For most people marketing means advertising. For most marketing agencies, marketing translates into communication. Or even worse, creative communication. For many management teams in small or big companies, launching a new brand means coming up with a name, designing a logo, printing a catalog and voila: they have just launched a new brand. This approach doesn’t take into account the first three steps in the brand building process: segmentation, targeting and positioning.
Segmentation and targeting are relatively easy to achieve: divide the market into relevant groups, select a the group you believe you can best serve and deliver the message. The question is: what message? That’s where positioning comes into play.
Positioning is all about differentiating your brand in the mind of the consumer. Positioning is creating the perceptions you want your target consumer to associate with your brand. It has nothing to do with “the features and benefits” of the product. It has everything to do with your competitors.
The father of positioning is Jack Trout, and his 4 steps in positioning a product have always served me as guidance:
1) Study your competitors and identify the attributes they own in the mind of the consumer.
2) Assess your strengths and weaknesses and look for that differentiating idea.
3)Think long term: can you support your differentiating idea with facts?
4)Communicate the differentiating idea to your target audience.
A differentiated idea is a solid foundation of a brand. Simple and consistent communication leads to its success.