Brand positioning is the central element of the success, sustainability and permanence of a business in any field.
This factor is aligned with branding, which reinforces the corporate identity, increases the company’s visibility, improves the customers’ perception, makes the business increasingly viable and with a tendency for growth in the market.
It is of great importance in this highly competitive scenario, marked by the need for companies to become increasingly relevant and profitable, even with the constant change in the customers’ consumption desires.
In this article, we want to fully explore this concept, delving into its essence and key factors, among other strategic aspects that can be the great differential for your brand positioning in the market.
So, do you want to know the ABCs of brand positioning? Stay with us! Below, you’ll see:
- What is brand positioning, and what are its benefits?
- Brand positioning or brand awareness?
- What are the 6 key factors to develop a brand positioning strategy?
- Which companies are reference in a brand positioning strategy?
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What is brand positioning, and what are its benefits?
Modern marketing genius and guru. Tsar of innovative business processes. These are some well-known descriptions of Philip Kotler, who also gave us an exceptional concept for brand positioning.
According to Kotler, the defender and promoter of concepts such as the 4 Ps of Marketing, brand positioning consists of designing the commercial offer in order to occupy a precious place in the consumers’ minds. This demonstrates how this is an integral and comprehensive process.
It relates to visibility and connection with users, as it is only possible to promote brand positioning if the market segment and potential customers are properly understood and get the answers they want in their searches.
For every company, regardless of its size and niche, a successful strategy translates into benefits such as:
- continuous sales, since the commercial offer is always in the consumer’s mind;
- greater brand recognition and visibility;
- market authority, which builds audiences as well as customers;
- builds credibility and a better image in relation to direct competitors, which translates into differentials that maintain this leadership position in the market.
In a highly digitized context, this brand positioning must also keep pace with technology and innovation trends. The more we are in the Internet world, the better the business will be in general, since the virtual environment transcends geographical barriers that prevent the companies’ exponential growth.
Thus, in addition to highlighting a brand platform’s relevance in the physical world, the company must be recognized in the virtual context. This requires a review of strategic aspects related to neuromarketing, for example, which reinforce the company’s identity in its public’s imagination.
Brand positioning or brand awareness?
A product can be highly recognized, but have a null brand positioning. The same is true about brands. This brings us to the clear difference between brand positioning and brand awareness.
Positioning is a comprehensive concept. It is related to the level of sales, market share, the frequency of use of products or services, the positive evaluation from users and the strength and leadership in general.
Among these aspects, we also find brand awareness, that is, how much a brand is known by consumers and how much they know about it. Therefore, this is just one of the different aspects of brand positioning.
Now, you already know the difference! Don’t just invest in promoting your brand. Try to position it through integral methodologies and practices that make it possible to recognize your name, logo, colors, and any other aspect that integrates your company’s visual identity in points of contact with the public.
What are the 6 key factors to develop a brand positioning strategy?
A brand positioning strategy must be valued as an extraordinary project in every company, which requires planning, analysis and effort. First, you need to perform a study that allows you to detect your company’s current level of visibility and authority.
Then, set coherent, realistic and strategic progress goals. After defining this point, you need to take into account the different actions and key factors from the beginning to the end of your strategies.
You can see some of them below!
1. Discover consumer needs and preferences
To position yourself in your niche market, you need to know what your consumers desire and seek. Research, interviews and focus groups were the traditional strategies that provided access to this knowledge.
The truth, however, is that there are more sustainable alternatives, which bring results quickly and steadily. Although we should not neglect these common practices, it is convenient to focus mainly on practical, agile and powerful methods of obtaining information, such as interactive content.
This kind of content not only helps you improve the user experience, but also becomes important data sources, which allow you to optimize business processes.
This is because interactive content encourages the user to click on elements of interest to clarify doubts and to carry out different actions. All of that help you discover their behavior and preferences.
Thus, it is possible to have a concrete vision of what the buyer persona is like and what must be done to connect with potential customers. Among the content you can use are interactive videos and animated quizzes. If you want to learn more about how they work and their power to generate engagement, we invite you to read our free guide on interactive content.
2. Analyze the competition
Currently, it is preferable to direct this analysis to the digital level, as this is the battleground in which companies face each other for the best brand positioning. Perform a solid and rigorous audit of your competitors’ digital presence, identifying what they do and what the public’s perception is of these actions.
