Brand Positioning Strategy
Why do some brands come to a customer's mind first? Below, we'll explain what Brand Positioning is, how to use it to set yourself apart from competitors, how to customize our template to improve your branding tactics, and if you read until the end, you'll learn how Amazon used Brand Positioning to beat the market. It's important to be number one in a consumer's mind to grab a major market share and develop a sustainable business. For example, when you ask a consumer to name an energy drink, Red Bull would probably be said first. If you ask them to name a tissue paper brand, Kleenex will come to mind. And if you ask them to name an athletic shoe, Nike or Adidas would probably be said before anything else.
Companies that do brand positioning well have identified the customer's needs, desires, and pains, then crafted unique value propositions around those points. We've created a customizable template that has all the tools to help develop your own branding strategies, such as Brand alignment, Strategy canvas, Brand positioning model, and Brand health evaluation. Here's a breakdown of how these tools can be used to position your brand first in consumers' minds.
A brand positioning model defines your competitive advantages, audience needs, defendable strengths, and core brand values. (Slide 3)
Use brand perceptual maps to plot how your company's brand positions against competitors, especially when it comes to price and quality. (Slide 7)
After you have a solid grasp of your brand position, continue the brand management process to plan and implement new programs, measure performance, and sustain brand equity. (Slide 12-14)
Think of the strongest brands you know: from Apple to Tesla to Nike. Each one can charge a premium because their brand is synonymous with quality. With a strong brand image and credibility, higher prices could be justified.
With an unclear brand positioning, your potential customers won't know if they should buy from you over your competitors. On the other hand, successful positioning creates wider brand awareness, better communicates core values, and enables higher customer loyalty. Competitors may offer similar services at comparable prices, but they can't replicate your brand.
To begin, determine how your brand strategy aligns with your marketing and messaging strategies. In this visualization, your messaging strategy is at the bottom of the pyramid and your brand strategy is at the top. In the middle is your marketing strategy, which includes marketing channels and segments to target. All three strategies should be aligned, or married, around a clear brand vision. The left side shows each strategy's average time frame. For instance, messaging strategy usually aligns with annual goals, but it can be adjusted quarterly as priorities shift. Brand strategy, on the other hand, should remain consistent from year to year. *Stick to the end and we'll show you how Amazon used brand alignment to build a rock-solid brand.* (Slide 2)
A strategy canvas helps define your purpose as well as your brand attributes. Use the bottom three rows for internal communications, like your company's value proposition, your business priorities, and how those priorities affect stakeholders. Let's say you want to develop a fintech product, specifically a retail investment app. Your purpose is to create a source of wealth generation for retail investors. Your brand attributes are that you are innovative, tech-driven, empathetic, and leave an impact on your customers because of the wealth you help them achieve. You then position yourself as "a leader in financial technology" that provides "breakthrough and easy-to-use digital products" that "empower retail investors." (Slide 4)
Brand positioning canvas
You can break down the creation of your corporate brand position statement even further. The brand positioning canvas uses an easy-to-follow formula to craft a powerful brand message. In the top section, plug in your target audience and the problem that your company's solution aims to solve. Define how it is different from your competitors due to your competitive advantage and give customers a reason to believe in your mission. Below the top section is space to elaborate more on each of the above topics. You can start with the bottom section first, list out all your ideas, then refine each category to its essence to plug into the top section. Alternatively, begin at the top to provide deeper analysis for your team members' and external stakeholders' benefit. (Slide 16)
Brand positioning model
A brand positioning model can help to craft your organization's messaging. This model follows the Why, Who, How, What, and When/Where model. Begin with purpose, or the Why. In our example of a fintech product, your purpose is to generate wealth for retail investors. Next, define your values. This is the Who of your organization and who it's for. You want to empower retail investors because you see opportunity and value in widescale financial freedom. The process is the How behind your organization works and its functions. The What is then the specifics behind your product. In this case, your app and its commission-free trades, robo-advisors, and educational resources. Finally, the When and Where serves as the infrastructure of your organization and how it functions on a day-to-day basis.
