Brand positioning statements can help you win more business in 2020?

Determining your brand positioning statement is not an easy task. It requires both primary and secondary research. Your brand positioning strategy is how you differentiate your product or service from that of your competitors and then determine which market niche to fill.

My work with clients often leads me back to the beginning with brand positioning strategy and brand identity.

What is a brand positioning statement?

The definition for a brand positioning statement: A brand positioning statement is an expression of how a given product, service or brand fills a particular consumer need in a way that its competitors don’t. Positioning is the process of identifying an appropriate market niche for a product (or service or brand) and getting it established in that area.

They ask me to review their brand positioning because they got involved in bold shiny projects that blew up or it is not resonating with the stakeholders. 

Your brand positioning statement is so important. Think of it as a mini-pitch. Your brand positioning statement, often called value proposition tells your audience where you fit in the market.

I have seen branding projects:

  • Big bold bets failed and wasted a lot of money.
  • Spent a lot of time building spreadsheets that were completely made up and turned out to be wrong.
  • Let opinions dominate over facts from the field.
  • Lacked clear processes and tools to minimize risk.
  • Used processes suited for running a business rather than ones for developing new ideas.
  • Engineering driven brand positioning statement

Creating a brand positioning statement correctly will help you and your firm successfully position its offerings:

  1. Understand the patterns of value creation (Gain clarity)
  2. Leverage the experience and skills of your team (Get your team aligned)
  3. Avoid wasting time with ideas that wonít work (minimize the risk of a flop)
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So, how does management know if it has developed a good brand positioning strategy?  

The core of determining brand positioning is about applying tools to the messy search for a differentiated brand position that customers want and then keeping them aligned with what customers want in post search.

Two criteria are appropriate:

  • To what extent does a strategy create a sustainable competitive advantage, evidenced by high levels of customer satisfaction?
  • Does a strategy yield results that correspond to marketing management’s expectations with regard to sales, market share, profit contribution, growth rates, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and other relevant objectives?

Gauging the effectiveness of strategic marketing programs using specific criteria, such as market share and profitability, is more straightforward then evaluating the competitive advantage.

Yet developing a marketing program strategy that cannot be easily copied is essential. For example, a competitor would need considerable resources–not to mention a long time–to duplicate an effective brand positioning strategy. You want your product or service to occupy a distinctive position in your consumersí minds.

Companies do not alter their positioning strategies frequently, although adjustments are often made at different stages of product-market maturity and in response to environmental, market, and competitive forces. When a marketing mix strategy is working, it is logical to keep using it to maintain a strong brand.

Consider, for example, the very successful advertising campaign for Life cereal using the ďMikeyĒ series of commercials. The commercial shows an older brother (Mikey) who really likes cereal.

The campaign ran on 2,500 Networks showings helped Quaker Oats build and 80 million dollar business out of Life cereal. Interestingly, each year the Mikey campaign faces the threat of replacement for all but the first two years of its existence.

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Determining Positioning Effectiveness

For most profit-based companies, B2B or B2C for that matter, a sustainable competitive advantage results from offering greater value or lower cost than the competition.  

Evaluating competitive advantage is based on positioning analysis and target audience. The various methods and models are useful in evaluating positioning effectiveness.

When determining brand positioning you have to have metrics.

Cost Advantage.  This positioning advantage exists when an organization can offer a lower cost bundle of benefits perceived as equivalent to those of the competition.  Importantly, the targeted buyer must consider the set of benefits as being a favorable value to them. Otherwise, the competing offerings do not satisfy the target buyers’ needs and want.s

Value Advantage.  This type of positioning advantage is based on occupying a location in product attributes space that represents for buyers the most preferred combination of attributes and is not currently occupied by any competitor.

In order to do this, the attribute preferences of various market segments must be shown on the positioning map to compare buyers’ brand position perceptions and the segmentsí ideal preference positions.

Determining Positioning Effectiveness
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Management’s Performance Expectations.  This aspect of brand positioning effectiveness considers the performance of your brand position and your target customer response.  

For example, is a particular value advantage worthwhile in terms of revenue and cost? Performance assessment is necessary for evaluating the adequacy of an existing position or in considering a repositioning strategy.

Even though frequent changes are not made, a successful positioning strategy should be evaluated on a regular basis to identify shifting buyer preferences and changes in competitor strategy.  

The turbulent business environment requires regular monitoring of positioning effectiveness. The ďstrategic brandĒ concept is a useful framework for brand concept management.

Strategic Brand Concept

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Using this concept, the life of the brand has four stages:

  1. Brand concepts selection
  2. Introduction
  3. Elaboration
  4. Fortification

The brand positioning statement and concept guide initial strategy selection and implementation. The introduction stage is intended to establish the brand image in position with a target market during market entry.

This position should be capable of being extended during the subsequent stages. During the introduction stage the market mix is responsible for communicating the desired brand image and for performing essential operating activities (e.g., making the brand available in retail outlets).

The core of determining brand positioning is about applying tools to the messy search for a differentiated brand position that customers want and then keeping them aligned with what customers want in post search. Click To Tweet

Positioning strategies during the elaboration phase are concerned with enhancing the value of the brand’s image so that its perceived superiority in relation to competitors can be established or maintained.

Competition may cause buyers to find it difficult to discriminate among brands. Also, experience may affect buyers’ needs and preferences. Your brand positioning statement can change all that. Do it right and you begin to gain mindshare and more sales.

