Although branding will not knock on your door with a smiling success and when your Brian knocks on your customer’s door, you don’t want them shutting it on his face. A sensible and efficient way of ensuring so would be Brand-Positioning.
Brand Positioning: a phenomenon, market movers like Apple and Jio owe their success to. It could certainly be, if not a woman, the phenomenon behind your success, and here is how.
When a bitten apple makes a mobile phone worth 1 lac, a name advocated by a famous yoga-guru makes noodles healthier and the orange color on a triangular flag lets Hinduism sleep in peace, Brian Ding is working his charm, my friend.
A brand may literally be defined as a name, a symbol, a set of words, some unique designs or a combination of these that separates one product from similar products available in the market. But, in the minds of your customers, a brand is the person that your company is. It is a part of their society, someone they can trust, talk about and above-all, somebody they can commit to.
People trust and connect with other people based on their core values and beliefs. What chemical in your body would you associate Redbull with? What about Old Spice? Redbull and adrenaline, Old Spice and testosterone, Mc Donald’s and saliva, Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde. One’s thoughts trigger the other’s. Brands like these have managed to position themselves in your heads so well that you don’t go to a stationery and ask for glue, you ask for Fevicol, and anything that sticks one piece of paper with another is fevicol to you. Well, to me as well!
Brand positioning gives you an insight on what customers look for in their brand’s personality and helps you give yours one. By letting you communicate your core values and beliefs, positioning helps you plant a perception seed in the potential customer’s mind that eventually grows to be his decision maker. Essentially, positioning is a medium of distinguishing your Brian from your competitors and communicating to your customers why they should commit to him, and only him.
People prefer personalities over achievements and Apple understood it at a young age. Along with and more than the features, people were looking for their Brian in products. Steve Jobs efficiently positioned a bitten apple and the letter “i” alongside convenience and creativity, so much so, customers spent blind loyalty on Apple and let it enjoy monopolistic advantages through decades. “People talk about technology, but Apple was a marketing company,” Sculley told the Guardian newspaper in 1997. Apple’s innovativeness complemented with its branding success made it one of the most successful tech giants ever.
However, in a realistic world, marketers cannot entirely control their customer’s perception of what their brand is, since perception is individualistic and cannot be applied to the masses. To them, anything with a “Made in China” label on it is supposed to be cheap and fragile. However the same label on an iphone doesn’t seem to bother anyone.
Brand positioning constitutes more of what customers think about why brands do what they do, and less of why they actually do it. So, devising a brand strategy that conveys a monotonous Brian for the customers to relate with and commit to, is essentially the key to effective brand positioning.
When you choose Mercedes over BMW or Kenley over Bisleri or PVR over Inox or Marlboro over Goldflake, there are certain traits associated with the manufacturer of the former that make you slightly more comfortable, than the manufacturer of the latter. Similar to why you’d have juice at Raman’s stall over Raghav’s, because he’s a bit more friendly. These traits are often a product of where these companies intended to position their brand. Brand positioning is an involuntary characteristic of engaging with customers. But, having control over its consequences is what gave Marlboro an edge over Goldflake and the same control will let you manipulate your customers into placing wants over needs, you over the others.
If coca-cola didn’t make sharing so much fun and if Bhai didn’t land a container full of Thumsup bottles in the middle of nowhere, on what basis would you choose one amongst the three soft drink clones. In today’s world with infinite identical alternatives for every product, distinguishing your product can be a troublesome task. Instead, giving it a unique identity and letting it speak for itself like ThumsUp and Coke did would make it easier for customers to choose one over the others. No individual is willing or has the time to compare all the available options on the basis of what they have to offer, they would rather commit to one Brian for the person he is, for the person they are.
Under-grad Rohan doesn’t mind spending all his pocket money at a party on the first weekend of every month, Teen Riana didn’t think twice before exchanging her 5 month savings for a Gucci jacket because of the 50% sale and 6th grader Rahul would rather buy 1 Trimax over 10 ballpoint pens. The thing is that all of us are willing to spend all that we have if only anyone convinces us that what he’s selling is worth it. So, brand positioning gives you an opportunity to justify the prices you are charging for your products. Be it for the average masses or the limited elite, it lets you convince your customers that their money couldn’t have been spent any better.
Listen, customers want to commit to a brand & stick to it rather than exploring all the alternatives every time they go shopping. Positioning your brand and associating your product with uniqueness, helps them do so. Android users tend to explore multiple brands whenever changing their phone, which is not the case with IOS users. Even though brands like Oneplus have managed to maintain a strong customer relationship and grasp mass loyalty, none yet match Apple. This position triggered loyalty allows you to focus on and cater to specific target markets, making it easier to expand your consumer base and attract diversified minds under one brand personality.
Equipping yourself with a brand personality puts every individual in your company on the same page regarding what you aspire to provide, making it easier for the company to arrive at unilateral decisions as a whole. Having an understanding of the core matter allows employees to explore the experimental boundaries and come up with innovative solutions for the constant abruptness integrated in supply-chain management.
