Where does your brand sit against your competitors?
Brand positioning can happen whether you’re proactive, reactive or passive with your marketing. Be clear about where you would like your products or service to sit in the minds of your customers and don’t leave it to chance.
When we think of established brands we instantly place them into categories in our minds: good, bad or indifferent. Once they occupy that space it’s hard to shift them. This positioning can happen regardless of what we do as marketers.
What is marketing positioning?
Market positioning refers to the strategy of making a brand occupy a distinct position in relation to competing brands, while defining a space in the mind of the customer. You can influence this position through the brand and your communications, along with your actions and behaviours.
Jack Trout, founder of the positioning theory, says: “It is the battle for your customer’s mind in an overcrowded marketplace.”
So how can make your brand’s voice heard over your competitors? The key is to have a strong grasp of who your customer is and how you to speak to them before you launch any campaign.
Defining your positioning
To begin, you may want to gather valuable market insights and identify unmet customer needs that you believe you serve better than your competition, all while remaining at the right price.
You may have also defined target segments where these unmet needs are shared by a significant number of customers. Let’s say you’ve also prioritised the segments in terms of which groups you’ll focus on and what you’ll offer them.
At this point, let’s assume you’ve been successful so far in your marketing planning efforts. In essence, you then have a strategic focus. Now take each target segment in turn and define your intended positioning. That involves writing down where you would like your product or service to sit in the minds of your customers rather than the competitor’s offerings.
Use a positioning statement to set your marketing intent. For example:
“For (target customers x), who (statement of customer need/motivational driver) our product or service (statement of key benefit/compelling reason to buy). Unlike (primary competitive alternatives), our product/service (statement of primary differentiation)”
(G. Moore 1991). Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Technology Products to Mainstream Customers.
It’s important that your intended positioning is relevant to the customer, so include factors such as: differentiation from competitors, motivation and sustainability.
Once you have a clear view of your desired positioning, you can define your key messages.
Remember: What are you trying to communicate to your customers?
We suggest keeping this simple and sticking to three key messages, then deciding which communication channels will be most appropriate to reach your target audience. In order to achieve ultimate positioning in your customer’s mind, you’ll need a combination of the brand, their experience of the brand and the company. On top of this, the messages they hear/read and what others say about you.