The Importance of Positioning for Your Brand

 What is positioning? 

Positioning starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company, an institution, or even a person. But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is about placing your product in the mind of your prospect. If you take into consideration that each day, thousands of advertising messages compete for your prospect's mind, positioning a new product is a challenging task and you should dedicate a lot of time to getting it right.

The importance of positioning for your brand a frog figure with a glass of wine sitting between an oil and a balsamico bottle


Al Ries and Jack Trout, in their book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, introduce the subject by saying: "Positioning is the first body of thought that comes to grips with the difficult problem of getting heard in our overcommunicated society."

 Be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a big pond 

In advertising, the first product to establish the position has a great advantage. It’s best to have the best product in your particular field. But it’s even better to be first. It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than to be a small fish in a big pond. Remember, you can always increase the size of the pond.

In positioning, smaller will always be better. Go for smaller targets that you can own exclusively. The temptation to target bigger markets is enormous, but you can't be all things to all people and still have a powerful position. Bigger markets where you already have a few established brands to compete with are very hard to take over.

The first brand into the brain, on average, gets twice the long-term market share of the No. 2 brand and twice again as much as the No. 3 brand. And the relationships are not easily changed.

 Pick a good name to help position your product 

The essence of positioning is making a brand name stand for the generic. Just think about how people use Xerox when they refer to making a photocopy. The name is the first point of contact between the message and the mind.

When a new product comes along it's almost always a mistake to connect it with a well-known name. Such names cannot occupy an independent position in your prospect's mind. What they do is blur the position occupied by the original name and this often has catastrophic results.

A name is like a rubber band. It will stretch up to a certain point. It might break, but even if it doesn't, it will surely become weaker.

Have a look at successful big players on the market. Most leaders cover competitive moves by introducing another brand. This is the classic “multibrand” strategy of Procter & Gamble. Each leading P&G brand has its own separate identity: Joy, Head & Shoulders, Bounty,  etc. A multi-brand strategy is really a single position strategy.

 The best approach is the oversimplified message 

The best approach to take in our overcommunicated society is the oversimplified message. In communication, as in architecture, less is more. You have to sharpen your message to cut into the mind. Since so little of your message is going to get through anyway, you ignore the sending side and concentrate on the receiving end. 

You concentrate on the perceptions of the prospect. Not the reality of the product. By turning the process around, by focusing on the prospect rather than the product, you simplify the selection process.

 Positioning your product is repositioning the competition 

To move a new idea into the mind, you first need to move an old one out. In essence, repositioning the competition requires comparative advertising, but it is not simply comparative advertising. Comparative ads evaluate products side-by-side. Repositioning ads try to take an attribute of the competitors' product and shift it into a weakness.  Then they show how their own product fills that gap. 

Most of a repositioning advertisement should be devoted to your competitor’s product, and not even the product as it exists in reality, but as it exists in the mind of consumers. Only once the ad has succeeded in framing their competitors’ products attributes as weaknesses do they introduce their own product.

One of the most famous repositioning campaigns was done by Tylenol. In this advertisement, Tylenol isn’t even mentioned until the third paragraph!

Tylenol Ad Re-positioning Aspirin

"We're no. 1" or "we're better than our competitors" is not repositioning. It's comparative advertising and it's not very effective.

 Don't stay still in the positioning game

Make sure that you keep your position targeted to today's markets and problems. things change fast and you need to keep a good pace, otherwise, your product will be left behind. But make sure that you don't change your basic positioning strategy. Adapting and improving it will do.



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