Tag Archives: brand positioning

Brand Pooooo-ooositioning

Brand positioning statement is often confused with a company tagline or slogan. At some level that isn’t completely wrong but if one tries to understand the true meaning of both, in fact they are very different.

Positioning statements are for internal usage and understanding the broader concept for the internal audience, about what is expected from them. Business is driven basis these statements which includes the marketing and the operating aspects.

Whereas a tag line is developed for the consumers to portray the same positioning for an external audience, used in primarily the marketing efforts. Insights from your positioning statement can be turned into a tagline, but it is important to distinguish between the two.

Examples of Positioning & Tagline

Mercedes-Benz:

Positioning: fascination, perfection and responsibility

Tagline: Engineered like no other car in the world

BMW:

Positioning: Quality, technology, performance and exclusivity

Tagline: The ultimate driving machine

Brand positioning means owning a piece of real estate in the consumers mind. The key here is to make sure that one captures an empty slot and not trying to win over an occupied one. Hence the key is to be first else some other brand will occupy that space. It helps the brand get the preference over competition, it also ensures that Positioning needs to be based on an extremely strong insight else getting the mind space is impossible.

Mind space occupied by brands

Brand positioning refers to “target consumer’s” reason to buy your brand in preference to others. It is ensures that all brand activity has a common aim; is guided, directed and delivered by the brand’s benefits/reasons to buy; and it focuses at all points of contact with the consumer.



In the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Reis and Trout’s, positioning means the idea is to find and attempt to “own” a marketing niche for a brand, product, or service using various strategies including pricing, promotions, distribution, packaging, and competition. The idea is to create a unique impression in the customer’s mind so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand that is distinct from rest of the marketplace.

Every business is unique and offers its products and services with their personal touch and hence the positioning also needs to have the same differentiated touch else it will be easily adopted or copied. Each and every employee of the brand needs to have the positioning in their mind and make sure in their own way this is driven. For e.g. if positioning is to offer performance car than right from the build quality of the car to the dealership everything should shout out performance.

But this is easier said than done, many marketers themselves forget about the positioning of the company and in the quest of trying something new deviate from this. And if the creators deviate other don’t even bother following. Turning everything you do into an expression of your desired positioning and you can create something special. Only once the internal audience accept and follow the positioning will the external start believing in the same.

There are various ways to position a brand

Own a category benefit
Volvo: Safety
Miller Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling
Walt Disney Company: Magic

Consumer Centric
U.S. Army: Be all you can be
Budweiser: For all you do, this Bud’s for you
Pepsi Generation

Company Operation
Burger King: Have it your way
United Airlines: The friendly skies of United
WalMart: Always the lowest price

Competition based
Avis: We’re #2. We try harder
Seven-Up: The Un-cola
Apple: Think different

 

Selecting one of the above is completely dependent a combination of all the above factors like the category, consumer, brand & its competition. Whichever one gives a stronger differentiator then it should be picked and explored further to be articulated in a consumer friendly language.

Customer Experience – The Next Warzone

Quote on Customer expereience

Treat your consumers like royalty and they are yours for life

In today’s era where the brands are at the mercy of the consumer and products have become more and more like a commodity, it become imperative for brands to up the ante. Earlier the brands edge was purely based on product superiority and that era has ended as most brands have figured a way to match competition products. Today these brands want to offer more than products more experiences and touch points for the consumers to engage with the brands. And hence brands that strive for excellence customer experience triumph in today’s world.



Everyone wants to be treated like kings and queens and the ones that do get this treatment are the ones that solidify the brand pyramids for brands. Look at cult brands like Harley Davidson, Apple, Ikea, Zappos, etc. These brands don’t just offer products but offer an experience to their consumers which makes the die-hard fans of the brand.

harley, ikea, wwe, VW

According to the 2015 Forrester Research Customer Experience Index, improving the customer experience management is a strategic priority for 73% of businesses, yet only 1% of companies deliver an excellent customer experience.

marketers-the-dreaded-customer-experience-gap_54de4101492a0

Leaving apart a few brands (not considering local ones) most brands have understood the meaning of having a world-class products and they strive for product excellence. It enables them to confuse the consumer with stronger claims that are further amplified via marketing and more often or not that tilts the buyer preference towards their brands. This makes it extremely difficult for the consumers to decide as again they face a problem of brands being seen as a commodity.

The deal just gets better and better for marketers as first we need to first get a great insight and then make sure the insights is relevant and profitable enough to make into a good product. Then make sure the product is delivered as per the brief and better than competition. Post which the create excitement in the market via a robust communications strategy that is in-line with that the brand stands for. This used to work till sometime back but today most brands as mentioned deliver these things so how can one differentiate your product?

One of the key ways to differentiate the brand/product is the uniform experience across multiple touch points. Normally in a business the phase which is the decision-making cycle where the front-line team are interacting with the customer is considered to the most important  focus area. Here the businesses make sure that they create most satisfaction for the prospect to actually become a customer. These organizations fail to recognize that it’s not just about bagging a deal it’s about how this deal becomes beneficial to all in a larger context especially for service industries.

