When consumers think of your brand, what image springs to mind? Do you know where you stand in the market? It’s important to take control of this narrative by creating a strong market position.
What does market positioning mean?
Market positioning defines what makes a brand unique. Closely related to brand awareness, it’s the image that comes to mind when a target customer thinks about a particular business. Essentially, you’re positioning the product in your potential client’s mind by influencing perception through marketing strategy.
You might immediately associate Chanel handbags with luxury, or Apple iPhones with innovative technology. Well-known products have been marketed to create these specific associations, making them examples of strong positioning in marketing.
Types of positioning strategies
What does market positioning look like in practice? There are a few different types of positioning strategies to choose from.
1. Product characteristics
You can associate your brand or product with its unique selling points or characteristics. What features make it stand out?
2. Product price
Link your product with its distinctive or competitive pricing. This works best if your brand offers low prices, but it could also be applied if you’re filling a gap in the market at a particular price point.
3. Product use
Associate your brand with a specific application or use. For example, if you’re selling a new plant-based product you could position it as a healthy alternative to meat to appeal to dieters. You could also highlight its animal-friendly qualities in order to appeal to vegans. These are two different positioning strategies for the same product.
4. Product quality
If your product is high quality, use this as your positioning. Consumers tend to link quality and luxury, so if you position the product as a luxury item, they will automatically believe it to be higher in quality than competitors.
5. Competitive positioning
Make your product stand apart by highlighting how it rises above the competition. Highlight key differences, or push the unique selling points while directly comparing the product to a popular competitor.
How to create a positioning strategy
By looking at the types of strategies above, you can see that there are many ways to craft your plan, from product positioning to competitive positioning. The most effective positioning strategy will depend on your target audience and brand strengths. Product development should always come first because you can’t position a product without having unique selling points behind it.
Here are a few steps to follow as you create your own positioning strategy:
Compare your business to competitors. Identify any opportunities or unique features that make your brand stand out from the crowd.
Analyse your current product positioning in the market. You can’t reposition your brand without first understanding where you stand.
Analyse competitor positioning. After looking at your own standing, be sure to identify where competitors stand in the same market. How have your competitors positioned themselves? Where does your brand fit in?
Use your analysis to develop a new positioning strategy. With research into your target audience and competitors, you should be able to gain a better sense of what makes your product unique and how this can be used. Distil this information into a highly targeted, concise image: your position.
A positioning statement gives a clear, written summary of what your position is. Typically no longer than a paragraph, a positioning statement should include the following elements:
Description of target market, along with their needs or goals
Description of how your product meets these needs or goals
Explanation of how the product is different from alternatives
Justification or evidence for why consumers should believe these claims
Finally, you’ll need to adequately promote your position with a combination of direct marketing channels and targeted promotions. This gets the message out, creating a memorable brand position.
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