Best Practices

Brand Positioning Strategies for Business Owners

by Martha Pierson   Jul 27, 2021

Creating a brand is like making a cocktail by adding just the right amounts of company values, features, and uniqueness. Do it right, and your brand can be a powerful tool. Case and point, Coca-Cola or Band-Aid. Their brand names are so well-known that they have become generic terms used to describe their products.

How do you get there? One of the fundamentals of building an influential brand is having a solid brand positioning strategy.

What is Brand Positioning?

Branding.

Brand positioning is the process of establishing the identity of your brand in the minds of your customers. It’s about where your brand stands in your customers’ hearts and minds and how they differentiate it from your competitors.

Companies battle against each other to conquer the minds of customers. As explained in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, positioning is not about what you do to the product but what you do to the prospect’s mind. Brand positioning is the process of carefully tailoring a plan and communicating it with the customer.

There may be a lot of good things about your business. But to have a solid product positioning strategy, you have to pick the right attributes that truly make your product stand out. Then you have to come up with a smart way to present your product. It’s more than just impressive visuals and logos. Customers will value your brand if they understand how it can directly benefit them, and give them a clear answer to the question, “Why would you buy this company’s product?”

Why is Brand Positioning Important for Businesses?

As a business owner, you should always pay close attention to brand positioning. With the right brand positioning strategy, you can control your reputation in the eyes of your customers. In addition, brand positioning can hint about how to design each new marketing campaign to have optimal outreach and impact. As we already mentioned, you won’t win people’s hearts with only a catchy logo and colors. The quintessence of brand positioning extends to a list of other points listed below.

  • It helps to better differentiate your product. If you tell your customers that they definitely need your product right away, most of them won’t buy it. But if you cleverly demonstrate why they need your product, it will create a need in a significantly larger number of people. With the right message, your customers will know exactly how you are different from your competitors and why they should choose to buy from you.
  • It justifies pricing strategies. Companies tend to increase their pricing whenever their brand name gets more well-known. But if your brand positioning strategy is going strong, it will justify the product’s pricing policy in front of the customers. If the customers know your brand’s value, they will accept a higher price.
  • It makes it easier for customers to buy from you. Customers hate hesitation and undecidedness when shopping. Don’t forget that brand positioning aims to create an emotional connection with the customer. If the connection is established, the buyer will trust your brand and make a purchase without thinking twice.
  • It helps to break through the noise. The noise refers to the countless marketing ads that shell people every day. Instead of targeting the crowd that doesn’t care about your product, the right brand positioning strategy will reach its intended audience and stick with the ones that can be genuinely interested.
  • It directs your messaging and storytelling. Brand positioning is like the thesis statement of your essay. It should serve as a cornerstone of your content and marketing style. Without knowing the uniqueness of your brand, you won’t be able to communicate with your audience effectively.

Brand Positioning Strategies

Marketing.

When choosing the right brand positioning strategy for your business, the options are numerous. There are several things to consider when picking the right strategy, such as the product itself, the competition, and the industry. However, remember that the core of it must still be the same, clearly accentuating what differentiates your brand from the others.

Here are some of the most common brand positioning strategies out there, along with some brand positioning examples from famous companies.

1. Positioning Based on Uniqueness and Innovation

This is where you push innovation and originality to the front. This strategy aims to embed in the customer’s mind that your product is different from the competition. You want your customers to know that there are certain features that no one else offers in the industry.

If you position your brand based on uniqueness, you will attract a large number of customers who value innovation and novelty in the market. However, one of the drawbacks of this strategy is that customers may still be skeptical about a product with almost no history of use. So make sure to let the customer know about the research and testing that led to the product’s launch.

Example: Tesla

Tesla is an excellent example of positioning based on uniqueness and innovation. Before it came out, there was no other company that produced fully electric vehicles. Toyota and Chevy Volt were making hybrid models at that time, but Tesla took it to another level and went after the high-end market.

2. Price-Based Positioning

If your brand initially plans to sell at a lower price than other competitors, using that attribute to position your product would be the correct move. Customers that are looking for the most affordable option will have your brand in mind when shopping. And the prospects of this strategy are pretty promising, as there will definitely be many buyers trying to spend as little as possible.

In fact, price-based positioning doesn’t necessarily mean presenting your brand as only the cheapest option. For example, suppose there is a blank space in the price spectrum of the market. You can easily take advantage of it and position yourself as the only firm selling in that specific price range. However, it would be best if you kept this in mind before the product’s development to match its quality to the price you’re offering.

Example: Spotify vs. Apple Music

Spotify focuses on price, positioning itself as the more affordable option, while Apple Music on quality. The music catalog is very similar in both service providers, and the subscription plans don’t vary much in price either. But Spotify has a timeless free option with limited features, whereas Apple Music is paid after a three-month free trial.

3. Positioning Based on Product Quality

Product quality.

Sometimes quality and price go hand in hand. But when it comes to product positioning, you can indeed separate those two. With quality-based positioning, you can easily communicate to your customers that it is first and foremost the quality that differentiates your brand from everyone else.

Shoppers who are specifically looking for cheaper options will most probably bypass your brand. But this way, you’re targeting customers who value the quality primarily. The price is a secondary consideration in this case.

Example: Chipotle vs. Taco Bell

Chipotle’s brand positioning strategy is quality-based compared to its rival Taco Bell, which uses price-based positioning. Taco Bell is famous for its low-priced Mexican food. About 30 years after, Chipotle entered the same industry but spread the message about its quality instead, emphasizing its use of organic and GMO-free ingredients. One of their ads literally states that “We’re Not Afraid to Say We’re Real Chickens.”

4. Competition-Based Positioning

This one is similar to uniqueness-based positioning. The essence of this strategy lies in determining your brand’s position in the market with regard to your competitors. You may pinpoint the things that your competitors are not doing well (without naming names, of course, as it would be unethical) and show your customers that you are filling that gap with your product. You can stress that you’re working hard to satisfy your customers’ needs and give them a unique and upgraded shopping experience.

Example: Xoom

Xoom’s success in the remittance industry was mainly because it proclaimed that it offered services that other competitors didn’t. In addition, it gained a competitive advantage over Western Union due to introducing more options for sending and receiving money and successfully conveying this information to its customers.

5. Positioning Based on Use/Application

As a brand, you should satisfy the wants and needs of a customer. In general, all the companies in your industry are trying to solve one particular problem. But you can differentiate yourself by showing that you can go further and solve some additional problems. Your potential value will go up if you offer your customers the list of other possible applications of your particular product.

Example: Apple’s iPhone

When the first smartphones started gaining momentum, it wasn’t, for the most part, the calls and Internet access that interested people in buying them. Instead, it was the calculator, the alarm clock, GPS systems, voice memos, maps, and other features all in one device. Highlighting the myriad of uses and applications made a strong impression on millions of people.

To sum it all up, you can see what a critical component of brand positioning is in your business model. A strong brand positioning strategy is essential for grabbing your target audience’s attention and driving your business forward.

Martha Pierson, author at OpenLoans
Editor-in-Chief
Martha provides financial and business management analysis for retailers and service providers.