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The Basics of Brand Positioning.

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Brand Positioning Matrix

How do brands become household names? For example, when some people sneeze, they don’t ask for a tissue; they ask for a Kleenex. There’s no such thing as “a Kleenex.” Kleenex is a brand name. But the company has positioned itself so well that its brand has become synonymous with the product.

Brand positioning is key to differentiate your business from the competition. Studies have shown that consistent brand positioning can increase your average revenue by 33%. So, what’s the key to effective brand positioning? Let’s take a look at the basics so you can build your brand into an iconic household name.

What Is Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning is how you set your business apart from the competition, but it’s much more than just a good logo or slogan. It’s how customers perceive your brand as a whole. You want your brand to be seen as favorable, different, and credible.

Think about the marketing greats like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Geico. All you need to see is a red can, and you imagine a delicious, refreshing, carbonated beverage. Coke’s brand positioning is so consistent and positive that you don’t even need to see a logo to know what brand it is. A certain flavored tortilla chip brand released a commercial without mentioning the product, logo, or company name! They relied entirely on their iconic brand positioning to get the message across.

Why Should You Care?

Think of your brand’s reputation like a raft adrift at sea. If you don’t guide the raft, it’s going to float wherever the ocean takes it, even if that’s not where you want to be. Brand positioning is like a rudder. It’s how you guide your brand raft (reputation) where you want it to go.

You can use your brand positioning to communicate your product’s value, boost brand awareness, or justify your pricing—to name a few. No matter how you use it, brand positioning can have a major impact on your bottom line.

5 Ways to Create a Winning Brand Positioning Strategy

First, you must understand what makes your brand unique and how you want it to fit within the marketplace. To do that, create a positioning statement.

A positioning statement is a brief thought (no longer than a paragraph) that explains how you want your brand to be perceived. Take into consideration everything that could impact your company reputation:

  • Who is your target market?
  • What category does your product or service fall into?
  • How does your product or service meet the needs of your customers?
  • What makes your product or service different, from the customer’s perspective?
  • Why should customers believe your brand’s claims?

Once you find answers to these questions, you can create a positioning statement to guide your positioning strategy.

There are four main ways to build this strategy:

1. Think About Your Product’s Characteristics

These characteristics—that customers love—are a great basis for a positioning strategy. 

For example, think about the automotive industry. Toyota’s brand position is all about reliability. You know their vehicles will run forever with limited maintenance. Other car manufacturers position their brands around other product characteristics. Porsche is all about performance, while Volvo is dedicated to safety.

Before you build a positioning strategy around a product characteristic, make sure your product lives up to your claims. If you position your vehicle brand around reliability and your cars break down often, it’s going to hurt your reputation a lot worse than if you just left your brand raft adrift without a rudder. 

2. Position Your Brand Around Price

Consumers look for ways to save money. If your products are one of the least expensive on the market, you can build your brand around value.

You can see this brand positioning at work with big-box department stores. Why do you shop at Walmart? It says it right in their slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” Walmart has positioned its brand around having the best prices around. When you go into the store, you feel confident that you’re getting the lowest prices available—a reputation they’ve worked hard to achieve.

3. Consider Luxury or Quality

You can also position your brand around the quality or luxury of your products. If customers perceive your product as high quality, they’ll be willing to pay more for it.

Why on Earth would anyone pay $2,500 for a Louis Vuitton purse when they can go to Walmart and get a bag that’ll work just as well for $20? Because Louis Vuitton has positioned its brand around luxury. Customers think it’s worth the increased price for the luxury of owning a Louis Vuitton purse.

Similarly, Carhartt outerwear is much more expensive than generic jackets and sweatshirts, but they’ve positioned their brand around quality and durability, which is how they still make record sales despite the higher price tag.

4. Brand Positioning Based on Competition

If you offer something that’s unique among your competitors, flaunt it! This is called whitespace and It’ll make your brand seem attractive by comparison to your competitors.

You can see this strategy in action everywhere, and whitespace positioning should be what every brand aims for. Let’s look at an example of this with health food MCT oils. Simply reading Amazon reviews and creating patterns, we noticed consumers complaining about all of the competitor’s bottles leaking and dripping after using them. We create a brand that has a spill-proof top and positioning around that product level white space. It’s an instant success selling millions on Amazon doing something different and unique from all competitors.

Be Consistent with Your Brand Positioning

Consistency is key. It takes between five to seven brand impressions before a customer will remember a brand. You don’t want to confuse potential customers by putting out an inconsistent message. 

Once you’ve created a brand positioning strategy, stick with it. It should influence every aspect of your marketing strategy, from your logo and slogan to advertisements and packaging. The more consistent your brand positioning, the faster it’ll take hold in the minds of consumers.