What is brand positioning really? While it is conducted as a strategic exercise that includes a variety of components such as target customer, brand essence, brand promise, brand archetype and brand personality, it is much more than the sum of its components. It is all about making your brand relevant and emotionally compelling to people. It is about establishing real value with your brand. And it is about creating a competitive advantage for your brand.
I have previously written blog posts on when to position or reposition a brand, but until now, I have not written about the the most important and the most difficult aspects of positioning or repositioning a brand.
First, the most important aspects of positioning a brand:
- The most important element of brand positioning is customer definition. You must understand who your brand is targeting and why.
- It is also a useful exercise to conduct customer segmentation, usually through segmentation research. There are many ways in which you can segment customers, however we often prefer to do it through attitudinal statements.
- In the absence of brand equity research (ours includes brand positioning maps), it is very difficult to position the brand to the greatest advantage.
- Qualitative research will also help you get deep into the mind of the customer. This should be conducted before the quantitative research.
- You must discover brand benefits that are both "unique" and "compelling," which is much easier said than done.
- You should focus on the experiential, emotional and self-expressive benefits. Save the functional benefits as "proof points" or "reasons to believe."
- The most successful brands have a strong set of values and stand for something. Related to this is developing a strong sense of brand purpose.
- Your brand needs to claim a position that is authentic for the brand. And it must be capable of delivering on its promise at each point of customer contact.
Some of the more difficult aspects of positioning a brand are:
- Differentiating the brand in a commodity category
- Developing a brand position that works across diverse product and service categories
- Building emotional appeal into the brand
- Creating a "category of one" brand by creating a new highly relevant and compelling product/service category
- Successfully translating the brand strategy to a supporting marketing campaign
- Aligning the entire organization to consistently and successfully deliver against the brand's promise
We have helped more than one hundred and fifty organizations successfully position or reposition their brands. I wish you great success in positioning or repositioning your brand.