Positioning of products and brands is the essence of branding. It is the position that you are taking in the minds of your customers.
Is your solution perceived as an exclusive or cheap alternative? Is your company seen as bureaucratic or service minded? Are you considered to be an outlaw or a hero? Any position can be right – as long as it is:
Relevant to your customers
Builds on real strengths
And is different from the position your competitors already occupy
Well, then it's time to start to build a strategy. Lacking a clear position means that customers do not really know what to make of you and your products.
As humans we like to categorize and put things in relation to each other. And if we cannot categorize something, it confuses us. And confusion is rarely optimal when you want to boost business.
The same goes with products and companies. If you don't have a clear position, your message might not get through to customers which in return certainly will effect you sales
Knowledge about yourself, customers and the market is essential when developing a positioning strategy - it's all about creating a strategic map that will guide you in all your business decisions to ensure that your communication and marketing efforts are constantly aiming in the right direction.
It's likely that you already have a lot of the information - not collected but scattered across different departments, key people and partners. It's just a matter of collecting and analysing it. Other information you might need to collect through interviews, surveys or workshops with partners or distributers. It might sound time consuming but focus is key in getting the "biggest bang for the buck".
In order to build a successful positioning strategy you need to know or identify
Strengths & weaknesses
Both yours and your competitors' weaknesses/strengths are essential to know in order to build great positioning and branding strategies. It will help you create a map of your market and see where you most effectively will fit in.
Who your direct and indirect competitors are
For some companies this is clear, but when entering new businesses it might be a challenge to define who the competitors are.
What positions your competitors are occupying
Knowing how your competitors are speaking to your customers and how they are preceived will make it more easy to know how to position yourself in relation to them - to leverage your own strengths
Who your target customers/partners are
Defining customers is key to create messages that are relevant.
What are the real motivational drivers behind their buying behaviour
Get under the skin of your different targets
Well, as everything takes place in the minds of your customers, you can of course influence what kind of message you are conveying externally. And make sure that it is consistent in all channels.
You will only be able to claim a position if it is relevant to your customers and partners. Anyone can choose to be and act as an exclusive brand but if your customer don't care about high-end products, you are unfortunately likely to fail.
The position you want to claim cannot be occupied by any other brand or product in your industry. It is very difficult, time-consuming and costly to challenge established positions occupied by other brands.
Knowing your market and to have a clear and relevant strategy are keys to success. You also need to stick to your plan. Positioning takes time.
It's always important to have a strategy for your brand or products. Of course :) But there are some situations when companies normally look to develop positioning strategies
1. Product development and launches
When developing and launching a new product or solution, B2B companies normally have invested a lot of money on development. To get the best impact on future marketing efforts, it's beneficial to establish a product positioning strategy that defines customers, message and positioning statement already prior to or during the development phase.
2. Company Re-Branding
Many B2B companies come to a point when it's time to refresh or to make the brand more commercialized or customer focused. At points like this it's important to develop a positioning strategy so that the new brand you want to build is relevant to your target group, and will stay sustainable over the coming years. It's expensive to re-brand - and more expensive if the work needs re-doing too soon.
3. Review of Product Category or Product Development
More and more companies are cultivating their product portfolios - making their product range smaller. This ensures that you focus on what you are good at, that products are not cannibalizing on each other and that the product range becomes less confusing to customers.
In other cases, the product range is growing at a fast pace. And in situations like that, you need to understand how to position your products in relation to your other products and in relation to competitors in order to optimize cost-efficency and to ensure that your product range is relevant and covering all the markets you want to reach.