Brand Positioning and Differentiation
You enter a mall and find yourself flanked by countless brands from all sides. The competition is palpable. Yet, there is one brand that effortlessly stands out in the crowd. It captures your attention and draws you in like a moth to a flame.
Have you ever wondered how some brands exist a cut above everyone else in such a cutthroat market competition? It is quite challenging to establish yourself as the most desirable brand when so many others try to do the same. Challenging but not impossible. What if we told you that specific market strategies could help your brand rise above its competitors and carve out a unique space in the customers’ hearts?
Let us delve into the realm of brand positioning and differentiation to understand how your brand can become the explosion of colour in your industry, leaving the competition behind!
Understanding Brand Positioning
First introduced by Jack Trout and Al Ries in the late 1960s, brand positioning soon became highly relevant in the business world. With brands existing ten to a dozen, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to connect with potential clients and stay unique.
Here, brand positioning and differentiation come in handy. These strategies package your brand so that it appeals to your target audience. Brand positioning, in particular, is how you place your brand in the marketplace and in the minds of your customers. For this, placing yourself in the consumer’s shoes and assessing your positioning accordingly is best.
Who you are, what you do, and how uniquely you can do it become the essence of your brand positioning. For instance, companies like Mercedes Benz and BMW exist as luxury vehicles, while Tesla influences perception by positioning itself as a clean energy alternative. On the other hand, brands like Kia and Suzuki push themselves as affordable cars for the middle-class population.
The market is saturated, and service overlap is inevitable. Differentiation helps in realising how you can make your brand more attractive when you and your competitors have the same target audience.
Begin by identifying what characteristics differentiate you from the competition. In other words, pin down the value proposition of your products. Ideally, it would help if you drew consumer attention toward the product’s value, uniqueness, and quality. It is never a good idea to undervalue your product. Instead, focus on how your brand gives a good deal as compared to your adversaries.
What connects Brand Positioning and Differentiation
Differentiation becomes an essential tool within the overarching strategy of brand positioning by foregrounding a product’s unique qualities. Their ultimate purpose is the same, i.e., they both create a marketing plan for a brand to ensure its place within the competitive market space by giving the consumers a reason to choose you.
Rules of Brand Positioning
Remember some golden rules while figuring out your brand’s positioning. They are:
- Synergy: When positioning your brand, ensure that customer desires and product personality intersect flawlessly.
- Clarity: Forge a brand positioning that allows swift comprehension and seamless communication
- Identity: Retain individuality in your brand’s positioning.
- Coherence: Craft a marketing mosaic where each piece echoes the same voice, forming a sensible masterpiece of brand communication.
- Dedication: Once a position is chosen, the management must see it through with commitment.
Strategies of Brand Positioning
What is the next step after you have differentiated your products or services?
When the consumer sifts through a sea of brands and lands their eyes on you, you have successfully provided your products with brand identification. For example, when NIKE differentiates its brand by saying that they “celebrate the high-performing athlete in you,” it has positioned its brand in a certain way. Some brands opt for qualities like timely delivery and excellence in manufacturing, while others choose emotional connection as a selling point. In all such cases, it is essential to note that the marketing tactics emphasize the brand’s positioning in the marketplace.
We will now look at a few major strategies that make up a holistic brand positioning:
1. Develop A Positioning Statement
A positioning statement is a concise sentence or phrase that captures the core elements of the differentiation and positioning strategies. It is created once these strategies are established and serves as a benchmark for evaluating marketing materials, ensuring they align with the established strategies. Nike’s positioning statement, “Just Do It.” perfectly captures and translates the essence of the brand’s differentiation and positioning strategies. That being said, positioning statements do not have to be rigid. Consistency is a good thing, but if the competition alters its strategies or changes completely, you may also need to consider changing your brand positioning.
2. A Three-way Partnership
The process of product differentiation, brand positioning, and creating positioning statements is a step-by-step process. After analyzing customer needs and preferences to establish the optimal way to differentiate your product, you should then define its position within the market. Subsequently, developing a positioning statement aligns with the determined positioning strategy.
3. Don't Compromise on Creativity
You need to keep thinking outside the box to maintain your place in the marketplace. Think of different ways to revamp the packaging of products and services to reach and engage a larger audience. Let us take the example of an acoustic guitar manufacturer catering to professional musicians. In this situation, one might want to open up a new market segment that also provides the same guitars to amateur artists. Ultimately, do not hesitate to commit to the authenticity of your products because that will positively impact the brand positioning’s success.
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