This will give you a clear picture of what is good and what is not entirely convenient to do in your industry. In addition, it will help to identify elements and actions that will allow you to stand out and fill gaps left in previous strategies and by your competitors.
As mentioned, a brand positioning campaign is a highly strategic project. Therefore, you need to promote it through tactics that provide competitive advantages over other players in your market.
3. Connect with values, perceptions and thoughts
To promote the brand positioning, it is necessary to adjust the value proposal to the current reality and also to consider what is to come.
The classic concept of quality or the best price is no longer enough to put a brand at the top of the market: you need to connect with the values, perceptions and thoughts of today’s consumers.
With that in mind, think about what stimulates and motivates your audience and, going from there, align your message and business processes with those impressions.
By doing that, you will be able to establish solid commercial relationships and even gain ambassadors for your brand, customers who defend and help in the promotion of your products, services or content in social media.
This process increases your company’s visibility and growth potential while also ensuring a more sustainable brand positioning for your business.
4. Connect with users on a human level
This point reinforces the previous aspect. Business processes today need to seek real, human connections so that the positioning is prolonged, not ephemeral. The paradigm of selling at all costs is a thing of the past.
Today, the goal is to strengthen relationships in order to always be in the minds of consumers and to remain an attractive, loved and friendly business alternative.
Therefore, it is time to promote strategies and actions to humanize brands, giving a face and a tangible and easily recognizable identity to the public.
For this, one can use storytelling, among other things. That is, the art of captivating through stories. They generate empathy in the public and show that a brand is not a corporate structure, but an organization made up of people who feel and think like any other.
Among those strategically told stories, which you can use to evoke feelings and foster connections, are the success stories and reports of the beginning of your business and its evolutionary processes.
It is also necessary to allow interactions with users to be more human and close, additionally less formal, corporate and monotonous.
A highly personalized customer service can humanize your brand without burdening your payroll by hiring a legacy service team. This can be done through the use of chatbots based on Artificial Intelligence, for example.
Another interesting way to approach your customers is to create a brand persona. It is a fictitious profile, but it shares all the characteristics and values of its brand platform, which can keep in touch with your audience on its social media profiles, blog and institutional website.
The brand persona focuses on what the brand wants to show as a value in its way of communicating. Those who know Tony the Tiger, from Kellogg’s, and follow the posts and interactions from Netflix and KFC, know exactly what we are talking about.
5. Add value
Since we are talking about stories, it is worth mentioning Content Marketing, a powerful alternative to add value to business processes. Through content that educates, captivates and informs, you will show users that they really matter.
That way, you can build a large community around your brand. Organically, this leads to a privileged position in its market segment.
Offering loyalty programs, allowing free trials of certain products or services and organizing events, such as webinars, are some of the ways to add value to your processes and ensure a better brand positioning in relation to all your stakeholders.
6. Reinforce differentiating qualities
A well-positioned brand differs from others because it is recognizable, authentic and has added value. Many of the things we have mentioned so far are fundamental to differentiate your brand, such as humanization, values and the study of competition, which help to identify gaps and fill them in order to stand out from the rest.
In addition, your company must have a unique tone of voice. It must allow the construction of an essence that connects with the user.
Finally, when designing strategies, content and actions, although you can be inspired by other experiences and even organizations, avoid imitating your competitors at all costs.
At most, replicate a correct strategy. When you faithfully reproduce a strategy, you run the risk of not differentiating yourself and, consequently, obtaining only insignificant results, similar to those of other companies in the same segment.
Authenticity is an essential requirement to increase the potential of your brand recognition. When your product, service or content is unique, people start looking for it at the added value, and not at the price charged or discount offered.
Selling for value, not price, is the best way to guarantee good results and sustainable growth for your brand.
Which companies are reference in brand positioning strategy?
What did the dominant brands in the market do to position themselves at the top? It’s time to analyze them! Below, we share the examples of some businesses that are champions in brand positioning and explain the main actions that led them to success.
If we were looking for a character like Tony Stark, in real life, Elon Musk would be a great candidate. The tycoon invested a fortune in innovation and modernization, and undoubtedly one of his most ambitious projects was Tesla, an excellent example of brand positioning.
It is clear that this car manufacturer is not just another one in the market. It is an innovative proposal, which analyzed where the world is going, with the aim of creating a market for itself.
