How To Develop an Efficient Brand Positioning Map.

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How To Develop A Brand Positioning Map.

What if there was a simple visual tool to map your brands position against competitors? A strategic compass that guides your messaging and marketing strategy? Well there is and its called the brand positioning map; a robust framework that once created, differentiates your brand in customers’ minds. 

Embracing the brand positioning map helps companies to optimize their positioning strategy effectively. But how does a brand create one? We created this article as a complete guide that takse you through developing your positioning map to unlock new opportunities. In this guide you will will discover how to identify perceptions, assess competitors, find strategic gaps, and define your brand’s unique value proposition. 

With these step-by-step instructions, you will learn how to develop a practical map that guides the brand positioning strategy. Whether a small business or a global brand, a thoughtful positioning map is the cornerstone for success. Let’s learn how to create one for your brand and leverage it for strategic clarity and growth.

Why are Brand Positioning Maps Important?

Brand positioning maps, or perceptual positioning maps, are critical strategic tools for modern brands looking to differentiate in competitive markets. These visual frameworks map out the current brand landscape by plotting your brand against competitors based on attributes like price, quality, and benefits. 

This positioning reveals gaps in the market that have not yet been exploited and areas where brands converge. With this aerial view, brands can see where they currently sit in consumers’ minds and decide where they want to be positioned. The brand positioning map brings this competitive analysis to life. 

It informs core brand positioning and messaging that resonates. In today’s crowded digital space, standing out requires brands to know their unique value proposition and what makes them better in reality or at least consumer perception. The positioning map provides this strategic clarity for effective brand positioning.

Developing the Brand Positioning Map

Developing the brand positioning map may sound simple. But in reality, there are a lot of factors that influence the outcome. Companies must always follow a systematic approach, mapping a complete brand or individual product positioning. 

There are vital steps to follow when making this helpful map. Here are each of the steps which we will discuss in detail.

  • Thorough market research.
  • Identifying your brand and its competitors.
  • Determining the right attributes to map.
  • Plotting your brand’s position.
  • Mapping competitors.
  • Identify gaps in the market.

The result? A clear plan to differentiate your brand with strategic gaps highlighted. The following are essential steps when creating a brand positioning map that works.

Conduct Market Research

Market research is the basics of brand positioning. It helps companies to extract valuable insights and learn about market trends and customer perception. It provides meaningful data on changing consumer preferences. Companies can get information such as how customers perceive the brand, how potential customers view competitors, and the list goes on. 

During this stage, companies may utilize surveys, interviews, focus groups, heat mapping, and other ways to understand the needs, desires, and interest, of the target customer group. In this stage we may ask probing questions to understand needs and wants. Businesses must pay attention to how target customers describe their similarities and differences.

Identify Your Brand and Competitors

Once the research is conducted and companies have collected insights from the data, now is the time to identify the brand against its competitors. At this stage, businesses should list competing brands in their space. This list will act like a complete data frame with possible columns like brand a, brand b, brand c, and brand d. 

Companies must analyze how their brand is perceived by utilizing the insights from the market research. What attributes or benefits come to mind? Does the brand elicit certain emotions? 

This exploratory data analysis will help them understand what makes their brand unique in the minds of consumers. Do the same for competitors. Learn about their associations and brand positioning, and identify their similarities and differences. 

Determine Axes and Variables

Selecting the right axes is critical for a practical map. Focus on variables that shape consumer perception and drive purchase decisions. Price versus quality? Innovation or reliability? Pick attributes that differentiate the brand. Plot these as perpendicular axes. 

Effective axes reveal strategic gaps and opportunities. With salient variables, you can accurately map your brand’s position against competitors. It informs opportunities to refine the brand positioning strategy.

Map Your Brand Position

With axes defined, plot your brand position on the map. Consider current brand perception and where you want to be—plot based on extensive research into brand identity and attributes. Stake out your ideal territory. But stay grounded in reality. An aspirational but achievable spot builds credibility. Reinforce strengths that set you apart. Address any perceived weaknesses. An accurate plot enables the strategy to close gaps. Dialing in your brand position prepares for competitor mapping.

Map Competitor Positions

Once your brand is mapped, plot competing products. Analyze their market share and brand perceptual map positions—plot direct competitors near your brand on relevant attributes. But leave white space between. Avoid overlap. Map aspirational and budget brands, too. 

Seeing the competitive landscape illuminates gaps. Are there uncontested territories? Areas to edge into? Mapping competitor positions reveals strategic opportunities for differentiation, repositioning, or expansion. An insightful map informs marketing and messaging.

