Branding

A Guide To Successful Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is critical if you want to stand out in a competitive marketplace, build a strong following and be a leader in your field; especially where products or services can be easily substituted.

Amber Snow
Strategic Marketing Specialist

The strategic importance of brand positioning is critical if you want to create a brand of scale successfully. The concept of brand positioning is about determining a framework that your brand adheres to through visual design, communication and brand experience.

Brands are forever facing an increasing challenge of hyper-competition and mass consumption, which means if you want to penetrate a market you need to have a clear position that your brand wants to own.

Developing a position for your brand is not a new concept. This concept dates back to the ’60s when marketers first identified the meaning of brand management.

Now, the power associated with branding is well documented, and managing your brand has many layers. It’s important, however, to know only a well-defined brand identity will achieve successful brand positioning.

So let’s talk brand positioning so that your brand can start to occupy a unique position in your audience’s mind.

What is Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning was first made popular by Ries and Trout in their book “Positioning – a Battle for Your Mind”. Although there have been many definitions around positioning from various marketing experts, most agree that positioning is the development of your brand in the mind of the consumer with all key messaging and actions derived from that position. Think of positioning as what your brand wants to be known for, perceived as, thought about and felt against its competition. Remember, perception is reality so know the space you want to own in your customers’ minds and start working towards achieving that position for your brand.

Why is brand positioning important?

Brand positioning is critical if you want to stand out in a competitive marketplace, build a strong following and be a leader in your field; especially where products or services can be easily substituted. 

How to develop brand positioning

The first step is always research; after all, you want to understand your consumers, your own capabilities and unique qualities, as well as where each competitor is positioned. Through understanding your target market, your business, and your competitors you may be able to identify a gap in the market or a position that best resonates with your target market that only your brand can best serve. In developing your brand’s position you need to choose a specific spot to occupy and the best place to articulate that is through a brand positioning statement.

Brand is the holistic sum of customers’ experiences, composed of visual, tonal and behavioral brand components, many of which are shaped by interaction design – Kate Kaplan.

Create a positioning statement

Once you’ve researched and understood the position your brand owns (or would like to own) you’ll need to create a positioning statement. Make sure your positioning statement truly reflects your brand, it’s personality and allows room for evolution in the brand.

Try completing the following statement:

YOUR BRAND help [your target market] to [target market need] through providing [your unique point of difference].

Here’s a Pixel Palace example of the above: Pixel Palace help medium to large business to succeed online through a combination of strategic marketing, technology and design.

 

Let’s break down the above elements for your positioning statement:

Target Market: Think about the type of customer you are trying to attract and define them. Without a clear definition of your target market, you will not have a clear brand positioning. After all, brand positioning is the place your brand owns in the mind of its consumer so you need to know which consumer that is.

Target Market Need: You need to pick a need that you want to serve, understanding the target market’s point of view is important. Figure out the key needs you’re serving solutions for and position yourself strategically to ensure your solution stands out for their needs.

Unique Point Of Difference: Of course, owning a place in your target consumers mind needs a point of difference, otherwise you’ll end up in a crowded position where your solutions aren’t standing out to their needs. Your unique point of difference can be put forward to the market through the form of a Unique Selling Proposition, value proposition or brand promise. Essentially what you’re doing is differentiating your brand against the competition—a strong brand position only occurs when you have clearly separated your brand from its competition.

Implementing your brand positioning

By now you know that a strong brand position is crucial to the success of an organisation. Therefore, now that you have articulated your brand positioning statement, you’ll need to ensure that this is implemented across the organisation.

This means doing more than expressing the statement in communication if you are wanting this to be strategic you’ll need to ensure that this statement resonates with employees too. Strategic brands don’t just write positioning statements, they live them. This means you will need to ensure that all channels are aware of this positioning statement and that you start analysing the proof that your positioning statement is in operation.

This statement needs to reach every touchpoint. One way to ensure a seamless flow of the statement is to involve staff during the development stage so that organisational buy-in occurs.

Areas your brand must implement the brand positioning include:
◼️ Products and names (sometimes including brand name)
◼️ Visual Identity
◼️ Communications
◼️ Price
◼️ People

Brand positioning can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow this for guidance, and if after all of that you’re still feeling a little stuck make sure you reach out to our strategic marketing team for some help. The pay-off is clear when it comes to brand positioning—a well-positioned brand will always own the market and have the happiest of customers in return. That’s what we call a win-win!

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