What is brand positioning?
Brand Positioning is a term that is often used in marketing, but what does it mean, and why is it important for your business?
Brand positioning is one of the most crucial elements in any marketing approach. It touches upon how your company is perceived by your audience, determining how effectively your messaging is conveyed to the right people. Unfortunately, it is also something that is very commonly overlooked by businesses, as it requires planned, strategic choices. With proper brand positioning, you can forge a unique identity that articulates the difference between you and your competitors to potential customers.
Why is brand positioning important?
People commonly misinterpret the purpose of brand positioning, undervaluing its role in marketing efforts. Contrary to what many think, brand positioning isn’t just passive knowledge – it’s about actively controlling your company’s image.
Remember, as your market grows, competition increases with it. To make your name stand out you need to drill down and target specific audience segments, reinforcing your image across every social media and advertising channel you have. A top-notch branding strategy informs how you approach this task, keeping your identity consistent in the eyes of the customer.
If all goes well, your products and services will naturally reflect the brand promise your customers have come to expect. As Kevin Keller outlines in his foundational marketing work, Strategic Brand Management, you will have a strong, established brand if you can combine a high level of brand awareness with positive brand associations. Effective brand positioning can help you hit both of these targets, from the start.
Creating a powerful brand position
Now that we’ve talked about how brand positioning can benefit your business, it’s time to discuss strategy. While there are no shortcuts to create a comprehensive brand position strategy, following the steps below will provide you with you a strong launching point:
1. Identify your brand’s current standing
To understand your position in the market, you need to know how your competitors are performing in their own niches. Investigate other brands to see what works and what doesn’t. Identify consumer expectations to find opportunities to provide that little bit extra.
2. Create a strong brand positioning statement
Now you have an idea of where you want to be, how do you articulate this to your audience? Like an external brand essence exercise, think of a short, simple statement that captures everything you offer to your customers.
3. Live up to your statement
This one almost goes without saying, but it is perhaps the most challenging part of the process. Successful brand positioning means consistently delivering on your promises across products, services, and communications. This is what creates positive brand experiences.
Improving on your brand position
Nailing a brand position strategy takes time – you’re unlikely to find the perfect fit first try. Don’t be afraid to test and revise your market approach, because it’s easier to be flexible now than later, once your brand identity has been set in stone. Some of the tweaks you can make along the way include:
Keep your channels open to customer feedback and consumer demands. The more market research you do, the better targeted your approach will be.
If your core service has shifted, you should re-examine whether your brand positioning still aligns to the right audiences.
You’re going to unearth different markets across different social media platforms. Refocus your messaging as you expand into new online channels.
Brand positioning and brand names
One of the most important building blocks of your brand identity is your brand name. After all, it’s one of the first things that people will learn about your company. You want to make sure your brand name is associated with the services you provide, that there is no disconnect between image and reality. If you’re under time pressure to find a name that does this for you, consider one of the approaches below:
Get each department involved to offer their take on who your company is to them. Whilst this kind of method is fast and low cost, it also tends to yield unreliable results.
Put out an open call to staff or customers for input into your brand name. It’s is a great way to foster engagement while getting results. But keep in mind that it’s best to limit what can be suggested to save yourself from any inadvertent brand damage.
The professionals are there for a reason. One of the most reliable, safest ways to find a suitable brand name for your business is to hire a brand naming agency to guide you through the process.
Brand positioning and visual identity
Visual identity is the symbolic part of your brand’s personality. It is the logo, fonts, design, and other visual elements that wordlessly convey your brand message. Part of strategic marketing is about ensuring that these elements evoke the right feelings and experiences.
As an example, consider the refreshed logo used by the Melbourne Capital City Council: A capital M with a dynamic aesthetic and modern fonts – all working together to complement the vibrant, progressive image for the city of Melbourne they want to achieve. It’s important to remember that consistency in branding means making your written and visual marketing work hand-in-hand.
Examples of strong brand positioning
Through the extreme events and sports that it sponsors, Red Bull has consistently positioned itself as a brand that stands for high-energy, high-octane activity. They support pushing the boundaries of human ability, and they gain wide media attention for it.
Disney is a company that values their internal branding, famously converting staff into the brand advocates that perpetuate their iconic image. Think of places like Disneyland, where employees live and breathe the company culture – to make dreams come true.
The anomaly that startups hope to follow, Tesla rules the market by prioritising image over service. With limited sales and scarce advertising budget, Tesla’s success hinges on the perceived quality of their products and capabilities.
The take-home message
While at first it may sound trivial, how your brand is positioned in the minds of your customers is hugely important to your success. It’s worth your time to develop a strategic brand positioning strategy. And, if you don’t have the internal resources, it’s worth consulting a firm to get you there.
If you’re looking for a local, Australian-based agency, then Spark Interact is ready to support you. We are an experienced digital marketing firm that specialise in scaling brands into the modern market – so get in touch when you’re ready!
Want to learn more?
If you have any questions about the future of digital marketing, Spark is one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Australia, and our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you with any enquiry.