When you develop a wound, do you go to the pharmacy to buy an adhesive bandage or a Band-Aid? When you see a golden arch, does it immediately remind you of McDonald’s? How about the winter? Does the season inspire you to eat a Campbell soup?
If you associate these situations with brands, then you’re not alone. All these are the product of a brand positioning strategy.
What Is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is a strategy that brands use to create an image in the consumers’ minds. This includes highlighting the critical points about what makes your brand unique and different from other brands and how it stacks up against them.
Brand positioning is different from unique selling proposition (USP). While brand positioning is how your brand stands out in customers’ minds, a USP is what makes your product unique compared to its competitors.
For example, Microsoft’s main USP is providing products for all kinds of users, regardless of age or profession. On the other hand, Apple’s main USP is its superior design.
It is also not a buyer persona. A buyer persona, like the name suggests, is a person with specific personality traits and aspirations that your brand tries to attract.
Types of Brand Positioning
Brand positioning comes in many types. Three of the most popular are functional, emotional, and rational.
1. Functional Brand Positioning
Functional brand positioning is the best approach if your product is a commodity or a simple tool to achieve a task. For example, if you’re selling batteries, you can focus on providing longer-lasting power rather than making it fun or quick to use.
2. Emotional Brand Positioning
If your product is a luxury or is used to express an emotional state, then it has more value in the eyes of potential customers. An Apple computer may be expensive and have lots of valuable features, but people buy it mainly because they want to show how successful they are in their careers.
3. Rational Brand Positioning
When you market something that people don’t necessarily need, you must highlight why they should buy it. For example, if you’re selling timeshares or insurance, your brand positioning is likely to be highly rational. You’ll highlight comparisons with competitors’ prices and the benefits of using your product over the others.
Tips to Find the Right Brand Positioning Strategy
One of the best steps to creating your brand positioning strategy is to work with an expert. Invest in a brand strategy agency to help you develop the right message and voice for your brand.
Both of you can then work together on the following:
1. Identifying Your Audience
Who is going to buy your product? What age group do they belong to, and what’s their desired lifestyle? Brands like L’Oreal or Dove tend to target women, in general. Still, other brands focus on specific demographic and gender segments (like vehicles for the young and sports utility vehicles for men).
2. Figuring Out What You’re Selling
What is your product or service? Is it an electronic device, a good, or a service? Be as specific as possible; otherwise, those who see your brand will not know what they need from it.
3. Identifying Your USP
What’s the one reason why people should choose your brand over all others? Why is your car better than others, or why should they buy insurance from you instead of another company?
4. Narrowing Down Your Target Market and Brand Positioning Strategy
Based on your audience and what your product or service is, you can think about three approaches to building your message: functional, emotional, and rational.
For example, if you have a luxury product, an emotional approach will likely work well for your brand positioning. If it’s a commodity, then a functional system will be more effective.
5. Creating Your Brand Positioning Strategy
Once you’ve narrowed down the options and thought about whom to target and what benefits or values to stress in your brand messaging, you can start to put together a strategy that includes a tagline, a logo design, a tone of voice, and a campaign. A brand strategy agency can help you develop your positioning statement and execute it to perfection.
6. Using the Brand Positioning Strategy in Your Marketing Campaigns
Once you have found your target market and focused on their needs for your product through research, you can start to advertise your brand positioning.
Use the logo you designed or one that your agency has approved, change some of the copy on your website, and create an effective tone of voice for your brand—making sure it highlights everything you need it to.
Your brand positioning is important because it gives people an idea of what your product does and why they need to buy it. If you don’t come up with a good narrative, customers won’t understand the benefits or how it can help them. A brand positioning agency works with you to find the best description for your brand, allowing you to concentrate on running a company and growing revenue.