If you are like most people, you are able to quickly and easily match the brand names below to the simple idea associated with them. In some cases, ideas come down to a single word.
Kleenex = Tissue
Crest = Fights Cavities
The object of branding is to create awareness by connecting your brand name to a single motivating idea or concept and make it stick in the mind of the consumer.
What is Positioning? A Simple Definition
Positioning is simply concentrating or focusing on an idea – or even a word – that defines (and thus, differentiates) the organization (or product, or service, or concept, etc.) in the mind of its prospects.
Today’s marketplace is no longer responsive to the kind of advertising that worked in the past. There are just too many products, too many companies, and too much marketing “noise.” In this over-communicated environment, advertising doesn’t work like it used to. The noise level in the communication jungle is too high.
Each day, thousands of messages (estimated between 3,500 and 5,000) compete for a share of the prospect’s mind. While no one doubts the advertisers ability to dish it out, there is some question about the consumer’s ability to take it all in.
Not positioning your company, product, or service around a new and different idea is a good way to make certain your brand goes unnoticed.
If blending in is not your goal, you need positioning.
To the extent that your brand’s “idea” is available (new and different and not taken by a competitor), desirable (wanted by the target customer), credible (true to you and true to your brand promise), it will have value. The more meaningful the point of difference, the higher the marketing value will be.
If you are interested in selling on the basis of value and not price, you have no choice but to be interested in positioning
Marketing is Warfare. Differentiation is the Secret Weapon.
In today’s competitive market:
- The battlefield is the marketplace.
- The objective is the prospect’s mind.
- The enemy is the competition.
For most marketers, the only way to grow is to take business away from the competition. Without a motivating difference, people tend to stick with what they know.
You have to differentiate and FOCUS on your position.
It’s about competition.
Unlike the product and image eras of yesteryear, today’s positioning campaigns, for the most part, don’t emphasize product features, customer benefits, or the company’s image. They’re about competition.
Think about rental car companies.
Essentially they all do the same thing and there is not much difference in the cars available. So instead of focusing on the product—size and type of vehicle offered —the focus has turned to positioning against the competition on the minute details-- ease of accessibility, checking out/ checking in, on the road assistance, etc..
For many years now, the undisputed leader has been Hertz. Avis has positioned themselves as the solid #2 agency by acknowledging Hertz but saying “We try harder.” National has staked their claim as the leading economical rental car company. These 3 have maintained these positions in the mind of consumers among a sea of competitors (Dollar, Alamo, Thrifty, etc.)
However, there was an upstart company that was making significant in-roads within car rentals named Enterprise Rent-A-Car. In 1995 Enterprise decided to position the competition differently by creating a new service within the industry when they introduced: “We’ll pick you up.” This new category of car rental services paid off and they saw a four-fold increase in revenue over the next 12 years. Flush with cash, in 2005 Enterprise acquired National and Alamo making them the world’s largest rental car agency.
Positioning is all about finding a strategic position that is based on your greatest competitive advantage.
Brian Baughman contributed most of the content for this article.
Marketing, Branding, Design, Positioning, Differentiation, Brand awareness, Communication, Competition, Brands, Brand