Okay! Let’s get hypothetical for a while. I’ll take you on a long drive, where Brian (your brand) will be the driver, the car will be your product, the journey: brand positioning and the destination would be your customers’ minds. As competitors come into the picture, with their cars and their Brians, heading for the same destination, it turns into a race.
Now, we can’t plot the fastest route to the destination unless we know where we are right now, right?
Plot your route
1. Where are you?
So, the first step to efficient brand positioning is firm self-realization, i.e, understanding where your brand stands, what it stands for and who it stands for, at the moment. Knowing your brand and its current position will help you compare yourself with your competitors and their positions, and give you access to the points of differentiation, which will allow you to discover your uniqueness, a short cut to the destination.
2. Where is your competiton?
Self-realization is a difficult task and companies often miss out on minor details. However it’s easier to paint a picture from a distance. Studying your competition thoroughly will give you an insight on their strengths and weaknesses and help you align opportunities where they lack, shortcuts they would’ve missed.
Collectively, precise and correct knowledge of yours and your competitor’s positions forms the foundation of brand positioning.
When the tech tycoon, Elon Musk launched Tesla, the electric vehicle market was devoted to making the technology economically feasible and accessible to the masses. Musk saw a shortcut here that Tesla’s competitors had missed and nudged the limited elite by launching luxury electric vehicles and crashed its competitors.
Now that you have your route plotted and Brian ready, let the race begin. The most important deciding factor in a race is the car’s speed. In the world of brand positioning, your speed is determined by how well you evaluate the data in your hand, i.e, the better you are at discovering your uniqueness, the faster you are.
Stepping out of the hypothesis and into reality, what differs brand positioning from a race is that it doesn’t end at the finish line (destination). The real success of a positioning campaign is determined by how efficiently it is communicated to the customers.
A brand positioning statement is a direct and efficient way of communicating what you desire for the customer and what you’re willing to do for them. However, a positioning statement can only be stated once the core values of the positioning campaign have been figured out. Having answers to these four primary concerns ensure a well devised positioning statement:
- Whose minds do you want to occupy? Who are your target customers?
- Where do you want to stand? What context does your brand fall under, in the market?
- Why you? What are you promising that your competitors aren’t?
- What ensures that you will deliver your promises?
Make it Obvious
Finally, there are five tyres to your car that let Brian run on the tracks: five essential tools of your product that will let you communicate your brand to your customers:
Apart from lowered prices and enhanced quality, a humorous take on its promotional deliverables let Dollar Shave Club take over a huge share of the grooming industry from Gillete. Similarly, Old Spice is another brand that owes its success to its promotional positioning which attracted the attention of the female youth, in turn capturing the interests of their male counterparts.
Rather than catering to the economical masses, Rolls Royce limited its products to the premium elite with deep pockets and focused its marketing strategies towards making its buyers feel special. Unlike Hyundai or Volkswagen, Rolls Royce receives a third of its total business from repeated customers, further amplifying the importance of customer-brand bond.
Uber inaugurated e-cab services with a sharp, cold and luxurious all-black makeover that attracted aesthetic and harsh minds. However, Lyft entered the market a bit later with a friendly, fun and distinguishing aura and a “your friend with a car” campaign that motivated the passengers to call shotgun and converse with their drivers. This attracted the emotional minds so much so that Uber got discriminated for its ruthless and unfriendly personality.
Budweisier took over the beer market with its “king of beers” tagline and assured its customers that it stands by them through good and bad with the “stand by you” campaign. Differentiating itself from the existing players in terms of better brand-customer bond enabled Budweiser to trigger commitment in its consumers throughout the world.
It is essential to realize that no positioning campaign can solely be built on one particular tool, just as no car can run on one tyre. Efficient brand positioning is a balanced drive on all five tyres.
More often than not, companies wrongly evaluate their brand’s current positions and end up formulating erroneous positioning strategies and eventually find themselves racing towards doomsday. Avoid the following to not be one of them:
Under-positioning: Not providing your customers with enough data about your brand and what it stands for leaves them blank and unsure. Eventually, in their head your product is just one of the many alternatives.
Over-positioning: Positioning your brand at a specific spot to give your customers a supremely narrowed down perception of it, triggers points of distinction in their head between your product and their personality. And any distinction would just make them blacklist your product.
confused-positioning: Associating your product with more than one personalities will confuse the customers and will lose your customer base. It might attract customers with dissociative identity disorder but then they will be the only segment that you will ever cater to.
doubtful-positioning: If your brand claims to be something that doesn’t compliment your product’s price range, features or packaging, customers aren’t convinced and they start doubting your claims. This will harm the brand.
In a nutshell, position your brand in such a manner that it expresses enough but not excess information and reflects a monotonous and realistic personality, in accordance with your product characteristics.
Now that you know what brand positioning is, why you do it, how you do it and what you should do and what you shouldn’t, have you been doing it? If yes, how well has it been paying off?
If you have any doubts related to your Brian Ding or where he should be positioned, ping us at email@example.com.
Don’t worry, we make a living out of him.