Brand Positioning Strategy
Your brand positioning strategy needs to articulate what you’re offering and who you’re offering it to.
Picture this… You’re starting a new restaurant
business – Cool Dude Food.
You release a series of advertisements, showing insistent children tugging at their parents’ shirts, begging them to take them to Cool Dude Food.
You develop a logo consisting of a friendly cartoon tiger with a big grin.
Opening day arrives, and you eagerly watch as your first customers begin to walk through the door. Parents look around, confused at the luxurious interior. Glass tables are littered artistically throughout the restaurant, and the menu consists of unpronounceable delicacies from France and Italy.
A week down the line, you have virtually no customers.
Okay, this might be a silly example. Anybody with common sense can see that the branding efforts didn’t align with the restaurant. But while this situation is extreme, it still teaches us a valuable lesson.
A brand that is positioned efficiently will build consistency across its efforts. You will be able to align your various social media presences, your website, your offerings, your advertisements, and your brand assets. This is important because it makes your brand memorable and easily identifiable by those who have encountered it before. Familiarity will, in turn, increase the trust that prospective customers have in your brand.
Why do you need good brand positioning strategy?
Good brand positioning will enable your brand design efforts to be more aggressive and effective. If you have a firm understanding of how you’re positioned as a brand, it allows you to design branding efforts to play to this positioning effectively.
You have a fantastic opportunity to beat your customers to the punch if your brand positioning is solid. If you understand exactly what your positioning is, you can target your market in a way that they might not be able to do – knowledge, after all, is power.
A great brand positioning strategy is the foundation for all of your marketing efforts, so don’t skimp on ensuring that yours is top-notch.
Now that we know that a brand positioning strategy is important, let’s take a look at the key features of good brand positioning. You should ensure that you have each of these features implemented optimally if you want to get the most out of your branding efforts.
The First Key Feature of a Good Brand Positioning Strategy: Brand Premise
You need to know exactly what your brand is looking to do within its market. It’s not enough to say “we are a restaurant, so we provide food.” Look how that went for Cool Dude Food…
You need to dig deeper. What is it about your brand that makes it worth your prospective customers choosing you over anyone else.
Our buddy over at Cool Dude Food should have considered that he was looking to provide a classy, elite experience. He certainly shouldn’t have been marketing to children since his offering isn’t geared towards them.
Brands who have a clear brand premise
Big brands around the world invariably have a clear brand premise that sets them apart in their fields. For example, Volvo has a brand premise of producing safe vehicles. They take a particularly aggressive focus on ensuring that their vehicles are optimally designed to protect the people within them.
They’re not trying to compete with fancy sportscar manufacturers because they know that their premise isn’t geared towards that particular market.
Another example of a clear brand premise can be found at Apple. They have a very clear goal when it comes to their offerings – creating fashionable technology that is ‘cool’ and innovative.
Apple doesn’t try to compete with other technology markets like the gaming industry since they know that their offerings are geared towards simple, yet stylish, technology.
A good brand premise is one that you can dominate thanks to the nature of your brand. There was no point in Cool Dude Food targeting children when their offerings are so obviously not going to be favoured by said children. You need to be honest about your brand’s strengths and weaknesses if you’re going to build a valid and powerful brand premise.
How do you identify your brand premise?
When identifying your brand premise, it could be a good idea to ask customers what they think sets your brand apart. You could have a tainted view of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses since you’re working from the inside – what’s important when creating a brand is rather perceptions from the outside.
Before we continue, ensure that your brand premise is accurate and achievable. Your brand premise is perhaps the most important aspect of your branding positioning development.
If you don’t know what you’re shooting for, how can you expect to hit the target? Everything that follows relies upon you truly understanding your brand premise.
A good, accurate brand premise will make creating the rest of your brand positioning strategy much easier. So take the time to ensure that your brand premise is one that you are looking to target, and capable of dominating.
The Second Key Feature of a Good Brand Positioning Strategy: Target Audience Profile
Now that you know your brand premise, or what it is that your brand targets, it’s crucial that you understand who it is that is your brand targets.
A firm understanding of your target audience is incredibly important in the creation of your brand positioning strategy. If you want your messaging to be effective, you need to know who you’re talking to. We constantly adjust how we speak in our daily lives depending on who it is we’re talking to – why wouldn’t the same apply to your target audience?
