As marketers, regardless of the type of campaign, positioning a brand is one of the most important roles of our industry. It may have become second nature to many, but it’s good to get back to the basics and refresh on the discipline of brand positioning. In this blog, I’ll discuss and review brand positioning.
Positioning is the act of designing a company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the minds of the target market. After segmentation and targeting, positioning is essentially the most important step in marketing. The goal of positioning is to locate the brand in the minds of consumers to maximize the potential benefit to the audience. A good positioning helps guide marketing strategy by clarifying the brand’s essence and identifying the goals. It differentiates itself from the competition.
The positioning must be unique in order to communicate to the customers how they are going to be satisfied in comparison to the competition. To create a differentiated brand position, marketers must have a keen understanding of customer wants and needs paralleling company capabilities and competitive actions. A customer-focused value proposition gives customers a persuasive reason to buy your product.
Points of Disparity & Points of Parity
Marketers typically focus on brand benefits when choosing Points of Distribution (POD) and Points of Parity (POP). A POP is an attribute or benefit associations that are not unique to the brand but are shared with other brands. These include category POPs that are essential to a legitimate and credible offering within a certain product or service category and competitive POPs that are associations designed to overcome perceived weaknesses of the brand. For example, the minimum entry fee to become a new bottle of water brand is to take part in the bottle water industry.
A POD is an attribute or benefit that consumers strongly associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe they cannot find to the same extent with a competitive brand. These attributes or benefits should be sufficiently desirable, deliverable, and differentiating.
Often the key to positioning is not so much achieving a POP as achieving a POD. The brand does not literally need to be seen as equal to competitors, but consumers must feel it does well enough on that particular attribute or benefit. A light beer presumably would never taste as good as a full-strength beer, but it would need to taste close enough to be able to effectively compete.
A competitive advantage is a company’s ability to perform in one or more ways that competitors cannot or will not match. For a brand to be effectively positioned, customers must see any competitive advantage as a customer advantage, meaning that the product has an advantage over competitive products. In consideration of Points of Parity and Points of Disparity, marketers must find a unique way to draw in consumers. Positioning is the difference between a successful brand and a mediocre brand. As marketers, it’s important that we stay up to date and refreshed on the process of brand positioning.