Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett – three health stores, but three very different brands and let’s face it, you probably have a favourite. Through positioning themselves in different ways, they have been able to differentiate from one another and shape how consumers perceive them. They know their ideal target audience and brand themselves to attract them. All market similar products (to some extent) but in their own way. The result? They are able to compete with each other effectively and exist alongside one another despite having market crossovers. The benefits of having a clear position within the market has meant that it should be a priority for your business.
What is brand positioning?
Put simply, brand positioning refers to where a brand places themselves within the market and how they are perceived by their target audience. A brand’s positioning can be deemed as ‘successful’ when their values align with how customers perceive them. For instance, if a brand prides themselves on their quality but actually their consumers view them as being cheap, the brand positioning clearly differs and something needs to change – whether that’s the consumer perception or brand strategy. If you believe in charging a higher, justified price for a well-made product and customers are bought into that too, you’ve positioned yourself well.
Identifying your brand positioning
An easy way to start to devise your brand positioning is through assessing your purpose, proposition, and personality. To get to grips with these factors ask yourself: Why do you exist? How do people benefit from using you or your product or service? How do you communicate with clients or customers? The answers of these questions should enable you to gain a sense of who you are, and how you can stand out. This can be the starting point towards making your positioning a priority.
Once you know how you want to be perceived, and whether this fits with your ideal target market, it’s time to see whether this is how customers view you. One way you can get into the minds of consumers is through looking at what they are saying about you on social media and on review sites. Here, you may get a sense of what they like about you, or alternatively what they don’t like about you – some words may be repeated which can be used to gain a sense of perceptions. However, if you don’t have a large presence on these sites you could utilise things like Instagram polls, or email questionnaires and get consumers to pick things which they associate you with. If you pick this tactic be sure to include a range of options so that your results aren’t biased towards how you want to be perceived.
Do you need to rebrand?
Sometimes after the initial brainstorming about your brand positioning, you may feel a disparity between what your target market thinks of you and what you want to be known for. Consider how big this disparity is – is it due to individual marketing campaigns and could you launch some new ones to solve it? Or, do you need to make a stand and make a bigger change? In this case, you might consider a rebrand.
The idea of rebranding can seem overwhelming, however, a good place to start is through compiling a competitive analysis. Here, you should take a look at multiple competitors and assess what they are offering, how they present themselves, what their USP is, and how customers perceive them.
Once you have an idea as to what your competitors stand for and how they are viewed, hopefully, a few common themes start to emerge (perhaps they all place different amounts of emphasis on quality, price, aesthetic, sustainability, etc). With these themes, you can pick two (the most important to you and your ideal customers) and plot them in a positioning map. Here, you use these two characteristics on the x and y-axis (e.g. quality vs price) and plot where each of these brands sits on this ‘map’.
In a perfect world, there will be a clear gap on the map which is desirable enough for you to want to try and infiltrate. If not, perhaps one of your competitors is not viewed in a favourable light, and so, there is another point of entry.
From here, you can start to consider how to bring your new positioning to life through visual branding. Want support in rebranding? If you’re thinking you need clarity or a refresh and re-think in order to build your brand – take a look at my Brand Clarity workshop.
Remind me again, why is brand positioning so important?
Your brand positioning is related to customer and client perceptions. Whether you like it or not, they will always have an opinion about you and this will ultimately influence whether they part with their hard-earned cash in exchange for your products or services.
Why not be the one who dictates and directs this perception to help achieve your business objectives? Not only is brand positioning important to gain a sense of control over your image, but it has been found that brands who present themselves in a consistent manner have experienced a 33% increase in their revenue*. Through being consistent in how you present yourself, your brand becomes associated with a certain aspect or trait, and so, you have a larger chance of being selected when a consumer is looking in that particular area. Nobody wants to be a jack-of-all-traits, but a master of none.
*Information taken from: https://www.lucidpress.com/blog/25-branding-stats-facts