Strategy

A Comprehensive Guide To The Brand Positioning Model.

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A Comprehensive Guide To The Brand Positioning Model
Jason

In today’s socially conscious world, where 90% of consumers expect brands to support social and environmental issues, it is the right time to adjust your brand positioning model. Incorporating sustainability and social responsibility into your brand strategy is no longer just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have for brand equity. It promotes customer loyalty, ultimately boosting sales and revenue.  

This article explores different brand positioning models, their advantages and disadvantages, the key challenges in implementing multiple brand positioning strategies, and potential solutions to avoid them. 

You will learn how to choose a practical brand positioning model that shapes consumer perception, boosts sales, and future-proofs your brand in an era where competitive positioning is more crucial than ever. You will learn how to elevate your brand’s position in the target market and build a strong bond with your customers. So, if that’s what you are looking for, keep reading!

Types of Brand Positioning Models

An effective brand positioning process involves understanding various types of brand positioning models. These brand positioning frameworks are potent tools for CPG brands to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace and resonate with their target audience. 

Mastering the basics of brand positioning is essential to establish a strong foothold and effectively communicate a unique value proposition. Here are some of the most widely used brand positioning models that benefit CPG brands:

Infrastructure Based Positioning

Such a positioning model capitalizes on the brand’s unique infrastructure or distribution capabilities to establish a distinct positioning strategy. Companies like Starbucks and McDonald’s have leveraged this approach effectively. Starbucks is a ubiquitous coffee chain with outlets in every neighborhood. 

McDonald’s has focused on its extensive drive-thru infrastructure for ultimate convenience. Domino’s Pizza emphasizes its efficient delivery system as a critical differentiator for product positioning based on infrastructure. This brand positioning template can be powerful for CPG brands with robust distribution networks and operational strengths. 

Product Brand Positioning Model

The Product Brand Positioning Model emphasizes a product’s distinctive features, attributes, or benefits as the main differentiator. This method can effectively establish a strong brand position and brand equity. For example, Chobani successfully positioned its Greek yogurt as a protein-rich, thick, and creamy alternative to regular yogurt.

Lay’s leveraged its brand positioning strategy around its unique potato chip flavors, such as Cheddar Jalapeño and Wavy Funyuns. This brand positioning approach can be powerful for CPG brands introducing innovative products or aiming to stand out based on product quality. Ensuring the promised product benefits are genuine and meaningful to the target audience is crucial to achieving effective brand positioning.

Process-Based Positioning Model

The Process-Based Positioning Model emphasizes a brand’s unique processes, methodologies, or philosophies as its key differentiator. This approach can be compelling for brands aiming to establish a strong brand positioning strategy rooted in authenticity and transparency. For example, Patagonia has effectively positioned itself as an eco-friendly brand by highlighting its commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes and ethical sourcing. 

Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” positioning emphasizes its focus on fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients and a transparent supply chain. This model aligns well with the philosophy of Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” approach, allowing brands to communicate their purpose and values to resonate with target customers on a deeper level. 

Value-Based Brand Positioning

The value-based model focuses on positioning a brand based on its core values and the emotional resonance it aims to create with consumers. This approach suits brands that seek to establish a strong emotional connection and cultivate brand loyalty. Barefoot Wines disrupted traditional wine marketing customs by targeting female USA consumers with a simple, easy-to-understand label bursting with color and fun. 

The brand’s non-vintage approach and award-winning wines helped establish it as a top-selling brand in the USA. Aligning with consumers’ deeply held beliefs and values results in an impactful brand positioning strategy beyond product features. Value-based positioning is crucial because it aligns with and increases brand equity, fosters customer loyalty, and achieves long-term success. 

Price Based Positioning

This model includes pricing strategy as a critical positioning element. This approach can be highly effective for CPG brands, aiming to establish a specific brand promise and perception in the target market. Whole Foods has carved out a premium positioning focusing on organic, high-quality products. 

Companies must compare their pricing against competitors on a brand positioning map to implement this strategy. This allows them to easily communicate the intended value proposition and attract their desired target segments. Ensure the pricing aligns with the overall brand experience and delivers on the promised value.

