Tag Archives: brand strategy

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


Positioning: fascination, perfection and responsibility

Tagline: Engineered like no other car in the world


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.

Maruti Suzuki’s premium segment strategy

Maruti is setting up a chain of retail outlets under the Nexa brand which will cater to only premium products. The first car to be launched through Nexa is the S-Cross and soon will be followed by Kizashi. The move is specifically done to cater to a premium audience who want a much richer buying experience which I suppose in the current outlets is difficult to achieve as the company has always been known for its small/economical cars.

Maruti, Suzuki, SCross, Maruti SCROSS, Suzuki SCross, Premium Maruti
Suzuki S-Cross

The company plans to take off the ‘Maruti’ brand from the new premium models it will be rolling out henceforth, which could also mean the end of Maruti brand in the coming years as already Suzuki has started taking charge of the company in the day to day working.

To start with they have  replaced the ‘M’ logo, which stands for Maruti, on the grill with the ‘S’, which stands for Suzuki. And with this setting up of 100 dealerships this year under the Nexa brand may the death knell for the brand Maruti and may be its dealers if they don’t choose to upgrade to Nexa.

And to offer this premium luxury experience the company is hiring aggressively from the service industries like hotel, tourism, aviation, etc to ensure the differentiated experience is delivered.

In light of the Japanese companies new mantra of aggressive growth the organization is taking up the easy route of expand the base, increase the segments and reap the benefits. Now does that really work for a brand like Maruti is really a question mark.

Maruti has struggled in the past to be as successful in premium cars segment with Ciaz & Kizashi. But rather than learning the lesson and staying away from this category they are introducing a new premium variant S-Cross to test the waters for the 3rd time now. Not a very wise move despite knowing that their brand stands for reliability, economical/value for money and good resale value they have again dared to enter into this segment.

As mentioned in my earlier blog about marketing & branding, the marketing team did a fab job in terms of launching the S-Cross at the IIFA awards where they would have got considerable traction as the hosts and guests mentioned S-Cross more than IIFA. But the issue lies in the branding where is this the right brand strategy to launch a premium car under the Maruti or now Suzuki that is known for its low maintenance and value of money attribute. Does the premium segment like other automobile companies need a different brand name altogether for the new lot of premium cars to survive.

Premium Maruti, Nexa, Suzuki Premium

Classic example of multiple brands to different segments in the market are General Motors with 4 brands or Toyota and Lexus or Fiat and Ferrari or Ford and Lincoln. And most of these brands have been successful with their brands as each brands caters specifically to a segment and more importantly to a specific need of that segment.

For now we shall just have to wait and watch the how the launch of the S-Cross unveils the entry of Suzuki in the premium segment.