Brand positioning is a pretty esoteric topic, when you think about it. How does anyone create a mental image, an emotional response, and a full perception of your business in someone else’s head? And yet, brand positioning – as we have deepened in our previous article – can be the most important driving force behind gaining life long customers.
Thinking Like the Big Guys
So many large brands have created a legacy with strong brand positioning. When we think of megabrands like Nike or Coca-Cola, we have a distinct automatic response that is equal parts emotional and intellectual. But this type of personal response to a brand doesn’t always come organically.
Marketers and advertisers pour their time, creativity, and money into creating an ideal position and maintaining it over time.
But if your business isn’t quite on the same level as Nike or Coca-Cola yet, what are some everyday things you can consider to help you gain ideal brand positioning? Take a look at these brand positioning strategies to help you stand out from your competitors.
The First Steps of Brand Positioning
The terms “brand positioning” and “brand identity” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same. You see, your brand identity will certainly influence your brand positioning, but brand positioning is purely based on the public’s perception of that identity. While your brand identity is who you are, what you do, and what you stand for, brand positioning is what other people think of when they think of your brand.
So while they aren’t exactly the same concept, you will need to be solid in your brand identity before you can start strategizing for your brand positioning.
Consider what makes your brand unique for the rest of your competitors. What makes your brand an easy choice? Who would choose your brand over a competitor, and vice versa?
Brand positioning can feel somewhat like throwing a dart. You want a bullseye, but first, you have to narrow down all the information about your brand to decide upon the vision you want your customers to perceive.
Think about those megabrands and the perception you have of them. What are some of the things that feed into that perception? The slogans? Their television advertisements? Social media presence? How does all of that media and content feed into how you feel about that brand?
While you’re probably not quite ready to produce the next legendary Super Bowl commercial, you can take control of your brand positioning today. And if you’re lacking of inspiration, you may need someone to help you like the freelances here below:
Why Be Proactive in Brand Positioning?
While brand positioning is absolutely something you can control as a business owner, creating shifts in positioning to align with market preferences, a lot of your public perception comes organically. Some products automatically draw a certain audience. A tire for high-performance sports cars is an example of a very niche product that comes with a very specific customer base.
But even in a tight niche, each brand has to take the time to distinguish themselves from everybody else.
Your brand positioning makes your brand more attractive to just the right customers. Of course, you want to attract any and all customers, but your brand positioning is something that will resonate with the type of customers who will become brand loyalists.
Take Nike as an example. Anyone can buy sneakers or sports apparel, but the most valuable customers to Nike are those who replace their worn-out Nike running shoes with another pair of Nike running shoes. Creating a welcome space in the perception of customers who are looking for your brand is essentially a marketing “home run”. This automatic connection creates a life-long customer, and all you have to do is be yourself.
Of course, not all brand positioning is that easy. Most customers like to do some intelligent shopping around before they make decisions. Even if they love Nike, they still might check out what’s going on with Adidas before they make their final choice. That’s why you can’t rely on the organic draw of your brand to create a solid and lasting impression.
Instead, make sure you’re always answering the question “why choose your brand?” Every image, video, social media post, blog post, and so on should reflect what your brand stands for, and why you should be the number one choice for solving the customer’s problem not just today, but for every future need.
The 5 Brand Positioning Strategies That Will Help Your Brand Stand Out
Everything you do will feed into brand positioning, from the color and font of your logo, to the user experience of your website. You will need to be conscientious of your brand any time you make product updates, blog posts, or implement new marketing campaigns.
Therefore, it’s important to look at a strategy that will make sense for your brand. Here are the top five brand positioning strategies:
- The characteristics of your product/service
- The manner in which your product or service is used
- Your competition
Again, not all of these will be applicable to every business. For example, if you and the majority of your direct competitors sell your product or service for a similar price, you’re not going to be able to use that feature to establish a unique identity to form your positioning. On the other hand, you may find yourself considering multiple positioning strategies.
Brand positioning by characteristics is often a good choice for brands who will be providing one specific product or service. Coca-Cola is different because it makes people smile, for example. Sure, the brand owns more than just the tasty cola beverage, but the brand positioning takes the customer directly to the drink, and then filters down the brand’s offerings to the desired product.
Price can be a touchy strategy, in that many people are wary of things that seem too cheap to be of high quality. You don’t want prospective customers asking “what’s the catch?” Instead, you can demonstrate value by being upfront about your pricing. McDonald’s value menu is one example of how being upfront about price and quality can create a very positive brand positioning. No one expects a gourmet chicken sandwich for a dollar, but a McChicken from the Dollar Menu? That sounds like a tasty, inexpensive lunch!
Quality is a great brand positioning strategy, especially if your product really stands head and shoulders above the competition. One industry in which this strategy is used very well is amongst automotive manufacturers. Nearly every brand has a base trim and a luxury trim, but the features you see advertised are often optional features for the top trim only. That’s because their brand positioning isn’t about the most basic vehicle you can find: it’s about a vehicle brimming with comfort and convenience features.
Product usage is definitely a quality to highlight if you have something that is easier to use or that you need to use less than what the competitors offer. “Easy” is definitely a key term in brand positioning, along with “simple” and “instant”. This can be a great positioning strategy for services or software. Consider how Google has positioned their brand to provide a variety of simple, integrated features based on a single account to see this strategy in motion.
Lastly, you can position your brand to provide something the competition cannot. This is a popular strategy in the health and wellness industry. Ever check out two different yoga studios? One may have a zen-like atmosphere of nag champa and mandalas, while another might play punk rock during class and have a reputation for being no-holds-barred when it comes to class types. This means you’ll need to keep an eye on the competition, however, to ensure you’re still participating on different wavelengths.
Brand positioning can happen organically, but as a business owner, you can take charge over how the public perceives your brand.
Before you get started, it’s important that you understand your brand, your mission, your customers, your competition, and your niche. Since everything you do will become a part of how your brand is perceived, make sure you take your time to create an identity that makes sense and is sustainable. From there, your brand positioning strategy will guide your marketing to ensure that your brand lives comfortably in the public eye for a long time to come.