Some of the most influential brands in the world have secured their place in the memories of their target market, creating a loyal customer base through the associations made with their brand’s identity and persona. A brand with strong imagery and personality can instantly be differentiated from its competitors in the consumer’s mind; the overall aim of the brand positioning strategy.

Brand Positioning Basics

In order to improve the brand positioning strategy, it’s important to get back to basics.

It is important to remember that although the marketer can work to shape the perception of the brand, it is ultimately the customer who has the final say. The brand’s identity needs to be created with the customer in mind if it is to be whole-heartedly believed in and trusted by them.

When considering what the brand’s position in the marketplace will be, the first place you should turn is to the customer, followed by the competition and then the industry as a whole.

The beliefs, values and expectations of the customer and the industry as a whole should play a large role in the brand’s identity and how it is positioned. The competitor’s positioning may also influence where the brand chooses to position itself; for example if one area of the market is saturated with competition it may lead to a decision to change or extend the brand’s position to fill a gap in the market.

Considerations When Positioning A Brand

There are several considerations to be made when deciding on a new brand position, including but not limited to the following:

  • What do you want to be recognised for among your target customers? – Your branding should all be focused towards being recognised for a specific concept or even a trigger word/phrase.
  • What is your unique selling point? – What sets you apart from your competitors can be used to create a stronger brand position.
  • Is your brand position unified with the business’ overall vision? – Everything needs to be working towards the same overall goals. Any confusion will weaken your brand’s image.
  • Have you set reachable branding goals? – It’s good to be ambitious, but you have to take it one step at a time. A small cafe chain can’t take on McDonalds in one or two moves!
  • Does your branding budget allow you to reach the goals you have set? – Securing your brand’s position in an established market can be costly in both time and money. Do you have the budget to sustain it?
  • Does your strategy consider the long term? – The use of short-term tactics and interim goals to reach a long-term overall brand positioning goal is the best approach. Brand positioning doesn’t happen overnight, and once you have it you have to work to keep it.

Fine Tuning Your Brand’s Focus

A focused brand is a powerful brand. The more focused your brand’s positioning is, the easier it is to create an association in the minds of the target customers.

Here are some tips for fine tuning your brand’s positioning focus:

  • The position your brand assumes should differentiate you from all competitors across the marketplace, not just those who share your position.
  • Your brand’s position should match up to customer expectations, and influence their perceptions of the brand.
  • Choose a position for your brand that is relate-able and believable.
  • Ensure the brand’s position is echoed throughout all areas of the company to prevent confusion and weakening of the brand’s image.
  • Keep it simple; the easier it is to understand the more perceptive customers will be to the brand’s position.
  • Ensure your brand’s position is strong and stable; competitors are likely to launch counter attacks and you need to be able to stand up to them.
  • The image, personality and mission statement of your brand needs to be reflected in the position.
  • Your brand’s position should be unique, difficult to replicate and easily adaptable to market changes and the evolution of the company.

Having a strong and clear identity for your brand and ensuring that you chose the right position for long term success is key to the success of any brand, no matter what the market or sector.

If you would like to learn more about branding strategy and other key areas of marketing for business success, contact Oxford College of Marketing on (0)1865 515 255 or email to discuss the various training options available for marketing professionals of all levels.