Tesla was not born to compete directly with luxury manufacturers or commercial brands, with a focus on mass sales. The company’s mission was to innovate and connect with a needy segment of green consumers—and with money in their pockets.
Therefore, your lesson is very clear: the importance of connecting with modern values and perceptions to achieve a strong brand positioning.
Today, Tesla is a company with a recorded 40% increase in sales in the first three months of 2020. It achieved this result even in the midst of a historic global crisis caused by COVID-19, and which has managed to be at the top the public’s memory in an important segment.
Nike maintained a strong brand positioning thanks in part to investments that are only available to a billion-dollar company. The contracts and alliances with sports legends, such as Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo, are an example of this.
But it is also worth noting that, in recent times, Nike has remained in force and at the top of its segment when considering new forms of consumption. Thus, it also became a complete online store with interactive features that give it originality.
In the distant year of 2013, the brand included an interactive showcase on its website so that users could virtually “try on” clothes and shoes. Since then, it has been in constant modernization.
If there is one company that can threaten the all-powerful Uber in terms of urban and private transportation, it is Lyft. How did they do it?
The American brand put into practice several of the main positioning factors: competition analysis, differentiation and humanization, among others.
Lyft was born to offer the same service as Uber, but in a different way: presenting itself as a much friendlier and less luxurious platform that could be used by anyone, not just executives.
In the beginning, the company gave tips and focused on attracting drivers with social skills, who talked while traveling. Thus, it has become a much more accessible and humane alternative to the sophisticated Uber.
In fact, possibly, it was the cause of Uber to make policies and the dynamics of services more flexible, so as not to lose its privileged place.
According to Time:
“Whitney Wolfe Herd is unashamed to admit that being labeled a feminist never used to appeal to her. But after the tumultuous end to her tenure at Tinder—the dating-app company she co-founded, and then sued for sexual harassment—the term seemed less like a slur and more like an admission of who she truly was: a woman who refused to be silenced by men and who is driven to succeed on her own merits.”
Whitney was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2018 when she left Tinder. In 2014, she created Bumble, an app designed to empower women to take control when connecting with new people.
In addition to its initial focus on improving the female user experience, Bumble has expanded beyond the dating category, giving users the option of finding friendships and professional connections within the platform.
But the genius of the app is that, although men and women can indicate interest, only women can start a conversation. This considerably reduces inconvenient unsolicited images on the platform.
The brand positioning followed a correct direction, as it was directed to a specific niche with high demand. Thus, it became a differential for improving the conditions of use and compliance of other tools in the same segment.
Billie and Gillette
A traditionally masculine segment—razor blades—also needed to reformulate its brand positioning to readjust its products to the new times and desires of society.
Specific items for women have always been more expensive than gender neutral products or the equivalent to men.
But companies like Billie and Gillette had to increase their category of women’s products and stop marketing them in the background to meet market demands.
Apple is another classic example of a strong, well-positioned brand. In terms of technology, the company is responsible for the solutions and tools most desired by users, who really pay more for added value. This translates to very high quality, but also to status and power.
Like Tesla, Apple takes the price out of its brand and instead focuses on the value its products offer and the connection formed with its consumers. In addition, the tech giant highlights in its users the same qualities of the brand: if you have an Apple product, you also are innovative, imaginative and creative.
When it comes to brand positioning, Coca-Cola is one of the most successful examples. Number one in its segment, it is no wonder that the company has survived for more than 125 years in the market.
In several campaigns, such as “Open Happiness”, “The Coca-Cola Side of Life” and in the most emotional Christmas commercials, the brand has always supported itself in values such as friendship, joy and unity to position itself. The company has a clear objective of encouraging the sharing of moments and experiences among its customers.
All right! You already know what brand positioning consists of, how it differs from brand awareness, how it benefits companies and what the main factors to achieve this goal are. In addition, you have in your hands examples and experiences of brands that have reached the top to guide and inspire you.
Brand positioning is generally a project aligned with a company’s branding. For this reason, it must not be forgotten or left out, but reinforced with actions constantly directed to stimulate it.
Regardless of your market segment and your level of visibility, you need to continue driving strategies and adopting philosophies that connect you to users and define you as the first option in their minds. So when it comes to positioning, never take your foot off the gas!
To really position your brand in the market, you need to make sure that all the guidelines are being followed.