I am very aware of the branding of products and services around me as well as my own Ridpath Creative business. Branding seems simple once you grasp it but requires discipline to do well. A brand position is the "space" determined by a product or service offering, both in awareness and physical presence in a marketplace. The premise that brands need to assert qualities and channels to markets is solid; in fact, businesses are negligent if they ignore the proven rules of positioning. Here are four general rules of brand positioning:
What you sell
The basis for any brand position is the functional reality of the product or service that you sell. It is the "there" that's there underneath it all, and the ability of your offering to accomplish real things that have tangible benefits for customers or users has a direct and immense effect on your brand position. Consider these qualities the foundation of your position and, as such, make sure that they're real, supportable, and reliable. After all the marketing wizard subsidies, your product or service needs to "do something" for which it ultimately will be known.
Why it's unique
The next aspect of a brand position is to identify and articulate how it is unique. Uniqueness can be an outcome of functional and qualitative or associated benefits, such as an emotional or social reward. But this attribute also needs to be real, and that means you have to be able to describe and explain it; this is why unique brand attributes often arise from proprietary or protected intellectual capital assets (i.e., they're legally unique). Uniqueness is what orients your brand's functional benefits to individual and social needs, and makes it readily identifiable.
When and how you prove its value
Brands have "presence" in marketplaces both geophysical and virtual, not to mention a presence in individual consumers' consciousness. This presence gets established by a variety of factors, including product or service packaging, price, availability, and service support. The brand's position is a cumulative outcome of these activities, as if to complete the sentence "The brand is the thing you get over there at a great price because it's this unique ..." This presence also evidences the engagement a brand has with its consumers, which gives marketers the chance to demonstrate brand value. There's no better litmus test of brand positioning than active and satisfied customers.
Today's brand success is tomorrow's fad if it isn't sustainable over time. A position needs to be defensible, too. The tools for these qualities of positioning are innovation and engagement: A product or service has to update and regularly improve so that it effectively reinvents its brand position, and it also uses this innovation to stay functionally (and thereby associatively) ahead of, or different from, the competition. Better brand positions have these efforts more thoughtfully planned and successfully executed.
A brand position is a living, real-time collection of the qualities of performance, distribution, and marketing of a product or service that differentiate it from its competition while making it relevant to its consumers over time. Though an old idea, it is still a useful model for determining how to approach marketplaces both virtual and physical. If you need help branding your product or service contact me today.