Positioning a Brand: 6 Questions To Ask

Arek Dvornechcuck
Branding Expert

I'm a strategist and designer based in New York who help brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch

An adequate guide to help you position your brand to attract more customers and maintain a consistent long-term image in the market.

Brand positioning is one of the most crucial part of brand building as it helps you position yourself in the competitive arena.

It begins with defining exactly what your brand represents and why your target customers should choose you over your competitors.

The goal is to show your potential clients what makes your product or service better or different.

How to position your brand?

The main approach to positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what is already in your prospect’s mind.

If your competitors have similar products or services to what you have on the market, you need to differentiate yourself in order to make a profit.

A successful brand positioning ensures that your marketing message reaches your target customers and will make them choose your product over your competitors.

Positioning a Brand

Brand positioning involves identifying similarities and differences that enable a company's products to meet market standards and add value to consumers in key aspects such as quality, innovation, price, and functionality.

It is very important to own a position in the minds of your potential customers.

A position that considers not only the company's strengths and weaknesses but also the weaknesses of its competitors.

Regardless of the size of your business or the size of your marketing budget, these are six important questions to ask yourself when creating a brand positioning strategy.

6 Questions to Ask:

  1. What position do you own?
  2. What‘s your desirable position?
  3. Who you must differentiate from?
  4. Do you have enough budget?
  5. Can you be persistent?
  6. Do you fit this position?

Before asking yourself questions when positioning your brand, let's first briefly define what is brand positioning and why it's important to your business.

What is brand positioning?

Brand positioning creates an image of the company in the minds of consumers and emphasizes the main advantages of differentiating your product from similar products on the market.

It is also defined as an organized system where you can find a window into your prospect's mind.

It is based on the concept that communication can only happen at the right time and under the right circumstances.

What is brand positioning

A good strategy is essential to achieving brand positioning, which is an important goal for companies to explore their image in the market.

Value and identity-oriented positioning are very significant—this gives your prospect's a better understanding of the characteristics of each campaign.

It's logical to maintain that positioning, but it's undeniable how difficult it is.

It requires continuous efforts to always be in line with the concepts that the company is trying to build.

With this in mind and some practice and understanding, it is possible to build and maintain a consistent long-term position in the market.

To get your thoughts flowing and assist in this cognitive process—here are six questions you can ask yourself.

1. What position do you own?

Positioning is NOT about starting with yourself and your brand, but rather about starting with the mind of your prospect.

Ask yourself what position you already hold in the prospect's mind.

This is because changing the mind of your prospect is super difficult—you should work with what’s already there.

What position do you own

So when determining the state of mind of your prospects, you have to get into the consumer's mind and understand your message and your positioning from their point of view.

It's better to know exactly what you're facing now than to discover it later when there's nothing you can do about it.

For example, the problem with Seven-Up isn't the prospect's attitude towards lemon-lime drinks, but the overwhelming majority of minds filled with cola.

Most of today's products are similar to the Seven- Ups before the uncola campaign.

They have a weak or absent position in the minds of most potential customers.

What you have to do is find your way to consciousness by binding your product, service, or concept to something that already exists.

2. What’s your desirable position?

This is where you get your prediction and decide where it is best to own it in the long run.

A spot in your prospect’s mind that you can own in the long-run.

It's easy to make the same mistakes in your business—when you try to be everything to people, you can't do anything.

What's your desirable position

The biggest mistake a company makes is attempting to satisfy everyone's needs.

Of course, this is every man's trap, an example of which is the famous beer campaign called Rheingold.

The brewery wanted to anticipate the working class in New York—well, instead of attracting everyone, in the end, no one was attracted.

The reason was simple—prejudice was a fundamental human interest, and the fact that one ethnic group drank Rheingold certainly did not impress another.

Sometimes you can want too much. Narrow the focus of your expertise and establish a unique position.

Today's market belongs to those who can define and position themselves as professionals.

