25th July 2012
According to Jack Trout and Al Ries in their bestseller from 1981 “Positioning: The Battle for your mind”, brand positioning is a battle for “the minds of your customers”.
”Positioning starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company an institution, or even a person. Perhaps yourself. But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect”.
In other words it’s not what you do to a product, it’s how you position that product in the mind of your customers.
Wow heady stuff, what does it all mean when your doing a branding exercise for a new or existing product and your trying to get it moving. The reality is that it’s not as heady as you might think.
Q: What is it that you need to capture or position in the mind of your customers?
A: It’s what the brand means to your clients.
Great positioning helps people understand your brand
The best positioning is always simple and clear and immediately resonates with a potential client about why your brand matters.
Great positioning helps people value your brand
Helping people to understand your brand is one thing and is definitely the first step but getting them to value your brand is definitely the next. The best brands stand for things people really care about or desire.
Great positioning helps people identify with the brand
Great, people understand and value my brand but is it a brand for them? Where do your customers fit in to your brand? They need to be able to see some of themselves in your brand.
Finally, great positioning helps people take ownership over the brand
It might seem odd to owners and founders of companies to lose control of the brand they have painstakingly developed, but the most modern brands really involve their customers and encourage a community of people within their brand to take more ownership and responsibility for the brand itself. Coca Cola, Nike, Chanel even Countdown in NZ have developed brand positioning that really makes their customers feel part of the brand. It’s very real and it does work.
In today’s digital world this message is more relevant than ever. Most businesses have a presence on Facebook with armies of fans liking their products. This is about people taking ownership of your brand. You have to establish your brand, control the vision and mission and establish the principles. Then you let it go. Let people talk about it, get to know your brand and actively encourage this.
Done properly this exercise is the first step toward effective marketing and advertising without spending a lot of money on television, radio and other traditional advertising channels.
I’m going to be talking about this for the next few blog entries so stay tuned.