Brand Positioning

Product or brand positioning is an important strategy for achieving differential advantage. Positioning reflects the "place" a brand occupies in a market or segment. A successful brand position has characteristics that are both differentiating and important to consumers.

Every brand has some sort of position — whether intended or not. Positions are based upon consumer perceptions, which may or may not reflect reality. A brand position is effectively built by communicating a consistent message to consumers about the product and where it fits into the market — through advertising, brand name, and packaging.

Positioning is inextricably linked with market segmentation. You can’t define a good position until you have divided the market into unique segments and selected your target segments. Three key research issues must be addressed:

What is your current position?

  • What does the "space" look like — what are the most important dimensions in the category?
  • What are the other products in that space and where are they?
  • What are the gaps, unfilled positions or "holes" in the category?
  • Which dimensions are most important?
  • How do these attitudes differ by market segment?

What position do you want to have?

  • Finding an unmet consumer need — or at least one that’s not being adequately met now by competition
  • Identifying a product strength that is both unique and important
  • Determining how to correct a product weakness and thereby enhance a product’s appeal. (e.g., legitimate "new & improved")
  • Changing consumer usage patterns to include different or additional uses for the product
  • Identifying market segments, which represent the best targets for a product

How do you create a new positioning?

  • Creating a new positioning can come from two sources:
  • - Physical product difference
    - Communications — finding a memorable and meaningful way to describe the product (e.g., calling 7-Up the "Uncola"). As Ries and Trout point out, "Positioning is not
      what you do to a product; positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect."

SMART utilizes an array of advanced statistical techniques for positioning analysis, including: analysis of variance,
factor analysis, regression analysis, discriminant analysis, multidimensional scaling and perceptual mapping.

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