When it comes to marketing in the digital age, there are a lot of approaches and strategies. Companies use logos, social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, and more to reach potential customers.
All of these factors work together to form your business’s brand. Simply put, your brand is the thoughts and associations that customers have when they hear or see your company name. For this reason, having a strong brand is essential to building a loyal customer base.
One way for businesses to improve their brands is through brand positioning. Brand positioning is a type of marketing strategy that seeks to control the narrative about your company’s brand. The goal is to strategically position a particular understanding of your brand in your customers’ minds.
So how does brand positioning work? Here are seven tips to get you started.
Why Brand Positioning Matters
Before we get into specific brand positioning strategies, let’s take a closer look at what brand positioning is and why it matters
In the digital marketing age, consumers are savvier and more informed than ever before. Because of this, they can be skeptical of traditional advertising strategies.
For instance, between 70 and 80% of customers report ignoring ads on the sides of websites they visit, because they find them untrustworthy. In order to persuade and convert these kinds of consumers, it’s essential to gain their trust. Positioning a brand reputation that gives them positive associations with your company is one way to do that.
Identify Your Brand’s Value
One of the most important things to do when positioning your brand is to differentiate from competitors. This helps communicate to customers why they should choose your brand, and be loyal to it.
For example, consider the tagline used by Wendy’s: “Always fresh, never frozen.” The purpose of this brand message is to emphasize that Wendy’s makes their burgers differently and better than other fast food chains do. It always uses snappy phrasing that’s catchy and easy to remember.
Think about what it is your company does, and what makes it better than your target market’s other choices. Then, communicate this in a way that will stick in customer’s minds.
Tell Your Brand’s Story
Another great brand positioning strategy is to tell a story about who your brand is and how it came to be. A good story helps customers feel connected to your company, which can build a sense of loyalty.
Think of how the Heinz Ketchup bottle says “Est. 1869” right on the label. This is a simple way for Heinz to communicate the longevity of their brand to customers. This has helped to position their brand as the authority on ketchup in the United States.
Part of the purpose of brand positioning is consumer education. Your goal is to share a narrative about your brand that makes consumers believe what you want them to about your company.
For this reason, your branding campaign can be a good place to address barriers to entry that customers might have. Why might customers that you want to reach be resistant to your product?
A good example of a company that addressed barriers in their brand positioning is Sam Adams beer. With the renaissance in craft beer consumption, many established brands began losing customers. To address this problem, Sam Adams ran an ad that showed craft beer lovers doing a blind taste test, and preferring Boston Lager to other choices.
What misconceptions might potential customers have about your company? Use your branding campaign to tell a different story.
Tap into Existing Culture and Conversation
The most successful brands don’t have to be trend setters. Rather, brands that recognize existing trends and identify ways to speak to these trends can often be effective.
Brands that have done this successfully include Honey Maid and Coca Cola. Honey Maid released a popular commercial that featured interracial and LGBT families with the tagline “This is wholesome.” Coca Cola took a similar approach by releasing an ad that included part of the national anthem sung in Spanish.
Both of these companies recognized something important about folks in their target market. These individuals valued messages highlighting diversity. Creating these ads helped them position their brand as one that held similar values.
Do Strategic Market Research
Writing an effective company tagline or marketing campaign can be challenging. What sounds new and fresh to one person on your team may sound trite and cheesy to another.
Think of Pepsi’s recent PR disaster with their failed Kendall Jenner ad. The ad made an attempt to tap into the current culture and conversation, the way we discussed above. But the attempt flopped because it did not resonate with the brand’s target audience.
The best way to write strong brand positioning statements is to do market research with your target demographic. Testing out a few statements you’re considering will help you see how prospective customers perceive them.
Test Multiple Messages
To get the best results from market research, use a variety of messaging options. You should also include your company’s current brand statement, and maybe one from one of your competitors. This will help you get a complete profile of what customers will respond to.
Get Detailed Feedback
When you do brand positioning testing, it’s also important to put thought into the questions that you ask subjects to answer. Yes or no questions, or questions that ask consumers to rate a message on a scale of 1-10 are not very helpful. Instead, it’s better to ask questions that direct respondents to explain their reasoning.
Answers to these kinds of questions will give you more insight into why a particular message is effective or ineffective. This will help your marketing team understand which specific factors customers find appealing.
Building Your Brand
With these tips in mind, you’ll soon be on your way to positioning your brand effectively. This will help customers understand what makes your brand unique and desirable.
What brand positioning strategies do you use at your company? Let us know in the comments!