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Brand Positioning

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Each brand tries to stake a particular claim of superiority—the cleanest, freshest, purest,

healthiest, most natural, most environmentally sensitive, most socially conscious, most

fashionable —that resonates with a particular type of consumer. The consumer’s choice will

depend on how strongly she perceives that a particular brand offers the best solution to her


BRAND POSITIONING: the art of staking out a particular piece of mental real estate for a brand in the consumer’s mind by crafting and communicating a differentiated positioning statement. Brand positioning provides a strategic roadmap for creating powerful, resonant, and unique messages to help a company’s products and services stand out amid the cacophony of the marketplace → how consumers catalog, classify, and remember a brand.
A brand’s position represents its location vis-à-vis its competitors in the mental maps that consumers construct to represent the range of possible solutions to their problems. Strong brand positions are powerful because they help consumers categorize brands by their similarities and, at the same time, distinguish and differentiate between brands based on their differences.

Companies should not define themselves by the products they sell, but rather reorient themselves to their customers’ perspective by defining themselves through the value they produce in consumers’ lives—the “value proposition.” He realized that consumers attach value to a product or service in proportion to its perceived ability to solve their problems or meet their needs.

A company’s deep understanding of its customers is the key to creating a value proposition that allows consumers to perceive a product as a differentiated solution that meets their specific needs, rather than as a commodity.

Companies begin the brand positioning process by creating a positioning statement: a

strategic document that communicates the unique value the brand would offer to a particular

target market segment. Positioning statements distill the brand’s value proposition into a

compelling answer to the all-important question, “Why should I buy?”

Positioning statements are strategic in nature, developed for an internal managerial audience rather than an external consumer audience. They help guide the tactical execution of the brand and are often the starting point for developing the marketing messages that will be delivered to consumers. Positioning statements contain 4 components:
For whom, for when, for where? An explicit description of the target market segment that helps consumers easily discern which brands directly address their specific needs and which don’t. This component can outline a particular

type of person (e.g., mothers concerned about their children’s health), a particular usage situation (e.g., when you need to decorate your dinner table), and/or a particular usage location.

2. What value? A simple description of the unique value claim the brand offers, written from the consumer’s viewpoint. This will become the thing for which the brand is known. There are four types of value that customers can derive from a product or service: economic value, functional value, experiential value, and/or social value. Products that provide tangible monetary savings either at purchase or over their long-term use offer consumers economic value . When comparing many products (e.g., mobile phones or laptops), consumers often consider not only price but also different features, or the functional value  of the products. Many consumers, however, buy products for their experiential value —intangible psychological and emotional values associated with the brand. Finally, in many settings, consumers derive social value  from products or services.
3. Why and how? Evidence that provides consumers with reasons to believe the brand’s claims. Supporting evidence for the product’s value can come from logical arguments, scientific and technological data, consumer testimonials,

celebrity or expert endorsements, product demonstrations and experiments.
4.Relative to whom? An explicit description of the competitive set in which the brand classifies itself and the alternatives consumers may be considering.

This helps consumers establish a frame of reference for the purchase decision. This section of the positioning statement can either help consumers classify the brand as similar to other brands or product categories they are already familiar with, or differentiate and distinguish it as something completely different.
For example, When 7-Up wanted to differentiate itself from market leaders Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, it positioned itself as “the Uncola,” offering customers something different to quench their thirst.

Brand managers should craft positioning statements to focus on a single, most important

claim that distinguishes the product from the competition.

Brands often highlight their most important value claim through the use of a unique selling proposition (USP): is a type of value claim that offers a prospective customer a specific, unique, and superior reason to purchase a product.

By connecting brands with cultural values, lifestyles, and ideals, some positioning

statements promise consumers entry into desirable worlds. Brands like Vans, Cannondale,

and Patagonia positioned themselves as authentic parts of the skateboarder, mountain biker,

and mountain climber communities; brands like Tommy Hilfiger (clothing) and Sprite

(beverages) borrowed their appeal from urban culture; and Harley-Davidson (motorcycles)

and Diesel (jeans) accentuated their rebel and outlaw characteristics.

Ex: “Positioning Absolut” → Absolut’s simple design became the heart of the brand’s positioning

Choosing whether to use a rational or emotional positioning appeal requires insight into

three interacting factors: how the firm’s target customers choose and use the product; how

the firm’s competitors use rational versus emotional appeals; and how the firm’s own brands

and other assets can support the positioning statement.

The Three Cs model of brand positioning encourages managers to analyze three key

dimensions of their market situation—consumers, competition, and company—before

deciding on a single most important claim regarding their product or service.

1. Consumer Analysis→Let’s start by looking at the ways that managers can identify value claims that are relevant, resonant, and realistic to consumers.



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