The ABC's of Branding: Positioning



The advantage of positioning is the power to distinguish your brand from your competitors. Positioning is the quality that gives our marketplaces diversity, with different products, attributes and offerings. This helps consumers differentiate one brand from the next, which helps companies build up brand power with their engaged customers. According to the Business Dictionary, positioning can be defined as:

"A marketing strategy that aims to make a brand occupy a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer."

Think of your position as your place in the mind of the general consumer, or of your targeted demographic. Do customers think well of your brand? Do customers have negative connotations attached to you brand? Or do your customers even think of you at all? Taking the time to position your brand gives your company the upper hand in shaping consumer perceptions, rather than leaving it up to external factors.

Steps in Positioning Your Brand

Determine your Current Position

First, you'll want to determine what words come to mind when customers think of your brand. What keywords are you associated with? Cheap? Comprehensive? You’ll have to decide if these words are good or bad when attached to your band. If the words are negative, consider the opposite word that you'd like to occupy instead. If the word is irrelevant or misplaced next to your brand, what words are more relevant/focused for your brand?

Determine your Direct Competitors (And their Position)

Who are your main competitors and what are they being positioned as? How do you compare to their brand positioning? What qualities and attributes do you wish to compete with them on? One of the best ways to determine your market position is through perceptual maps. A perceptual map is a four-quadrant chart which ranks competitors using two determinants. This is done by gathering information on your target market perceptions of your brand, usually through surveys, focus groups and questionnaires. Consider one or two things you'd like your brand to be known for, and ask consumers to rank your competitive market. This will give you the information you need to construct and plot your own perceptual map.

Determine Your Unique Offering

What is the main element you'd like to be associated with when positioning your brand? Consider what your target customers would value your brand for and highlight that aspect accordingly. If you are not known for what you'd like to be known for, use a perceptual map to understand how to shift consumer perceptions, or to identify market gaps where you could hold the best offering.

Create a Brand Positioning Statement

You may also know these to be taglines. A brand positioning statement is meant to capture the most important sentient of a brand, and craft it into a memorable phrase. Usually somewhat short, the tagline should relay your unique offering in the most effective way.

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Types of Positioning Strategies

Product Characteristics and Benefits

This is positioning based on what the product can do, or how it benefits the user.

Ex. “Red Bull gives you wings”.


Price-based positioning means highlighting your low prices against your competitors.

Ex.”Save Money. Live Better.” - Walmart


Quality-based positioning utilizes your superior quality, functionality or construction as your selling point.

Ex. "Melts in your mouth, not your hands" - M&M’s

Ease of Use/Application

This type of positioning highlights how easy your product is to use, which may also be related to the agility of use as well..

Ex. "It doesn’t take a genius”. - Samsung, 2012

Relative to Competitors

Competition-based positioning works especially well when you have a direct, obvious competitor. This may be a direct or indirect comparison of your product to your competitors.

Ex. “It’s the real thing.” -Coca-Cola

Discovering and understanding your place in the market can allow you to obtain a desirable position, while giving you the ammunition needed to reposition yourself. If you’re currently unaware of your market position, consider creating your own perceptual map, and drawing on these well known brand positioning statements for inspiration.


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