What is Brand Positioning?

by Devra Gartenstein ; Updated March 05, 2018
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Brand positioning is a marketing strategy that carves out a special niche for your offerings in the minds of current and potential customers compared to competing brands. There are many ways to position a brand, from being the first in your field to the safest. But whichever way you position your brand, your success will depend on whether your positioning distinguishes your product in the minds of your customers and makes it more appealing than your competitors' products.

The Importance of Brand Positioning

It's important to be consistent with your brand positioning so that your company and your brand are one and the same and reinforce your image. Keep in mind that once your brand or product is positioned, it’s nearly impossible to reposition it without destroying your credibility.

The modern age is called the Information Age because of rapidly advancing technologies that constantly bombard us with information. Effective marketing cuts through the noise with a message that is clear and concise enough for its audience to absorb. Successful brand positioning makes your brand or product memorable and relevant. The brand positioning you choose associates a certain quality with your brand in people's minds in comparison to your competitors. A distinct brand personality generates an emotional connection to your brand and inspires brand loyalty.

Some Well Positioned Brands

Brands that are remarkably well-positioned can become synonymous with the type of product they sell. For example, for many people, "Kleenex" is interchangeable with the word "tissue" and "Crockpot" is regularly used as a generic term for "slow cooker.” In 1962, the car rental company Avis turned a weakness into a strength by touting the company's positioning as the second-most-popular car rental company. Within a year of introducing their famous "We try harder!" advertising campaign, company losses of $3.2 million turned around into a $1.2 million profit.

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Brand Positioning and Authenticity

To position your brand effectively, think about your customers’ experience with your product. What makes it useful, relevant, unique and memorable to them? What makes it better or different than your competitors? If you know your target market and have a solid marketing plan, build this data into your brand positioning and your message. For example, if you are marketing a bicycle helmet with innovative safety features, your marketing strategy will naturally emphasize that the design of your helmet prevents injuries. This safety feature alone gives you the potential for effective brand positioning. Once you have successfully positioned your brand in the marketplace, you can organically build upon your message.

About the Author

Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.

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