Identify Gaps And Opportunities

Analyze the perceptual product positioning map with your brand plotted among competitors. Look for open market gaps in desirable territory. Competitors in these areas have yet to stake out present opportunities. Consider your strengths and capabilities. 

Identify strategic white spaces you can own to gain a competitive advantage. Plot a plan to reposition products and messaging to fill gaps. An insightful map reveals possibilities for differentiation and growth. Keep assessing the landscape. As positions shift, new gaps will emerge.

Strategizing Based on Your Map

After developing the brand positioning map, the next step is to analyze the data provided by the map and use it to optimize positioning strategies. This approach enables companies to make informed decisions based on data rather than guesswork. The brand positioning map can help optimize the brand strategy in the following ways:

Craft A Positioning Statement

The brand positioning statement of a company can make or break the strategy. Businesses can effectively utilize the brand positioning map to fine-tune their statement first. A company may highlight its brand’s key benefits to the target audience. They should focus on a compelling emotional benefit vs. competitors. 

For instance, “Brand provides high-quality customer service to busy professionals seeking reliable support.” The statement must differentiate the brand in the minds of customers. It informs marketing, so messaging reinforces the unique strategic positioning. An effective statement keeps the brand promise.

Define Your Target Audience

As mentioned, intelligent brand positioning maps provide marketers with keen insights into customer perceptions. Plot the brand alongside competitors to show where it stands on attributes that matter the most to different target segments. Is it offering better customer service? Is it offering a low price? 

Analyzing these gaps gives the opportunity better to meet the needs of an untapped target audience. It visualizes the differentiation of the brand for each audience segment. Based on this information, companies may refine their messaging and offerings to position themselves with priority groups better. As a result, businesses can experience growth in their market share by gaining more customers. 

Create A Marketing Strategy And Campaign

A well-structured brand positioning map provides a strategic foundation for the marketing strategy. It helps companies to learn about gaps and opportunities for improvement and increase their market share. 

Companies can use this data to make their marketing campaigns stand out. For example, they may utilize the data to optimize their messaging and outreach. They may target the defined customer segments in unique positioning territories. 

Businesses can also craft compelling campaigns that adequately convey the value proposition. For digital marketing, it can help optimize the content for search terms. Companies can also use maps for effective resource allocation to strengthen the desired brand identity.

Build Your Brand Identity And Personality.

A brand positioning map is like an explorer’s treasure map. It reveals hidden opportunities that make the brand stand out. A company should analyze the map to discover open areas to state unique personality attributes. If reliability gaps exist, it may build messaging to position the brand as dependable and consistent.

If the company finds innovative spaces, it must embrace imaginative branding that reflects creativity. When identity springs from the map, it helps to make the authentic positioning shine. A company’s brand personality must step from strategic gaps only it can fill. 

Increase Brand Loyalty

Positioning maps are also an effective way of increasing brand loyalty. They highlight untapped opportunities where companies can rise and shine. Businesses may plot strategies specifically tuned for those gaps to fill the space. 

For instance, if the map reveals a reliability gap, a company can boost loyalty through consistent dependability messaging if the map reveals a reliability gap. A company can develop bonding experiences unavailable elsewhere if it reveals community-building potential. When strategic differentiation resonates, loyalty follows. Customers will connect and commit to the identity a map helps carve out. 

Best Practices for Positioning Maps

  • Simplicity is key: The most insightful maps are clean and uncomplicated. Avoid clutter that obscures the core insights.
  • Strive for clarity: Use succinct, descriptive labels that instantly communicate perceptions. Leave no room for misinterpretation.
  • Update regularly: Customer perceptions shift over time. Revisit the map every six months to realign with evolving needs.
  • Integrate with strategy: Let the map guide your overall brand strategy, as Al Ries suggests. Fill gaps where competitors fall short.
  • Connect to messaging: Use map insights to craft consistent communications reinforcing your unique positioning.
  • Focus on differentiation: Look for open spaces where your brand can stake out differentiated attributes.
  • Know your customer: Plot perceptions for well-defined customer segments to reveal relevant opportunities.
  • Test assumptions: Validate map insights with customer research to confirm accurate positioning.

Data-Driven Brand Positioning 

Are you struggling to differentiate in a crowded market? Do you wish you could visualize exactly how consumers perceive your brand? SmashBrand’s data-aware brand positioning maps are an effective tool for building a framework that works. Discover strategic gaps competitors miss. Let us guide through our Path To Performance™ process to craft a winning brand development strategy that leverages your unique positioning.

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