3. Who you must differentiate from?

Do not pick a competitor with a solid foundation to win the fight of reason—you can walk around, move down or up, but never face to face.

Don’t compete with the leader. Select a position that you can own.

Try to work smarter—hard work rarely succeeds.

Who you must differentiate from

Spend as much time thinking about the situation from your perspective rather than thinking from the point of view of your competitors.

Note what happens if the competition fails. Bristol Myers spent $ 35 million on the launch of Nuprin, and American Home Products spent $40 million on the launch of Advil.

However, neither campaign was able to reposition Tylenol, the predominant headache treatment on the market. As a result, each product gained a very small share of the market.

The first rule of positioning is to win the mind of your prospects, you cannot compete with a company that has a well-established position.

The goal is to avoid competing head-to-head with the #1 in your category but rather build your own ladder to become THE NO. 1.

4. Do you have enough budget?

Money is needed to establish a position in the market and build a share of mind to your prospects.

Establishing and holding a position costs money.

Once you have established your position in the market, you still need money to maintain it.

Do you have enough budget

Today's noise level is heavy. There are too many me-too products and too many me-too companies competing with prospects—it's getting harder and harder to get attention.

Companies like Procter & Gamble are very strong competitors. If they bet on a new product, they spend $50 million on the table, watch the competition and say "your bet".

If you don’t spend enough to urge on top of the noise level, you permit the Procter & Gambles of this world to take your idea off from you.

Also, another way to solve the noise level problem is to reduce the geographic extent of the problem—introduce new products and ideas in a market-oriented way, not domestically or internationally.

With a fixed amount, it's better to have too much in one city than too little in multiple cities.

If you succeed in one location, you can always expand the business elsewhere—if the location is correct.

5. Can you be persistent?

Decide on a key position and stick to it—it is important to see from afar to cope with change

It’s important to determine your position and stick to it overtime.

Some of your colleagues might want to do something new but to establish and maintain your position, you need patience and conviction—stick with your positioning strategy.

Can you be persistent

The trick is to take this basic strategy and improve it—find a new way to dramatize it.

The central theme of all selling points of your business is your positioning strategy.

Your positioning strategy won't stick unless it's done consistently and repeatedly over a long period of time, no matter how clever and compelling it is.

Having a seat in your prospect's mind is like owning valuable real estate. If you give up, you may find that you can no longer go back.

The more consistent you are with your positioning strategy, the more likely you are to maintain this in the mind of your target audience.

6. Do you fit this position?

When positioning a brand, your priority should be to establish where your product is in the market, how it differs from existing products, and why your customers should be interested in your product.

Evaluate products objectively and see how they are viewed by the market.

You need to know your customers, their problems, and your own products.

Do you fit this position

You always need to ask yourself: Does our advertisement match our position?

For example, do your clothes tell the world that you are a banker, lawyer, or artist?

Or do you wear original clothes that detract from your position?

When your brand is consistent and relevant to your customers, you build awareness, credibility, trust, and loyalty. And loyalty, as you already know, leads to sales.

Consistently telling how and why your brand is different from your competitors, your customers are reminded to choose you over other brands and why they should pay more for it.

Positioning strategies make it easy to convey the same message in all marketing communications—this is one of the keys to claiming a position in the market.

Conclusions

This content was inspired by the book “Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind" by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

The book will guide you on how to properly position your brand.

This book goes into detail as to what positioning is for businesses, the difficult reasons that a positioning strategy entails, common positioning mistakes, why they occur, and how to avoid them.

Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind

These concepts are truly timeless and help keep you from falling into today's marketing fad.

It can also help you understand how to properly position your product using modern marketing techniques by getting potential buyers to think about how they perceive your product.

Remember: know the importance of words, know how they affect people, have the courage and willingness to pour it out when others stand back, be completely honest with yourself, keep your ideas simple, gain a unique position and be patient.

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