Goals of Brand Positioning 

GoalDescription
Differentiate from CompetitorsAn effective brand positioning model aims to differentiate the brand from its competitors, allowing it to stand out in a crowded market.
Establish a Unique Brand PromiseThe positioning model should define and communicate the brand’s unique value proposition or promise to customers.
ShapesPerceptionsEffective positioning shapes how the brand is perceived by consumers, influencing their attitudes, beliefs, and emotions toward it.
Target a Specific Market SegmentPositioning helps define and target a specific target market segment based on their unique needs, preferences, and behaviors.
Align Marketing EffortsIt ensures all marketing efforts, including advertising, promotions, and communication, align with and are consistent with the desired brand image.
Increase Brand EquityBy establishing a clear and compelling brand position, the model aims to increase the overall brand equity, making the brand more valuable and recognizable in the minds of consumers.
Foster Customer LoyaltyEffective positioning can foster emotional connections with customers, increasing brand loyalty and repeat business.
Guide Product DevelopmentThe positioning model guides the development of new products and services, ensuring they align with the brand’s core positioning and target market.

Critical Steps in Brand Positioning

A systematic approach is necessary to implement any of the brand positioning models mentioned above successfully. Without a practical strategy, it will be challenging to position your brand in the market and achieve the desired results. Therefore, companies must follow these steps to implement an effective brand positioning strategy:

Understand the Market and Competitors

Learn about the market and competitors from various perspectives. This step is the backbone of an effective brand positioning strategy. It involves conducting thorough market research, deeply analyzing consumer insights, and identifying key competitors and their positioning strategies. Gaining a deeper understanding of the market dynamics allows brands to uncover new opportunities for differentiation and identify gaps in the market that their positioning can address.  

Define the Target Audience

Use data from consumer insights and market research to define the target audience. This step involves identifying the specific demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and preferences of the brand’s target consumers. Understanding the target audience’s needs, values, and pain points will allow you to tailor your brand positioning to resonate With the desired customer base and create a solid emotional connection. 

Identify Unique Value Proposition

A unique value proposition is the heart of a good positioning strategy. It distinguishes the brand from its competitors. This step involves identifying the brand’s core strengths, unique attributes, and key benefits that set it apart. Brands must carefully analyze their capabilities, products, services, and brand personality to determine the most compelling and authentic UVP that will resonate with their target audience.

Craft Brand Positioning Statement

The brand positioning statement is concise and compelling, capturing the brand’s essence and setting it apart from its competitors. It involves creating a clear and memorable statement that communicates the brand’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP), target audience, and competitive frame of reference. The positioning statement is a guiding principle for all marketing and communication efforts, ensuring consistency and alignment across all touchpoints.

Execute and Communicate the Positioning

Once the positioning strategy is defined, the next critical step is to execute and communicate it effectively across all brand touchpoints. This step involves integrating the positioning into marketing campaigns, advertising messages, product packaging, customer experiences, and overall brand identity. Consistent and compelling communication regarding brand positioning is essential to establishing a solid brand image and fostering customer loyalty.

Monitor and Refine the Positioning

Implementing the brand positioning strategy is a cyclic process. You must perform continuous audits and monitoring to ensure the strategy is relevant and current. Define key performance indicators to track various elements of the positioning. Use these metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your implemented positioning strategy. 

It involves tracking consumer perceptions and monitoring market shifts. Based on these insights, adjust and refine your plan to adapt to changing market conditions, consumer preferences, and the competitive landscape. 

Brand Positioning Challenges 

Companies may face several challenges when implementing their desired positioning model. These challenges may hinder implementation or affect the strategy’s pre- or post-implementation performance. These challenges are as follows:

Aligning Internal Stakeholders

Aligning internal stakeholders is often an overlooked challenge. Keeping everyone on the same page regarding the brand’s essence and strategy can sometimes be challenging. It’s essential to ensure that all departments, from marketing to product development to customer service, consistently communicate and deliver on the brand’s positioning. Maintaining consistent communication can lead to mixed messages and inconsistent customer brand experiences.

Differentiating in a Crowded Market Category

In many industries, companies operate within a crowded market category with multiple competitors vying for the attention of the same target customers. Developing a unique and differentiated brand positioning that resonates with the target audience can be challenging, especially when competitors strive to differentiate themselves. Companies must conduct thorough market research and briefly craft their positioning to stand out in a crowded field.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Preferences

Consumer preferences and behaviors are constantly changing due to technological advancements, social trends, and shifting demographics. Companies must continuously monitor these changes and adjust their brand positioning accordingly. Failing to keep up with evolving consumer preferences can lead to an outdated or irrelevant positioning strategy. It can compromise the brand’s ability to connect with its target customers.

