Brand Positioning to win more market share
Positioning has become an unpleasant and overused description in recent years and it’s no wonder why. Brand positioning is largely misunderstood – often confused with corporate identity or are thought to represent what the company stands for.
Brand is about who your customers are when they use your brand. Its intention is for your company to be more meaningful to target audiences than your competition. A brand position developed to create preference is positioned against the competition so powerfully that prospective customers covet being a part of it.
In order to achieve this, you do have a brand identity, for sure. However, the strategy behind the identity must affect everything you do. In order to be successful, a brand must remain a reflection of who your target audiences are when they use you.
The brand strategy should drive all your marketing. Providing the drop in the lake from which all the ripples of advertising, websites, public relations and even speaking engagements appear.
It’s more than even that. It’s about how your employees act and live the brand. It is to be so embedded into their duties that they think about their day-to-day working life as brand ambassadors.
At Stealing Share, we often talk about Apple as being one of the best true brands in the world, for good reason. Think about how consistently and powerfully Apple stays on message. With its advertising, its look, its packaging, its service and even the way the late Steve Jobs dressed. There a consistency to its brand position of simplicity and “think different.”
Companies often mistakenly think that brand positioning is about themselves. Or, think it is defined by a “table stake,” what you need to even play in the game (or your category). If you are about service, service will not be a switching trigger even if customers need good service. It is the minimum you need to be in your business in the first place. The competition says the same thing. And, from the perspective of your target audience, a claim of “good service” is not a reason to choose. It’s like saying all bottled water quenches thirst.
Brand is about the customer. How else will they be able to see themselves in the brand and covet being a part of it if the brand doesn’t say something about them? It’s more powerful to say that your customers are innovators rather than saying you are.
Consider Harley-Davidson. It is not about the bike and its horsepower and features. Nor is it about the ability to ride fast or anything else about the product itself. The Harley-Davidson brand is about the people who ride them. Weekend rebels who yearn to be a bit of a rascal even if they are civilized at home.
The companies that misunderstand brand consider it a reflection of the company itself. They build brand on whatever you must have to even exist in the category (“table stakes”). They are doing themselves great harm by using that approach. In fact, using brand positioning in this way is what makes so many marketers afraid of it in the first place.
The clients who come to Stealing Share understand what brand really is and what it is intended to do. They look for it to move the needle through reflecting the most meaningful identification of customers and with an eye to positioning themselves against the competition. Our clients are true brand strategists.