Analyzing your brandBy Tom Dougherty
Analyzing brand position for more opportunity
We developed a model for analyzing brand position. Having a model is essential. At Stealing Share, unlike other branding companies, we build brands to be persuasive.
Call us right now, and we will show you how we do it.
Brand power comes from an active brand. Conceived in the first person and spoken from the perspective of the prospect.
Let others talk about brand equities. Focus instead on brand persuasion. The more rational the brand argument, the weaker it is. Brands must be passionate to inspire market share growth.
You cannot understand a brand’s position, let alone analyze the brand position without seeing the brand’s message without context—the context of your combative and competitive market.
The starting point in brand management is to be constantly analyzing brand position, never stopping, and always challenging what seemed genuine yesterday.
This critical analysis is how we begin every rebranding and branding project. Analyzing brand position is a never-ending process.
In looking for market opportunities, you must understand the positions claimed by the competitors in that category.
Remember that you are not judging the claim for truthfulness. You are simply notating the claim itself.
You may know too much. Try to see the entire market from the prospect’s vantage point. The prospect may lack experience with the brands. All they will know are the claims, not the reality.
You make a fatal error without seeing the market dispassionately. If you expect to find an opportunity, you must be challenging your assertions. Dispassionate analyses are the first step in analyzing brand position.
You need to define the market by what IS, not by what you hope it will be.
Often, competitors claim very similar values. This is because most marketers see the value in terms of the product and its benefits. Most competitors build their brand on rational claims. But, we know that it is the emotional connection that drives attachment.
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 high def.
As a result, most brands will occupy space directly adjacent to the competitive space. You must be clear-eyed when analyzing brand position.
Don’t fall victim to fooling yourself. Leave self-deception to your rivals
Analyzing Brand Position
Think about this as an exercise in brand positioning. Consider it 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 values, all else being equal.
The reason for this value difference is the space between the home and the neighbor. The same is true of brand positions—the more distance between your brand and the competitors, the better.
The prospect must value the space you occupy. The key to that value is the highest emotional intensity and not product benefits.
Questions to Ask Yourself when Analyzing Brand Position
We start the process of analyzing brand position 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 in a series of line graphs. It is essential 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 necessary.
If you cannot find an opposite claim, then it is a sales argument and not a marketing or brand argument. (If there is no opposite value, then the brand position is meaningless because it offers no genuine choice.)
A salesperson may be able to claim best because sales, as a function, are personal. But a brand argument must be universally fair. An authentic 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 place 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 delineated and represent the values held in the 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 (we created this modeling to identify the highest emotional intensity available for your brand) to determine 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 more precise in a 3D model of the market because you identify the prospect’s highest emotional intensity.
Modeling is a complex and challenging process. However, it begins to shed light on the opportunity in the category and provides the reason to rebrand as a reflection of that opportunity.
Creating the Brand
From this point on, when analyzing brand position, the design and symbols of that brand need consideration 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 the intensity is 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 occur in the target audience.