We’ll look at tone later, but for now it is important to get a better understanding of who it is we’re talking to.
How to find out who you’re talking to:
- What is the male/female split of your target audience?
- Where does your target audience live?
- What is your target audience’s spending capacity?
- What digital channels do your target audience use?
- What are your target audience searching for online?
- What stage of life is your target audience in?
- What are their biggest problems that you could solve?
- What devices does your target audience use?
This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are just some common questions that tend to work well for a variety of brand types. Get creative – the more information, the better!
Once you’ve collected this information, you should have a firm understanding of your target audience. With this information, it becomes a lot easier to align your brand premise with your target audience.
You should consider going as far as creating fictitious examples of members of your target audience, taking into account the information you have gleamed from your target audience research. Give them names, locations, ages, genders, interests – whatever you can do from your information.
This personalization of your target market should help you to take the heaps of numbers and words you’ve collected and create a more visual understanding of what they actually mean. After all, you’re not marketing to a maths textbook…
Where do you find this information about your target audience?
Good question. The dominant tool to gleam this sort of information is Google Analytics. With this tool, you can get a bunch of extremely useful information about people visiting your various platforms. You’ll need to install bits of code into your pages, but once you’ve done that, the information will begin rolling in.
The best part about it is that it’s free! You have access to heaps of useful information, but if you don’t have analytics software like Google Analytics installed, you’re allowing this important data to drift away into cyber-nothingness.
What a waste!
Is there a downside to using Google Analytics?
For us as an agency, we have not had any problems with Google Analytics.
There are other ways to get the sort of target audience information that you need for your brand positioning. A good, old-fashioned way of going about it is by doing polls and asking people questions.
You can do this online – on your social media platforms or on your website. Make sure you don’t ask too many questions in one sitting, though – you’re less likely to get responses if you do.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can double-down on the old-fashioned methodology and ask people who physically visit you these questions.
Analytics software is generally superior for quantitative target audience research, while polls and questions are often better for qualitative research. The best option, of course, is using them both. This will get you more information – and who doesn’t want more useful data?
The Third Key Feature of a Good Brand Positioning Strategy: Slogan
I’m Lovin’ It.
It’s Finger Lickin’ good.
Just Do it.
Do you know where these phrases are from?
Slogans help your brand to be more memorable. They give you a fantastic opportunity to connect your brand to catchy language, so that prospective customers have a sort of short-cut to remembering your brand.
Choosing a good slogan is about more than catchy language, however. You want your slogan to speak individually and directly to members of your target market. You want to be speaking to their need or desire that has led them to an interest in your brand.
Create long-lasting relationships through Branding.
Remember, you’re not selling your audience a product. Branding isn’t about raw advertising – it’s about developing a wholesome experience that initiates longer-lasting relationships between brands and customers. Your slogan is an opportunity to achieve this – choose something direct and effective.
We at Conversion Advantage like to talk about ‘human insights.’ The idea is that you’re looking to target the heart of the customer – not their mind. Your goal with your slogan should be pierced through your audience’s conscious thoughts and enter their emotional realm.
If you’re able to achieve this with your slogan, you’ve created a bond between your brand and your customers that goes beyond their use of your product. You develop a strong sense of loyalty, which is key in customer retention and provides the opportunity to upsell.
While many see slogans as gimmicky add-ons, the truth is that they can hold extreme power. Think about a brand like Nike. Their slogan, ‘Just Do It,’ is more than a catchy phrase. It empowers and motivates their customers to improve their own lives and has established Nike as more than a sportswear company – they’re a brand that defines healthy and active lifestyles.
Likewise, a brand like Apple has defined itself so uniquely within the swathes of tech brands in the market that it is intrinsically entrenched within its customers’ lives. There’s a difference between buying a laptop and an Apple laptop, or between a smartphone and an iPhone. Their brand encompasses more than technology – it helps people to define their personal images. At their peak, Apple used the slogan “Think Different,” which simply and effectively embodied their place within the market. This slogan helped them to establish themselves as a uniquely valuable and powerful innovator within the tech market.
Your slogan sets the tone for your entire brand. You should be looking to develop a slogan that speaks directly to your brand premise and resonates with your target audience.