When a company defines their brand positioning strategy, it's important to be mindful of the overlap between what consumers want, what the brand does best, and what competitors do. The winning zone is where the brand's unique value that separates it from the competition aligns with what customers want. This is where new brands should be positioned. (Slide 8)
Brand strategic objectives
When you create your brand position, you should strive to achieve three strategic objectives: 1) you want to achieve relevance with your audience, 2) you want to differentiate yourself from competition, and 3) you want to establish credibility as a trusted brand. This graph helps determine your company's motivational power to persuade customers over your competition across these three factors. The higher your company scores on both competitive differentiation and customer relevancy, the more successful you will be.
In this instance, let's say your fintech app is Company C. You managed to successfully communicate what sets your brand apart, and now it is much farther along on competitive differentiation. That means even though your organization is slightly less relevant to your target customers compared to your toughest competition (Company B), you could be in a stronger position to motivate customers to convert as you increase relevancy. For comparison, Company A is far behind on both factors and therefore has a much less secure brand position. (Slide 6)
Brand positioning process and strategy
To come up with your brand positioning, first, understand all stakeholder needs and desires. This is an internal analysis of what you, your team, and your investors want to achieve. Next, use opportunity modeling to clarify the nature of your market opportunity. From there, you can move forward and build your brand platform and brand identity. Finally, build the brand architecture around your organization. Conduct continuous evaluation and development to measure how effective your brand positioning is and if it needs to be re-positioned to reach more customers and better grow your business. (Slide 9)
When you set out to define your brand positioning strategy, be mindful of the overlap between what consumers want, what your brand does best, and what your competitor does best. The losing zone is where what the customers want is what your competitor does best. This is not an area that's worthwhile to compete in, because you will lose every time. The dumb zone is where what your competition does best and also what you do best. However, this competitive battle does not interest the consumer. The winning zone is where what your brand does best is what your customers want. This is where you want to position yourself.
However, as you get to the top of your industry, you can also enter the risky zone, which is where you reach a stalemate with your competition and every hard battle becomes a challenge to win. To win in this zone, you have to either be speedy or the first. You don't necessarily have to be better because you're already the best in your industry. Innovation and emotional connectivity could be some ways to help you stand out. (Slide 10)
The last step is to periodically evaluate your brand's health. This diagram divides brand health into three main categories: Awareness and usage, brand positioning, and brand delivery. These sections are then divided into smaller components that can be ranked and scored. Each sub-category can be different based on your situation, so feel free to edit these to fit your business model. All components are then totaled and averaged to receive an overall score on brand health. Put your overall score in the center and each individual component's scores on the side. A score of 80+ qualifies as good brand health, while a score between 70-79 is average, and descends from there.
Let's say you find your overall score in the average range. Analyze each component score to see where you lack and can improve upon. In the case of your app, your brand positioning has the lowest percentage of the three main categories. It appears that your brand is also not seen to be differentiated enough from other businesses in the market. This aspect could be adjusted through a revision of your brand position to focus on what makes you different from the competition. Unlike other retail investment apps, perhaps you prioritize personalized data ownership, community values, and in-app financial literacy resources. Now you know you need to communicate these aspects more strongly in your brand position and messaging to stand out more to consumers. (Slide 18)
Amazon's brand positioning strategy
For most startups, the best way to succeed is to identify a particular need and focus on a niche market. The smaller the segment, the easier it is for the company to meet the customer needs and dominate that market. That's exactly the approach Amazon took when it started in 1994. Jeff Bezos originally had an idea for an "everything store" on the internet, but he knew that it wasn't a practical vision, at least at the beginning. So to position his brand in consumers' minds, he decided to focus on a niche market instead. He landed on Books, which was a $10 billion industry at the time.
As Amazon sold books online, it found ways to establish its unique value in people's minds. This was an important step in creating a sustainable competitive advantage. Its official brand positioning strategy was extraordinary convenience, instant access, and comprehensive selection. As time went on, Bezos knew his company needed one more key value to differentiate itself from the competition: Low Prices.
Bezos is quoted as saying, "I didn't want to repeat the mistake of Steve Jobs — pricing the iPhone in a way that was so fantastically profitable that the smartphone market became a magnet for competition." With a focus on low prices, he believed he could outpace the competition and attract more customers. Instead of short-term, high-profit margins, he decided to play the long game and position his brand as a low-cost, high-value platform.
If you want to better position your brand to your customers like Amazon, then you need this presentation. Download the Brand Positioning Strategy template for more slides on Brand Success, Brand Perceptual Map, Brand Brand Positioning Statement, plus many more to save time and hours of work.