A process for analyzing brand position
When looking at a category when you are developing a brand position and message to steal market share it is of vital importance that you develop models for assessing opportunity. The starting point is always analyzing brand position. This is how we begin every rebranding and branding project.
In looking for market opportunity you must understand the positions claimed by the competitors in that category. Most brand positioning mistakes are made because the brand themselves refuse to see the market dispassionately. If you expect to find opportunity you must be challenging to your own assertions.
You need to define the market by what IS not by what you hope it will be.
More often than not, competitors claim very similar values. This is because most marketers see the value in terms of the product and benefits. So if you are selling TV sets, you see the category in terms of price, screen size, built in applications, refresh rate, and 3D or 2D. As a result, most brands will occupy space, if not directly upon the space of the competition, directly adjacent to the competitive space.
Analyzing Brand Position
Think about this as an exercise in brand positioning. Think about it as if it were a real estate transaction. Generally speaking two like homes, one on an acre of land and one on a 50×50 lot will have different value, all else being equal. The reason for this value difference is because of space between the home and the neighbor. The same is true of brand positions. The more space between your brand and the competitors the better. Of course, the space you occupy must also be valued by the prospect.
Questions to Ask Yourself when Analyzing Brand Position
We start the process by looking at every competitor
- What do they claim?
- Who do they say they are for?
- Why do they claim to represent what they claim?
- How do they prove the claim?
- What do they say about themselves?
- How do they represent their claim (humor, directness etc.)?
We record these claims as a series of line graphs. It is important, when graphing a brand or marketing claim, to be sure that the opposite claim is still aspirational. Look for a descriptor that identifies an opposite value as important. If you cannot find an opposite claim then it is a sales argument and not a marketing or brand argument. A sales person may be able to claim best because sales, as a function, are personal. But a brand argument must be universally fair. A real brand argument is defensible on both sides of the equation.
We Build a Graph of the Market Space and Build a Working 2D Model
When analyzing brand position we construct a series of 2D graphs comparing the claims and placing the competitors in the quadrant that they most closely claim as their own. There will be many of these charts and choosing the correct one requires experience. The winner will be clearly delineated and represent the values held in highest intensity by those the brand needs to influence. Figuring this out is one of the reasons we always conduct projectable market research. We need to KNOW what the prospect values. Guesswork is for others.
When Analyzing Brand Position we add a 3D Axis to Make it Real
Then we work with our behavioral modeling to identify the highest emotional intensity that drives the prospect to switch or choose. This represents our emotional Brand Line. It dissects the 2D graph and creates a three dimensional representation of the market. Positioning the brand becomes clearer in a 3D representation of the market because the prospect’s highest emotional intensity is accounted for.
Creating the Brand
From this point on when analyzing brand position, the design and symbols of that brand perspective needs to be inculcated in everything the brand does or claims. It provides the basis for your brand charter and provides the marketing momentum to direct advertising and communication.
From this position the logo should represent that singular idea. Remember that the logo is about the brand not the company’s corporate identity. This is a transformational moment for brands out of the old school. This new brand is about persuasion and switching triggers and should also be reflected in your brand theme line. The theme line is a spoken form of the logo. It provides clarity, should refuse to be clever and represents the single most important thing you can say about the brand that causes a change to take place in the target audience.
by Tom Dougherty