Planning to enter the market, every entrepreneur unwittingly thinks about the future of his business. How long will the company live? The answer from Richard Foster, who is a professor at the Yale School of Management, isn’t comforting. In his opinion, the average lifespan of brands has more than quadrupled since the 1920s and currently stands at 15 years. There is good news, though. Strong brands are the exception to the general rule. They last a long time. Sometimes very long. Of course, it’s difficult to squeeze Adidas, Toyota, a world-famous casino en ligne, or Coca-Cola from the market. But to come close to them is quite realistic. How do you do it? With the help of competent positioning.
What Is Positioning and Why Is It Important?
Brand positioning is a marketing strategy, which aims to make the company or its product stand out from the competitors, to make them more noticeable and attractive to the target audience. Why is it so important to develop an effective strategy? In short, good positioning tells the consumer why he or she should buy the product of that particular brand.
What tasks does brand positioning accomplish? First, it helps:
- Distance yourself from your competitors. The modern market is crowded with offers.
- Form an emotional bond with the target audience. Professional development of positioning allows you to communicate effectively with customers. This includes building a relationship where the customer not only buys the product, but also recommends it to others.
- Create added value. To be frank, in technical terms, the iPhone is not at all flawless. But this does not prevent Apple from selling smartphones at a price that is several times higher than the cost of production. The reason is competent positioning, which allows the owners of “Apple” technology to feel more progressive, free and well-off.
The aforesaid concerns any direction of activity and a segment of the market. It can be a manufacturer of clothing, cars, ice cream, chewing gum, and even personal brands. Either way, positioning helps you take your business to the next level.
Examples of Positioning Strategies
Experts distinguish several strategies for positioning companies, brands and products. Let’s consider the most popular types:
- By category. This concept suits those who are ready to offer something unique to the world. It is not necessary to be Steve Jobs, who created the iPhone. But qualitatively differ from competitors is necessary.
- By audience. This strategy suggests positioning on the principle of “For those who…”, “Especially for…”, etc. In choosing this concept, you must be careful. First, you will deliberately cut off a portion of potential customers. Second, you could offend someone inadvertently. An example is the Toyota scandal that happened in 2018. The Made For Men slogan, around which Toyota’s Fortuner SUV advertising campaign was built, was the basis for accusing the automaker of sexism.
- Price-wise. It’s a controversial concept because it’s impossible to compete indefinitely on price alone. Sooner or later, a new player will come to the market, ready to offer customers more favorable terms. But it is impossible not to include this type of positioning in our list as well. Especially since this strategy has been used successfully by major brands. For example, in the mid-thirties, PepsiCo seriously squeezed its main competitor by offering customers twice as much drink for the same money.
- By Profit. The essence of this positioning strategy is to make the consumer aware of the tangible or emotional benefits he will receive from owning the product. For example, Mercedes isn’t only a car but also a real German quality.
- By premium. This concept should only be used if your product belongs to the luxury niche. This approach involves building the image of the company or product around exclusivity, higher quality, luxury.
Of course, that’s not a complete list. But it allows you to get a general idea of the types of brand positioning.
Stages of Positioning Development
Evaluate the Current State of Affairs
To move forward, you need to understand the company’s current positioning. To do this, you need to answer several questions:
- What values are you communicating to your target audience?
- How well aligned is the company’s ideology with the interests of the target audience?
- Do you understand the problems of potential customers?
- Does the brand understand the target audience?
Study the life priorities, needs, desires of the target audience. And try to understand how your offer corresponds to them. Both in answering questions and in understanding consumers’ pains, you need to be completely honest. Relying on initial incorrect data, it’s impossible to build a competent communication.
Gather Information About Your Competitors
Having understood your own position, find out how your competitors position themselves. Any source of information will do – website, social networks, mystery shoppers, etc. Analyze what marketing tools are used by other manufacturers working in the same niche. Pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of their products.
Remember that your competitors’ target audience is also your target audience. Monitor your subscribers’ reactions, analyze their behavior in social networks, learn from others’ mistakes and try not to make your own.
Formulate What Makes You Unique
So in the first stage you were able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand. In the second, you learned the pros and cons of your competitors. Now it’s time to formalize this information into a preliminary positioning concept.
The weaknesses of competing brands deserve special attention, because you can turn them into your own advantage. Does another manufacturer have a less extensive product line? Tell your target audience about the rich assortment of your brand. A competitor works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but you work around the clock? Communicate this information to your customers.
Develop an Idea That Will Form the Basis of Your Positioning
Build on the work you’ve done earlier, create a position statement. This is usually one to three sentences, telling what you do, who you do it for, what the advantage of your offer is. Sometimes a position statement is equated with a slogan, but that approach is wrong. Slogans and slogans are externally oriented. A positioning statement is solely for internal application. Focusing on it will help you make better decisions that affect the rational and emotional perception of the brand.
Test, Test, and Test Again
Don’t forget that you’re working for consumers and their opinions should come first. Before you launch a large-scale conversion, study the feedback from your target audience, make sure they respond positively. Make sure the updated positioning is “right” for your customers and doesn’t cause rejection. Otherwise, take a step back.
Every person is unique, so it’s impossible to match the tastes of all consumers. Don’t pay attention to individual unhappy comments and opinions. You should be interested in the “average hospital temperature.”
Make Sure That the Staff Is Consistent With the Message Being Broadcast
If you position the company as friendly and positive, then all the employees should support this concept. If you are staking on seriousness and expertise, then the main requirement for staff is professionalism.