Managing Social Media Perceptions

In today’s digital age, social media plays a significant role in shaping brand perceptions. Companies must carefully manage their social media presence and engage with customers on these platforms to reinforce their brand positioning. Social media’s fast-paced and dynamic nature can make it challenging to maintain consistent messaging and effectively control brand narratives. Negative sentiment or misinformation can quickly spread and undermine a carefully crafted positioning strategy.

Balancing Authenticity and Aspirations

Effective brand positioning requires striking a balance between authenticity and aspirational messaging. While companies want to position themselves as aspirational and desirable, they must also ensure their positioning is grounded in genuine brand values and capabilities. Overreaching or making unrealistic claims can damage credibility and lead to consumer skepticism, ultimately undermining the effectiveness of the positioning strategy.

Building a Strong Brand

Building a strong brand is crucial for long-term success in a competitive marketplace. A solid brand attracts customers and fosters brand loyalty and awareness, which is essential for sustainable growth and profitability.

Developing Brand Equity

Building a strong brand requires solid brand equity, consumers’ perceived value and associations toward a brand. Companies must use consistent marketing campaigns and advertising efforts to establish robust brand equity. 

They should maintain high-quality products or services and provide exceptional customer experiences to strengthen positive brand associations. Successful brand extensions into new product categories can also enhance brand equity by leveraging the brand’s reputation.

Fostering Customer Loyalty

A strong brand is characterized by high brand loyalty, which refers to customers’ commitment and repeat purchases. Customer loyalty is crucial for long-term success, as retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Companies can foster customer loyalty by consistently delivering on their brand promises and providing excellent customer service. They may offer loyalty programs or rewards to incentivize repeat business. Additionally, building emotional connections with customers through storytelling and creating memorable brand experiences can deepen customer retention.

Utilizing Brand Architecture

Brand architecture is vital for establishing a solid brand. It involves organizing and managing a company’s brand portfolio, including the parent brand and any sub-brands. Well-designed brand architecture can differentiate products or services, clarify brand positioning, and leverage brand equity across various offerings. Companies must manage their brand architecture carefully to maintain consistency, leverage synergies, and avoid brand cannibalization or consumer confusion.

Promoting the Brand Positioning

Promoting brand positioning is crucial for effectively communicating the brand’s unique value proposition and differentiating it from competitors. A well-executed promotion strategy can enhance brand awareness, attract potential customers, and establish a solid competitive advantage in the market.

Designing Marketing Campaigns

Create integrated marketing campaigns that accurately represent the brand’s market positioning and essence. These campaigns should cover different touchpoints, such as advertising, content marketing, and integrated efforts. By using consistent messaging, companies can strengthen their unique value proposition and set themselves apart from competitors.

Partnering with Branding Agencies

Working with established branding agencies such as SmashBrand. or brand consultancies can benefit companies seeking expert assistance in promoting their brand positioning. These agencies have specialized brand strategists who can offer strategic insights, develop compelling brand narratives, and produce cohesive branding and marketing materials that effectively convey the brand’s positioning.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media platforms are the best tool for spreading awareness these days. Many fun ways exist to engage the target audience while spreading your message. For instance, CPG brands may leverage TikTok’s short video format to create funny, emotional, or motivational ads. These ads can foster meaningful connections with the target market. Effective marketing communications on social media can drive more engagement than any other channel if used correctly. It can also highly influence purchase decisions. 

Influencer Marketing

Teaming up with influential individuals or thought leaders who resonate with the brand’s positioning can effectively promote the brand and reach new audiences. Influencer marketing campaigns use the credibility and reach of these influencers to convey the brand’s positioning and authentically display its values and offerings to their dedicated followers.

Press Releases

Strategic press releases are another effective way to promote brand positioning and generate media coverage. Well-crafted press releases can highlight key messaging, announce new brand extensions or initiatives, and position the brand as an industry leader or innovator, reinforcing its unique value proposition. 

Search Engine Optimization

Enhancing a brand’s online presence through search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can boost its visibility and discoverability. By including relevant keywords and optimizing website content, companies can improve their search engine rankings and increase the chances of potential customers discovering and engaging with their brand.

Brand Positioning in Packaging Design

While we are known for packaging design and consumer testing, brand positioning is how we set the stage for meaningful client outcomes. As your brand positioning agency, our Path To Performance™ process will establish a strong retail presence through our brand positioning framework, enabling success for future line extensions. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.

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