Written by Natalia Szczucka, Marketing Specialist at ConQuest consulting
In a marketing context, positioning is mainly associated with SEO, which involves the appropriate promotion of pages by a search engine based on the keywords that define them. However, brand positioning has also been practised for years. What is it, what does it consist of, and how can a brand be positioned? You will find out in this article. You will also learn tips that will help you create and improve your positioning to stay ahead of your competition.
Everyone can probably name dozens of brands. However, they are not defined solely by a distinctive logo. They also consist of a unique idea, communication strategy, values, and a philosophy focused on the target group's needs, i.e., specific consumers. Today, when the market in almost every industry is competitive, attracting customers to a given brand, product, or service is becoming increasingly complex, so brand positioning is of great importance in this context.
What is positioning?
Positioning starts with market segmentation, i.e., defining market niches, or in simple terms, groups into which potential and existing customers can be divided into segments. A segment may be a specific demographic group - women, the elderly, educated, better or worse off, etc., but it may also refer to a specific market segment, or refer to specific customer needs. A segment may be, for example, people looking for a new provider of a given service, expecting a certain prestige or the fulfilment of social objectives (fair trade, ecology, etc.).
The next stage of positioning is to define the targets (targeting), i.e., the segment or segments of the market to which the company wants to pay special attention. For example, a telecommunications brand might target young people looking for a new service provider and are prepared to give up personal service for lower prices. Or a car manufacturer might target middle-aged people with improving financial situations who want to upgrade to a more prestigious yet safe car. These segments become the company's target market.
The final stage is positioning itself, i.e., all actions aimed at strengthening, in the minds of (potential) customers, the brand's image and meeting the needs of specific segments. This is done both through actual actions, such as adjusting the price, quality, and parameters of the product to the selected components; and through adequate communication. The presentation of the brand’s features is to be displayed in a form that will reach the selected customer groups.
Ways of positioning your brand
There is a wide variety of ways to position your brand, company, or product. The most commonly used include:
Through weaknesses of the competition - it is based on highlighting the advantages of one's companyor product by comparing them with the weaknesses of the competing company from the same industry (including features attributed to the entire industry);
Through attributes - is based on recalling the unique characteristics of products, preferably those that are not available on the market equivalents;
Through the origin - is based on arousing positive correlations in the customer associated with the source of the product, which may be linked to existing customer beliefs (e.g. Italian pasta) or maybe an appeal to customer emotions (e.g. "good because Polish" or a regional product);
Through the price - this consists in suggesting that a given product is the cheapest, but not necessarily the most reasonable on the market, but also that it offers the best price in a given category (generally the quality, but also specificity) of products;
Through the category of the product - it is an effort to develop in customers specific associations with the position of the offered product in a given category, whether by defining the type itself (high-speed Internet, elegant furniture, sportswear), or defining the role against other products in a given class (the safest city car, the cheapest phone with a given technology, the only ecological product in a given category, etc.);
Through a group of customers - this form of positioning is based on dedicating products to a specific group of buyers defined by, such as gender (e.g. soap especially for women), age (e.g. an energy drink for teenagers, a razor for mature men), etc.
To sum up, there are a lot of aspects you need to take care of If you want to stand out from the competition. Brand positioning is a long-term activity. It requires a well-planned strategy, but definitely, it is an area worth taking care of, if you want your company to succeed.
References and Bibliography
Click, L. (2020). 10 Proven Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out From Competitors. Available from https://flybluekite.com/how-to-stand-out-from-competitors/
Fulmer, C. (2021). How to Position Your Brand Like the Pros (in 7 Steps). Available from https://www.goldenvineyardbranding.com/blog/brand-positioning-strategy/
Hooper, D. (2020). Positioning: 5 Ways to Stand Out From Your Competitors: How a brand provides value to customers in a unique way. Start it up. Available from https://medium.com/swlh/positioning-5-strategies-to-stand-out-from-your-competitors-bb3ba93e4a69