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Brand Positioning 101 – What Positioning Does

Brand positioning

A brand’s positioning serves as a road map for all strategic and communication decisions.  Positioning is the destination for your brand.  Think back to the last vacation you took, how did you know what to pack?  You generally wouldn’t pack shorts and a bathing suit if you were traveling to Alaska, but without knowing the destination ahead of time you would simply have to guess what to pack.  Likewise, it would be nearly impossible to choose the correct strategic steps without knowing what the brand destination will be.

How Does Brand Positioning Work?

In setting the destination, a brand’s position serves as a reference point when making decisions.  If the strategies and tactics do not end up back to the positioning or move the brand closer to establishing the positioning, then what is the point of doing it at all?  The positioning works outside the walls of the brand team and guides the decisions of external partners, such as ad agencies. Providing a singular, focused direction to your contracted agency will target their efforts enabling them to spend the time and explore unique ways to create promotion that is relevant to the brand’s core target group.

In addition to serving as the internal compass for the brand, positioning forges an emotional link with customers by addressing their situation, frustrations, and other emotions to aid in creating a distinct mind space that will differentiate the brand.  Ultimately, a solid positioning can manipulate the way an individual perceives a brand.

Take Cialis® for example, though it was the third erectile dysfunction treatment brought to the market, the brand was able to capitalize on understanding the intricacies of its market.  Rather than competing for the third slice of the pie, Cialis positioned itself as the solution to a couple’s problem as opposed to just the man’s.  This strategic decision created a new mind space that Cialis now owns with its target customers.

As simple as it may seem, the short statement of desired perception that we call positioning is the one that is often overlooked and can be the difference between an average brand and a great brand.  It can emphasize differentiation, drive communication, and encourage use over competitors.

About The Author

As a lead stratetic developer for a top New York City agency, Sumit Agrawal leads client project teams in finding innovative solutions to positioning and branding challenges.  With consumer and healthcare marketing experience, he’s had the opportunity to work with countless brands, including: AstraZeneca, Dow Chemicals, Medtronic, Avocados From Mexico, Jose Cuervo, Eli Lilly, Novartis, and more.  For private consulting opportunities and additional information contact Sumit via LinkedIn.