The Fourth Key Feature of a Good Brand Positioning Strategy: Tone of Voice
Now that you have a firm understanding of who you’re targeting and how you’re targeting them, you need to develop a relevant and effective tone of voice.
Your tone of voice dictates how your brand comes across to customers. A relaxed tone will make your brand seem more casual and approachable, while a more formal tone represents authority and an elite product. The sorts of words you use, including your propensity for slang and jargon, will also affect how you are perceived.
Nando’s, for example, are famous for their casual, humorous tone. They’ve developed their brand around a tone of voice that makes them appear to be a highly-relatable brand that has no airs and graces. Their style probably wouldn’t work too well for a luxury hotel brand.
How Nando’s uses tone of voice:
You want to ensure that your tone of voice aligns with your brand, encapsulating your brand premise as well as resonating with your target audience. As we’ve mentioned previously, it is crucial that everything aligns efficiently to build a unified brand positioning.
You shouldn’t just thumb suck your tone out of thin air. You need to go through a process if you want to build a tone that empowers your branding efforts.
Study your target market.
Firstly, you should refer back to your target audience research. Look at what they like and dislike, and what they’re talking about. You want to understand their personality on a basic level before you progress further.
Next, you want to listen to them talk. We’re talking about their actual language here – do they use jargon or slang, how energetic are they, do they use formal tones, etc. You want to get a comprehensive idea of how they communicate – particularly with other people within the same market.
For example, if you’re a surfing brand, you’ll want to visit message boards like the one above to see how people talk about surfing things. Understanding this will help you to develop a better understanding of the tone that they use. This, in turn, will help you to communicate with them in a way that is relevant and relatable.
Think of it like a National Geographic episode. You’re entering their habitat, observing their behaviours, and looking to get a better understanding of how they do things and what drives them to do them.
You may think you understand how your target market communicates without doing this research. You’re probably wrong.
It is all too common to see brands assume tones and linguistic choices that they think align with their target market, but that actually miss the mark. There are few things worse in the field of brand positioning than swinging and missing at your target audience’s tone of voice.
One of the most common examples of this is when brands are targeting teenagers. They often try to use teen slang and ‘cool’ language, only to discover that the slang they’re using isn’t ‘cool’ any more. And teens who are targeted in this inaccurate tone of voice will run for the hills, cringing between paces.
Creating a Successful Brand Positioning Strategy: What is your brand’s tone of voice?
Now that you’ve developed an understanding of how your audience speaks, it’s time to set your tone. A great way to do this is to envision your brand as a person. Who would your brand be? What personality traits would it have? What quirks, or lack thereof, would be present? Is your brand young or old? Male or female?
Developing a thorough profile of your brand in this manner will help you to develop a tone that is personal. You will be communicating with your audience on their level, rather than from a place of implied superiority.
How does style influence brand positioning strategy?
Finally, you should choose a style. After all, even within your audience, there are different types of people. You don’t have an audience of clones, and your goal should not be to act like a clone of your target audience.
Instead, you should be looking to define yourself within your audience’s social space. Is your tone going to be serious or humourous; formal or relaxed; focused or fun?
The options you have at your disposal will depend upon your specific audience. Funeral cover has avastly different tone of voice options than a children’s toy company. What is crucial, at this point, is that you are making decisions that have been educated by all of the previous research and decision-making we have undertaken throughout this article.
With all of this done, you now have a solid positioning upon which you can build your brand. You understand your offerings, as well as your target market. You understand who they are, how they do things, and the ways in which they speak. You also understand who you are, why you’re worth your customers’ time and money, and how you should communicate with your audience.
Where to from here? With fantastic brand positioning, you’re well-equipped to move into the other stages of branding. Designing your brand, for example, will be made easier now that you understand what you’re looking to achieve. Likewise, you’ll find that building your email databases will be easier, since you know why people would sign up to your newsletters. Even your social media platforms will benefit – your social media managers will now have clear guidance on how to communicate with your social communities.
You should seriously consider taking the results of your brand positioning, packaging it well, and giving it to employees who could benefit from it. Social media managers, for example, could use it to remind themselves of how your brand is positioned so that they work towards using this to their advantage.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Conversion Advantage if you would like help from our highly qualified digital marketing team with your branding efforts.
Finally, you can download our pricing guide here if you’re interested in working with us.