a competitor is their size.
They probably have more resources to spend on research, development, and production if they are significantly larger than you. They can also invest more heavily in advertising, creating significant brand awareness.
Once you’ve identified your competitors, think about your strengths and weaknesses relative to them. Do they offer a complete product set, or do they have something you don’t? Do they have a more extraordinary ability to compete on price? Or are they more focused on value?
After analysing your competitors, consider what you can do to differentiate yourself. What are the differences between you and your competitors? What are the things that they’re not offering? What are the benefits that you can deliver?
These questions will help you understand what is unique about your offering and why customers might choose you over the other competitors.
Find a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
What makes one product unique is a robust and differentiated value proposition. It is the key to driving sales and making consumers buy from your company. It is also the key to differentiating your positioning strategy from your competitors.
Developing a USP for a product is easy, but what makes it unique? That requires you to consider your customers’ needs and create a new value proposition for your business. The uniqueness of a USP should always relate to the specific position you’re targeting and the value it offers to your audience.
Your positioning strategy is a marketing tool that provides your company with the information it needs to address market demand successfully. It also helps you to reach out to potential customers, attract them to your website, and ultimately get them to buy from you.
To find a USP for your position, answer the following questions:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What problems do they face?
- How are they currently being addressed?
- What is it about your product or service that makes it unique?
- What benefit does it provide your customer?
- Why should they choose you over your competitors?
Your USP can be based on any of the following:
- Value, convenience, quality
- Price, performance, reputation
- Newness, uniqueness, exclusivity
- Service, support, or personal relationship
- Education, training, or skill
- Empowerment, inspiration, or motivation
- Innovation, convenience, or speed
You must articulate the difference that sets you apart from your competition.
As you answer these questions, don’t be concerned if you can’t develop a USP for every aspect of your product or service. That is perfectly normal. Just pick one or two aspects that you feel are the most important to your ideal customer, and try to explain what they mean to them.
Answering these questions will help you to identify which aspect of your positioning strategy to emphasise in your advertising and marketing.
Examples of Positioning Strategies
A positioning strategy can involve either or both of the following:
- A brand strategy
- A product strategy
A brand strategy involves how your company wants to position itself to the world. It focuses on what makes your company different and better than your competitors.
For example, you may decide to position yourself as a luxury brand, a low-priced brand, a value brand, or a high-end brand. Or maybe you want to position yourself as the leading provider of organic products, the top-of-the-line producer of sustainable products, or the leading supplier of all-natural products.
A brand strategy also defines the image your company portrays. It includes the colours and imagery used on your website, your products and packaging and even the tone of your advertisements.
A product strategy is what you decide to put on your products. This may include the ingredients or processes used to make your product, its price, features, and any other information you think might help differentiate your product or service from your competitors.
When you use positioning strategies, your goal is to make your company memorable and to attract the right customers to your website and your business.
Example: Positioning Strategies for a Kitchen Appliances Store
Let’s say you are the owner of a kitchen appliances store. Here are some ways to position your company to your customers and potential customers.
- Luxury brand: You’re a high-end kitchen appliances retailer. Your products are the best available, and your prices are higher than your competitors.
- Low-price brand: You’re a competitive kitchen appliances retailer. Your products are good, but your prices are much lower than your competitors.
- Value brand: You’re a kitchen appliances retailer emphasising quality, convenience, and customer service.
- High-end brand: You’re a kitchen appliances retailer emphasising quality, convenience, and customer service. Your prices are higher than your competitors.
- Organic brand: You’re a kitchen appliances retailer that cares about the environment and the health of your customers. Your products are all-natural, and they’re healthier for your customers to use.
- Sustainable brand: You’re a kitchen appliances retailer that cares about the environment and the health of your customers. You produce products that are made with natural ingredients and that are more sustainable than your competitors.
Create a Differentiated Value Proposition
Creating differentiation is one of the fundamental principles of positioning strategy design.
In a competitive market, companies must offer differentiated value propositions to stand out in the crowd. For example, Amazon offers differentiated value propositions for its online shopping service by offering fast delivery and free shipping. The company offers differentiating value propositions for its Kindle reader, Amazon Prime memberships, and other services.
To differentiate a positioning strategy, you need to consider the product or service unique or something that no other company offers. Think of a differentiator as a point of difference in the product or service you offer.
When positioning, you should consider ways to offer your customers something uniquely yours or only you can offer. For example, consider the value proposition that your business provides:
- Helps customers create, manage, and analyse data to solve complex real-time problems.
- It offers a differentiated value proposition to help customers solve problems in real time and save time.
- It offers a unique value proposition to provide real-time solutions to customers using artificial intelligence.
- It offers a unique solution to help customers solve problems using artificial intelligence.
Example of Positioning Strategies
Let’s consider the following examples:
- Amazon: “We make it easy to find and buy anything from anywhere.”
- Google: “We organise the world’s information and make it accessible and useful.”
