About Irakli Beselidze
Marketing strategist, keynote speaker, anchorperson, marathoner.
Marketers like to stress the crucial importance of brand positioning for successful product promotion but none of them proved there’s the connection between brand positioning and buyer’s decision to immediately buy the product.
We’ve decided to clarify what positioning means and whether it’s really needed.
Here’s how Wikipedia describes “brand positioning”:
Brand positioning is identifying and attempting to occupy a market niche for a brand, product or service utilizing traditional marketing placement strategies (i.e. price, promotion, distribution, packaging, and competition). Positioning is also defined as the way by which the marketers attempt to create a distinct impression in the customer's mind.
A concept of brand positioning was first introduced by Jack Trout in 1969 and then was popularized by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their bestseller book “Positioning – The Battle for Your Mind.”
Having reviewed many confusing definitions of brand positioning, we’ve created our own one that will help to clearly understand what we’re talking about.
Positioning is a brand’s integration into a hierarchy indicating the brand’s position in it. This is achieved by brand association with objects, events or people that create emotional or rational benefits for target audience, and also by joint communication with other brands. In other words, co-branding (with an event, a person or another brand) is an integral part of brand positioning.
For more than 30 years positioning has been the main instrument for brands building. No one argues that marketers concentrate most of their time and efforts on it. Below you’ll find 5 main reasons why you need to stop doing this.
1. Super-mega-nano-positioning doesn’t necessarily mean sales growth as some of your prospects may feel not so prosperous for buying your product. It’s similar to the situation when you enter a pompous boutique with golden doors and a glossy floor, but the staff looks down their noses at you. You’ll be scared off by the look of this shop, won’t you? And many other prospects will have the same feelings.
2. While positioning your brand, you’re trying to integrate it in to the hierarchy of other brands instead of finding your place in prospects’ heads (oh, yeah, we know that here we contradict Trout and Ries who define positioning as a battle of your mind). For example, when you sponsor the Olympic Games, you’re trying to stress you’re as cool as Olympians, but singing praises to yourself, you create value just for yourself while your task is to think about your buyers and solve their problems.
3. Wasting money on brand positioning, you don’t create value for buyers but simply try to look better than you are. But the point it that buyers want to see things as they are: prospects who’ve decided to buy your product find some value in it, and this value has definitely nothing to do with, for example, co-branding with Apple.
4. The most expensive brands like Google, Facebook or Apple focus on creating value for their users and buyers but not on their brands positioning. All the rest position themselves as innovative companies that present iPads to winners of contests organized for growing corporate accounts in Facebook or Google+.
5. Brand positioning is developed based on strategists and top managers’ creative ideas that have nothing to do with the buying context of your product. It means those ideas are not close to prospects trying to resolve their pain points with the solution like yours.
Instead of wasting resources on brand positioning, you’d better create communications that provide your buyers with some value. Make your marketing an information service for your buyers, and such questions as positioning, co-branding and other inefficient ways of promoting your brand will fade away.
And what are your ideas on brand positioning? Do you find it useful for your business? Please, share your ideas with us.
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