For e.g. an organization would receive hundreds of calls in a day and their priority would be to ensure all calls are handled with extreme care and understanding of the prospects need so when one does a Customer Satisfaction survey on that aspect the rating are normally high, but post experience rating for most organizations drop significantly due to the experience falling short of expectations.

This tells me that every organization that believes in retaining and excelling at customer experience needs to map the customers journey that will throw a tremendous amount of learning’s for the organization which will make sure that customers at every stage are provided with the best customer experience journeys with the brands. By doing so it help the organization in ensuring 2 things – better retention of customer lower acquisition costs and second they being our brand ambassadors and give of more business via more revenue per customer and referrals.

There are multiple ways of improving the Customer Experience or customer journey with brands, will list down my thoughts in my next blog.

WILL BE CONTINUED….

Co-branded Marketing, is it the in thing?

 The Unilever Yum Brands Tie-up 

kissan and pizza hut

Co-branding as a concept has been around for years, but recently we have witnessed considerable activities in this space. But still relatively this is an unused strategy, that helps  boost revenues and brand equity scores for their respective brands that tie-up.
This recent tie up of behemoths Unilever and Yum Brands via their respective brands Pizza Hut and Kissan is a live example of co-branding and executed well via multiple mediums like TVC, POS, etc in the market.
Co-branding is increasingly becoming important as a marketing strategy, as it allows brands to combine their strengths and loyal customer bases, while sharing advertising and promotional expenses to get a better ROMI. With this kind of strategy one brand gets exposed to the consumers of the other brand and increase their prospective consumer base instantly.  More importantly each brand gets a massive sampling via the other brand which if done via the traditional route would cost millions that mean more cost efficiencies.

nike_apple

Why Pizza Hut and Kissan decide to Co-Brand? To start off, both the brands are popular and one of the strongest brands in the food industry which makes them an even match. It’s a powerful way of introducing one company’s products and services to the loyalists of another.



Co-branding also help a brand to get some brand equity rub off from the other brand to oneself, in the current case both signify quality food and naturalness both the brand compliment each other very well. In some cases, companies co-brand to charge a premium, such as Ford’s (F) two-decade partnership with Eddie Bauer and its more recent creation of the “450 horsepower supercharged Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Super Crew” with an MRP of more than $42,000.

Harley and Ford

Co-branding is an often-overlooked strategy by which the whole can truly be greater than the sum of the parts. While it should be used sparingly and judiciously, it could generate a new level of interest and excitement around your products and services. In this case I truly believe it’s a good fit as in India Pizza is not complete without the tomato ketchup. It’s not just a matter of having the correct brand fit but sometimes it’s also about organization/brand beliefs and goals that may help unite 2 brands.

Your True Brand Ambassador – An Awesome Product

Millions of products in the market but not everything sells like hot cakes. There could be many reasons for the sales of these products to not happen
– Bad Marketing
– Bad Product
– Bad Distribution
– Bad Positioning
– Wrong Market
– Wrong TG
And the list can go on and on……
But there are certain brands where people await the launch of new products, stand in long ques or book the product well in advance to get their hands on the same. Companies or brands like Apple, Harley Davidson, Ikea, WV Beetle, etc are not just known for the latest offering but most people can remember what they started with and what is their current offering. Now think the same about say for e.g. a Samsung who is competing with Apple for the best smart phone, what was the first product they launched, some of us would know but a lot of consumers will not be aware of their first product.
One thing the emerges common among most cult brands is that they have a product which is just awesome. Everything that is put in the product has a purpose and more importantly that same purpose is something that the consumer also relates to and finds its beneficial. Their products are so well made that just a PR leak of they are coming up with a new variant is enough to generate tremendous buzz in the market.



So I guess for me the learning is that if you wanna create a brand / product line which yields revenue over a longer run invest in the product do not leave behind anything to ensure that its the best in class product. Yes there are pressures on budget and this may sound idealistic but ultimately in the market the brand / product pays the price for not being the best. All the other elements like the distribution, marketing mix, etc can be played around but once a product fails its really difficult to make it a success.Often hear from people that these bigger organizations have lots of money to waste on R&D; and MR but ultimately that same research helps to narrow down the likely list of successful products rather than launching products and failing in market.

Marketing V/S Branding

Tricky question for most, but the answer to this question of how marketing is different from branding and vice versa is that for most people both are one and the same.

But I think the answer lies in both the terms itself. Just remove the last 3 letters from both words (ing) and think for a minute what both words stand for …….

Am sure you would have guessed the answers by now….



In my view a market is full of brands (branded products) and unbranded products but a brand is a distinct individual identity in market. Marketing makes brands which means brands are derived from marketing. A lot of established and well to do companies have designations of brand managers and marketing managers but in reality there is negligible difference in both roles.

A role of a marketing manager is much richer as compared to brand manager but still people take pride in saying I am a brand manager as compared to a marketing manager..