The objective is to elaborate on the position and concepts rather than to reposition the brand. Expanding the use of the brand (e.g.,  Crest with tartar protection) is an elaboration action.

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The objective in the fortification stage is to link an elaborated brand image to the image of the other products produced by the company in different product classes (e.g.,  linking Ivory soap with Ivory Snow, Ivory liquid, Ivory shampoo).

Please note the elaboration continues during the life of the brand. A fortification is an option that can be used concurrently if desired by management and maintaining the product portfolio.

The positioning strategy used depends on the position and concept marketing management selects and the stage in the life of the brand.

During the introduction, the positioning of the fundamental concept emphasizes problem-solving, the symbolic concept emphasizes reference group and ego enhancement associations, and the experimental concept focuses on cognitive and sensory stimulation of targeted buyers.

Brand Positioning Statements and Segmentation Strategies

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Awareness of the interrelationship between the target market, positioning strategy, and brand positioning statement is important. Your brand positioning statement may be different in market segments. What is your unique value proposition? Is it the same across all markets to target?

Positioning usually means that an overt decision is being made to concentrate only on certain segments. Such an approach requires commitment and discipline because it’s not easy to turn your back on potential buyers.

Yet, the effect of generating a distinct, meaningful position is to focus on the target segments and not be constrained by the reactions of other segments.

Brand positioning becomes challenging when marketing management decides to target more than one segment at a time.

The objective is to develop an effective positioning strategy for each segment. The use of a different brand for each targeted segment is one means of focusing on a positioning strategy.

Determining Brand Positioning Feasibility

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Source: The Coca-Cola Company

It is tempting but naive– and usually fatal– to decide on a positioning strategy or brand positioning statement that exploits a market need or opportunity but assumes that your product is something it is not.

In selecting a positioning strategy, management must realistically evaluate its feasibility, taking into consideration the product’s strengths, the positions of competing brands, and the probable reactions of buyers to the strategy. Marketing research evaluations such as used tests can help gauge the reaction of the buyers.

Do you remember Cherry Coke?  Cherry Coke, which was introduced nationally in 1985, surprised many industry observers with its strong sales performance at the same time that new Coke and Classic Coke or in the limelight.  

Network TV and radio spots position Cherry Coke as an ď out and outrageousĒ alternative to the other Cokes.

The new brand was launched with a 50 million dollar marketing budget and a new brand positioning statement, which generated a surprisingly strong and fast payback. Positioning was in terms of the flavor of the soft drink, thus using an experimental positioning concept.

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Wrapping It Up

Choosing the right target market strategy for each product market is an important decision that affects the total company.  This decision is essential to properly positioning a company in the marketplace.

Although there are tons of brand positioning statement examples on the Web you can follow the structure but you got to understand your target market, the archetypes, how they buy through market research.

Sometimes a single target cannot be selected for an entire strategic business unit when the SBU contains different product markets.

Moreover, locating the company’s best differential advantage may require a detailed analysis of several segments. Target market decisions integrate strategic planning and marketing strategy.

Targeting decisions establish key guidelines for strategic planning and decisions about the positioning strategy used to design brand strategies and marketing programs. The targeting options include a single segment,  selective segments, or extensive segments.

A key positioning decision is a relationship between the marketing effort and the market response. Positioning analysis is useful in estimating the market response as well as in evaluating competition and buyer preferences. Analysis methods include customer and competitor research, market testing, and positioning models.

Using analysis information in combination with marketing management judgment and experience, management selects a positioning strategy.  the close tie between positioning and segmentation strategies makes coordination of these strategies essential. Finally, it is important to assess the feasibility of a positioning strategy under consideration.

Positioning management and your brand positioning statement are concerned with moving the strategy for the product through the stages of the product market life cycle once the product/service has entered the market. The strategic brand concept provides a useful framework for concept design, elaboration, and fortification for building a brand.

When was the last time you review your marketing position against your competitors? Or testing your buyer preferences?

Have something to add about brand positioning?

Weíre listening.

Have something to say about your thoughts on determining brand positioning?†Take a look at our portfolio for some brand positioning statements and examples.

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Are you not getting the results you had hoped for with your current marketing agency? Let the experts at†this Denver marketing agency†help you generate more web traffic, converts more leads, and close more sales. Our team knows just what it takes to build and maintain a proven marketing strategy that drives high-quality leads. For more information, check out our†marketing services†or†contact us†to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs and our services.

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General FAQ’s to Determine Brand Positioning

What is a brand positioning statement?

A†brand positioning statement†is an expression of how a given product, service, or†brand†fills a distinct customer need in a way that its competitors don’t.†Positioning†is the process of identifying an appropriate market niche for a product (or service or†brand) and getting it established in that area.

What is positioning strategy in marketing?

Positioning†in†marketing†is a concept that describes what a company should do to†market†its product or service to its target customers.

What is a product positioning strategy?

Product positioning†is a marketing†strategy†that helps place a†product†perceptually in the minds of customers.†

How do you measure brand positioning?

7 Ways How to Measure Brand Awareness
1. Study Growth in Direct Traffic.
2. Measure and Study Referral Traffic.
3. Track Your Earned Media Value.
4. Track Your Share of Voice.
5. Compare Your Earned Media Value With Competitors.
6. Track Your Backlink Success.
7. Measure Social Media Activities.


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