Brand positioning is the art of getting your brand to live rent-free in consumers’ heads.
The aim of all brands is to be favourable, valuable and credible. If you can manage to lock-in all three, you’re in business! It’s why Heinz comes to mind when we think about beans, why we always reach for Colgate when we’re out of toothpaste, and why no one wants to be seen bringing a bottle of supermarket own-brand cola to the party. Establishing your brand/product as the comparative benchmark is marketing nirvana.
If only it were that simple (boo!). Depending on the nature of your industry and respective competition, brand positioning can be an entirely different beast with varying methods to tame it, but let’s break it down and get funky with it.
Not everyone wants to spend more than they have to, so providing your product or service at the lowest price-point will already organically garner custom.
Of course the elephant in the room is that a lower price usually comes with the perception of your product being of poorer quality. If you’ve got a solid defence for your low price-point, such as keeping production costs down and passing that saving on to your customer, then don’t sweat it. The rest is down to airtight marketing.
The antithesis to this however, is when you’re targeting the more premium customer. It may be a strategic move to out-price the competition, adding an air of exclusivity and perception of demand to this audience.
You’re not flying EasyJet for an air of luxury/luxury whilst you’re in the air, you’re just trying to get to Benidorm for less than the price of your TK Maxx suitcase. If you’re flying Emirates, however… Take me with you.
Promote how you can deliver, be it faster, better or more convenient than then rest. Whether that’s accessibility due to location, ease-of use, speed or it’s accessibility on multiple different platforms.
Convenience and delivery promise positioning can also justify a higher price point than your competitors. Busy customers want instant gratification, which is why Amazon Prime hike up their prices, but nothing feels better than having your parcel delivered before 1pm the next day. It just doesn’t.
The only snag with this is the cost to your business, as you’ll have to ensure you have the manpower to deliver on your promise. Keeping your business running like a well oiled machine is key to convenience for both you and your customers.
Quality & Reputation
This strategy uses an approach that emphasises a brand’s superior quality or its upstanding reputation in your industry as its unique selling proposition (USP) to set it apart from its competitors.
It is a strategy that focuses on highlighting the high-quality features, historical proof, or customer proof points (such as testimonials and reviews) on the product or service and communicating these qualities.
Think of the Ritz-Carlton. It screams luxury. You want to be in it, other hotels want to be it. They won’t be leaving tiny chocolates on your pillow at the Travelodge in Stoke-On-Trent, and you probably won’t go out of your way to host your wedding in their events room either, but you know the exact level of quality on offer from both hotels respectively due to their reputation.
Differentiation positioning is a marketing strategy that involves creating a clear, unique and distinct image of a brand in the minds of consumers by highlighting its unique features, benefits, or attributes.
This strategy is designed to set a brand apart from its competitors in a crowded marketplace.
A crackin’ example of this is Lush, who’s approach to the beauty industry focuses on their natural ingredients and their environmental impact. They differentiate themselves as the kinder way to bathe, ensuring that their messaging let’s everyone know that the bunnies are safe and sound, and you can pat yourself on the back on the way out.
Customer centric brand positioning is the art of highlighting the benefits and end results to your consumer, putting product and service features as the supporting message, under the needs and interests of your audience.
Good customer centric brands are born out of real insight and are supported by ongoing customer research, data and the constant push to improve the customer experience.
Shopify is a solid example of this. If you’re an online retailer, Shopify is a snazzy eCommerce platform that is designed to help users create their own businesses from the ground up, at speed, and affordably at that. Better yet, everything’s all in one place, including your CRM, so you can ensure everything’s running sweet as a nut. The way they position themselves however, doesn’t focus on their top-notch features, but how you, the consumer, can “bring your ideas to life”; highlighting the end-benefits of taking your business online.
Once you’ve picked a direction, it’s time to hone in on formulating a strong positioning statement, considering the big 4:
Overall, effective brand positioning can help a brand stand out in a crowded market and create a positive perception in the minds of consumers, leading to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and business success. All that’s left to do is party on!