As a business owner, you’ve probably heard the term “brand positioning” tossed around in blogs and forums, as well as advice like “You need to fine-tune your brand positioning strategy”. Or “Use your social media accounts to fortify your brand positioning”.
Meaning of Brand Positioning
This sounds like pretty solid advice that many of us should follow. But what is brand positioning? Is this like some kind of marketing yoga? How do you know what kind of position your brand should be in?
The good news is that you won’t need to stretch anything but your imagination, or exercise more than your research tools in order to achieve ideal brand positioning. Let’s take a look at what this concept is about, how to accomplish it, and how it can benefit your business.
Your “brand” is more than just your business’s name or logo. Branding reflects the identity of your business. This process starts with the name and logo, of course, but expands into your marketing efforts, including the language, images, and ideals associated with your brand.
Let’s use one of the big guys as an example: Campbell’s Soup. It’s “mmm-mmm good”, right?
The old-timey script, familiar red and white label, cherub-faced spokes-children, and the down-home simplicity of recipes that have remained unchanged over the years all go towards creating Campbell’s brand. It’s wholesome, warm, and comfortable.
But soup is usually warm and associated with comfort: there’s nothing new or exciting about that. This is where brand positioning comes in.
Brand positioning refers to how your business compares to others in the minds of your customers. If you think about all of the brands your customers can readily identify as jars sitting on a shelf, brand positioning describes where your jar is compared to others.
Brand positioning strategy, therefore, is the process through which you help your customers see your brand, so that they reach for your jar first.
Let’s go back to the Campbell’s Soup example. When do customers literally reach for a can of Campbell’s Soup? When they don’t feel well and they don’t have the time or energy to prepare a full meal.
Most people don’t reach for a can of Chicken and Stars soup as a side dish for an elaborate meal. Instead, this is the product they seek out when they want something that’s wholesome, warm, and comfortable.
Brand positioning means determining when, how, and under what circumstances your customers should reach for your brand. You have control over how your brand is perceived, and though you can’t force a prospective customer to buy from you, you can influence what they think about your brand.
By the way, if you’re curious to learn more about the history of Campell’s Soup slogan, have a look at this interesting article published at thoughtco.com.
How To Get Started with Brand Positioning
This is where your imagination and research tools come in handy. Get ready to do a lot of thinking, searching, and analyzing.
First, consider how you view your brand’s identity. As you have been building your business, who have you determined is your customer base? Do you have a particular demographic or psychographic in mind? Who do you think will buy your product or services? This may be a very broad, general idea, or you have a very specific population in mind, depending on your business’s niche.
Next, do a deep-dive into your niche. Don’t just look at what people are buying, but why they’re buying it.
Your products provide solutions to their problems, but how? How are you different from your competitors?
This deep-dive might take some time, as you thoroughly explore your niche. You want to carefully consider how to differentiate your brand not just in marketing, but in how consumers think of your brand.
Additionally, you need to make sure you can consistently deliver on your brand positioning. While you may rebrand and update your products, you want to make sure your brand positioning doesn’t shift considerably. Campbell’s Soup has experienced numerous mergers and acquisitions over the years to become one of the largest processed food suppliers in the world, but their brand positioning hasn’t wavered.
Read also: 6 Ways To Increase Customer Retention
What About You?
One way to create a solid commitment to your brand positioning is to find three words that identify your brand. Earlier, we noted that Campbell’s Soup is “wholesome, warm, and comfortable”.
What three words would you use to describe your brand positioning strategy? Try not to be too vague, with words anyone would use for their brand. “Simple, cost-effective, and time saving” are great brand tenets, but they apply to nearly every brand. What sets your brand apart from the others? What do you want people to seek and find in your brand?
If you’re finding yourself stuck, glance back at your SEO keywords. Take a look at your followers on social media. How do they describe themselves? What are they looking for in a product or service? More specifically, what are they looking for in your product or service that they can’t find in another similar option?
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The Benefits of Brand Positioning
Once you’ve determined your brand’s identity, you’ll want to be sure that all of your marketing, sales, advertising, and production efforts feed into your brand positioning strategy. Your packaging, your logo, your voice, and all of your communications should feed into the brand positioning you have selected.
But why? What’s the point?
Your brand positioning can make your brand more recognizable, not just because of splashy graphics or witty slogans, but for what your product or service can really do. Your customers will associate your business with the solutions they can find there due to your brand positioning.
This, in turn, makes it easier for customers to immediately turn to you for their purchases. If they know what you offer and that your business can be trusted to solve their problems right away, they may not even bother with comparison shopping. This is known as “value confirmation”. Cost differences aren’t important when customers know they can go to you to get what they need right away.
Brand positioning strategy is also a great way to boost your marketing campaigns. Using those three words you chose earlier, what kind of stories can you tell? What type of gamification can you incorporate? Brand positioning is a great way to make your marketing campaign stronger and more cohesive. Consider the adventures of the Campbell’s Soup Kids. They’ve been around since 1904, and they’re still recognized and associated with the brand.
Finding your brand positioning can require some serious legwork. You want to choose a path that’s going to make sense for you and your brand, and that you can sustain for a long time to come.
Building a brand around something that’s trendy today might be great for immediate sales, but eventually, it may become irrelevant. Choose instead to create a brand position with longevity and room to grow. Remember, you’ll want to be consistent in your branding from this day forward, so make sure you’re comfortable with the positioning you select.
After all, your brand is what makes your business your very own.