Brand positioning is perhaps the most important task in brand management. Ideally, it should drive everything else. Brand positioning is part art and part science. I like to inform the exercise by in-depth research including qualitative customer benefit exploration, brand equity measurement, brand benefit importance/delivery mapping and brand position testing. Having said that, intuition and creativity also are important skills that feed into this process every step of the way.
There are six basic approaches to brand positioning:
- Own one or a unique combination of two benefits that are highly compelling to the end consumer and unique to the brand within the traditional product/service category. The benefits could be emotional, experiential or self-expressive. (I no longer advocate focusing on functional brand benefits.)
- As a variation on this, own an emotional, experiential or self expressive benefit and a functional benefit that serves as the proof point for the emotional, experiential or self-expressive benefit.
- Own a highly compelling value that is shared with the end consumer.
- Focus on both (1) a differentiating benefit within the tightly defined product/service category and (2) the primary category benefit. (See Promoting Category Benefits for more information on this approach.)
- Choose to compete in a broader category than the traditional product category, providing for potentially more sales but also more competition. This usually results in a significant repositioning of the brand focusing on non-traditional brand benefits, but can include focusing on the narrower category benefits associated with the traditional product category as a point of difference in the larger product category.
- Create a "category of one" brand by creating a new highly compelling category for which your brand is the only choice. (See Creating "Category of One" Brands for more information on this approach.)
I wish you great success in optimizing the position of your brand.