What is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is the heart of marketing strategy. Kotler defines brand positioning as the “act of designing the company’s offer so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the mind of the target customers.”
Bovee et al. define positioning as “the process of prompting buyers to form a particular mental impression of our product relative to our competitors.”
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Brand Positioning?
- 2 How to Develop a Positioning Statement?
- 3 Positioning in Action
- 4 Advertising and Positioning
- 5 Positioning Slots
- 6 Brand Management Topics
How to Develop a Positioning Statement?
It is essential to have a complete brand identity and value proposition. A positioning statement is derived from it for communication. Being just a part of brand identity, it is a concise statement. In some cases, brand identity and positioning statements can both be compact.
The positioning statement is a declaration of the position our product will occupy in the mind of our target customers.
While developing a positioning statement we have to assess first where our and our competitor’s brand stand today. We call this market exploration. Secondly, we consider our target market segments. We then identify what is a core identity or the essence of our brand, is and what our value proposition is. It is better to know what criteria potential buyers use to choose one product over another.
A concise positioning statement first describes what is important to the customers, and then what problem our product will solve for them, and how. Positioning statements are used to develop new products, plan and advertising campaigns, train the sales force or perform any other marketing activity.
Positioning in Action
Here are some examples of positioning statements developed by various companies and advertising agencies.
BPL Excel Alkaline batteries. They are “the longest-lasting alkaline battery in the world”. It is an application-oriented positioning.
Company is the complete food for growing children. This positioning is targeted to a specific segment.
Dove is a soap with ¼ the moisturizer. It distinguishes Dove from other soaps. It is a functional value proposition.
HDFC sanctions the housing loan before property selection, reduces anxiety and helps to plan for your dream house. The loan is targeted at first-time buyers, who are apprehensive about the whole process.
Advertising and Positioning
According to George A. Miller, a Harvard psychologist, the average person can rarely name more than seven brands. This is where positioning comes in. Advertising has to establish the brand in a commanding position in the mindsets of consumers.
The image and appeals must be related to the way consumers possibly think about a brand and thus position it in their minds. In order to develop a clear position, the communicator must somehow put together all aspects of product, consumer, trade, competition and communication situation in a distinctive way for that brand. Good positions are difficult to maintain, and a company must be prepared to defend its position sometimes at a greater cost.
Positioning in the consumer’s mind is the end product of the process of filtering information about the product attributes the packaging, the pricing, and the image of the product created by advertising. The unique Selling Proposition is a specific consumer benefit offered by a brand. It is a fusion of product class, target consumer, brand proposition and distance from competing brands.
We can try several permutations and combinations to position the brands. Some positioning concepts are given below
The brand can take advantage of the pioneering lead, e.g. first in no frost technology, first to issue photo credit cards, first to issue credit cards with chips, first to market soft drinks through vending machines, first to introduce cameras in cell phones etc.
There are sensorial perceptions about the brand which cannot be quantified and measured, e.g. freshness of a soap, luster to hair given by a shampoo, fairness given by a cream or soap etc
A brand can be slotted for specific users as Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or Vicks Vapo Rub for children. Later more users can be included.
Charms are the spirit of freedom. This cigarette slot started a trend. It is consistent with the lifestyle of the users.
Repositioning a Rival Brand
In comparative advertising, Savlon was pitted against Dettol antiseptic which gave a burning sensation, where as Savlon did not. Such repositioning worked in favor of Savlon.
New Product Category Slot
An unfixed deposit is a slot against the usually fixed deposits. This creates a new product category in the mind of the consumers.
One or a combination of attributes can be used to position the brand. e.g. Toothpaste such as Colgate, Promise, Pepsodent etc, Head and Shoulder, Anti Dandruff Shampoo.