- Uber: “We connect riders and drivers so people can get around more easily.”
- Apple: “We create products passionately and put them in the hands of people worldwide.”
The key to successfully positioning your business is to develop an authentic story that is true to your business.
Think of your business as a living organism that grows and changes with the times. Positioning is your unique identity that helps customers know what they are buying.
If you are new to your industry, you may struggle to develop a positioning strategy. However, the following four questions can help you identify your positioning strategy.
- What’s the promise your business is making?
- What does your business stand for?
- What is the brand story behind your company or product?
- What are the three main points of your value proposition?
The next step is to create a positioning strategy consistent with your unique value proposition. Here are some examples of positioning strategies that may work well for your business:
- A promise: What do you promise your customers?
- An identity: What does your business stand for?
- The brand story: What is the “story” behind your company or product?
When to Use a Positioning Strategy
Positioning is a powerful tool in marketing, but you should use it carefully. While there are some situations where positioning is the only way to achieve results, there are other ways to get more out of it. The key to using positioning effectively is understanding the difference between positioning and persuasion.
Positioning is a process of designating a point, object, or location. In the context of marketing, positioning is the art of creating the appearance of familiarity, similarity, trustworthiness, reliability, and expertise. Positioning is a tactic to persuade people to take action, such as buying a product, donating to a cause, or even voting for a candidate. It works by establishing rapport with a target audience and making them believe they are already friends with the brand.
Persuasion is different. Persuasion is when someone is persuaded to do something by providing reasons or evidence that justify the request. For example, if you’re persuading someone to vote for a specific political candidate, you would want to provide evidence that the candidate has the qualities, skills, or experience needed to perform the job. Positioning and persuasion are not the same things.
You can use positioning to build credibility and increase brand awareness, but it’s much more effective when you combine it with persuasion. Suppose your brand is trying to build credibility by positioning itself as trustworthy, reliable, and reputable, for example. In that case, the best approach is to present persuasive evidence demonstrating why people should believe in you.
For example, if you’re trying to convince a sceptical audience that you can deliver on promises, provide proof of your track record of delivery. A recent survey found that 83% of Americans believe that companies make promises that they cannot keep.
By positioning your brand as a trusted, credible, and trustworthy organisation, it’s easier to persuade your customers to do business with you. If your brand is positioning itself as innovative, then offer proof. For example, a study found that 92% of consumers believe that products with the newest technology are more desirable.
In short, use positioning to create a sense of familiarity, similarity, trustworthiness, reliability, and expertise, but don’t stop there. Use positioning to persuade people to buy a product, donate to a cause, and vote for a candidate.
How to Implement a Positioning Strategy?
Marketing is about telling a story about your company’s products or services. Whether talking to a colleague or a potential customer, positioning your story around your company’s unique strengths can help communicate your company’s value to others.
One of the most fundamental ways to tell a story is through language. Words carry meaning, and they influence others’ perceptions of your company. For example, if you’re a software company and talk about your software’s security features, you’re communicating that your company is trustworthy and secure.
When you position your story, it’s essential to focus on your company’s unique strengths, which means describing things in terms that other companies aren’t already doing. If your company’s unique strength is its innovation, you should highlight that, even when talking to competitors. The unique quality of your company is often what sets it apart from its peers.
Think about how you’d describe your company’s product or service to a new prospect. The unique quality that makes your company stand out is the element that you’d include in a position statement. Positioning is about telling people what your company does and why they should care.
Here are some questions to help you position your company’s story:
- What are the company’s top strengths?
- Why should people trust the company?
- How can people benefit from working with your company?
- What makes your company unique?
If you want to emphasise your company’s unique strengths, you can take a position statement and rewrite it so that it includes only your company’s unique qualities. By describing your company’s fundamental value proposition in your own words, you’ll be able to communicate your company’s unique qualities.
It’s also important to focus on the benefits your company can offer. That may mean highlighting specific features your company offers or focusing on the impact your company can make on customers or society.
Another strategy is to focus on your company’s benefits to people. For example, if your company’s innovative and unique products, you could highlight that. Describe how your products help consumers with work or leisure. If your company’s products are highly reliable, you could explain how your company’s products make customers’ lives easier.
The best way to determine your company’s strengths is to consider the attributes that distinguish your company from the competition. If you’re a software company, your unique strengths may be the security of your products, your support for multiple platforms, or your software running on your client’s servers.
Once you’ve determined your company’s unique strengths, you can position your story based on them. Here are some examples of positioning strategies:
- The safety of our products
- The convenience of our products
- The reliability of our products
- The effectiveness of our products
- The ability of our products to connect people
If you’re struggling to determine which niche to go into, you can use the positioning strategy to help you figure out where you should begin.
It’s a great tool because it allows you to compare yourself to your competitors and determine what makes you different. You’ll also be able to see what the most profitable niches are.
Want to learn more about positioning strategy? Check out this article to get started!