What makes your brand unique? Why do you believe it stands out against the tens, hundreds, even thousands of options out there? You may have all the right answers to this question, but if you don’t have a compelling brand positioning that helps connect those dots for consumers, well, your efforts (and investments) may fall flat.
What is brand positioning?
There are many different definitions of “brand positioning” out there, but they all mention that positioning is driven by how consumers perceive your brand and the place it has in their minds and day-to-day lives. Specifically, brand position connects your company’s competitive edge – whether that be product, service, price, accessibility, or another differentiator – and your consumer.
To build the right brand positioning and overarching brand strategy, you need to fully gauge what your brand means to consumers and how that may differ from how you want your brand to be known. You can use a combination of art and science, informed by granular data, to set a strong vision built around:
- Your brand purpose
- Customer interactions and past experiences
- Emotional connection and loyalty
- Product perception
- Pricing and promotional strategy
- Marketing voice and messaging resonance
- Product availability and accessibility
Why is brand positioning important?
Thanks to the internet, we have instant access to an endless supply of information. Consumers can discover new brands, quickly compare prices, customize experiences, and find products that meet their unique needs and expectations. All they need to do is simply tap a screen or click a mouse.
Your brand is floating in this digital deluge and strong brand positioning is what helps it rise to the top. You can better resonate and forge meaningful connections with these consumers when you can match what makes your brand and products unique and effectively communicate those differentiators to the right audience. As a result, you’re not just driving top-of-funnel brand awareness, you’re driving engagement, encouraging product discovery and consideration, and forging a path to long-term loyalty.
What are the tangible business impacts of solid brand positioning?
You can realize significant value for the business when you can match consumers’ perceptions of your brand with how you want to show up in consumers’ minds (and hearts). The top three value drivers include:
Emotional Connection: The most effective brands build meaningful communities, create incredible experiences, galvanize change, and resonate with their consumers and employees in intimate and emotional ways. They’re proving through tangible actions that their mission statements make an impact. For example, Salesforce didn’t rise to the top of the tech world simply because it had great software. Marc Benioff and his fellow co-CEOs rallied around a bigger (and yes, more emotional) mission that illustrated how the company aimed to make a bigger, more positive impact on humanity.
Brand positioning clarifies what resonates with your customers on an emotional, functional, and experiential level, providing you with the insights and tools you need to build stronger and lasting bonds with the people that matter.
Brand Equity: One of the most challenging things about brand equity is that it’s constantly changing. Your standing in the heart and mind of an individual consumer could change significantly after a single experience. It also can change based on the larger context of what is happening in the consumer’s life. On a much broader scale, brand equity can vary by geography, age, gender, and of course, by year.
But brand equity offers a glimpse into consumers’ relationship with your brand and ultimately, how they see you stack up against direct and indirect competitors. You can use brand equity to gauge whether your brand positioning is resonating and likewise, you can refine and improve your positioning to improve equity among specific audiences and markets.
Growth: You need to understand both where you are and where you are heading to scale your business effectively. You can analyze your current brand position to assess which aspects of your brand are or are not resonating with consumers and make adjustments accordingly. Real-time consumer insights can provide the foundation you need to design your path forward and, most of all, predict how these actions can impact the future perception of your brand.
Does brand positioning tie to brand values?
The short answer is yes! More and more consumers (especially those Gen Zers) say they want to do business with brands that align with their core values. When companies are able to unlock that brand purpose and tie it to their positioning and competitive differentiation, they can also unlock customer loyalty and revenue.
Consider this: nearly half (47%) of consumers have been disappointed with a brand’s positions on social issues, according to McKinsey, and 17% of this group said they would never return to that brand again.
That’s why your brand positioning should be developed from your core purpose: your company’s reason for being. This is a strong foundation that can (and should) inform everything your business is: your values, your culture, and your vision. Moreover, it should inform everything your business does: your product development, your customer experiences, your approach to community building, and more.
What are the risks of poor brand positioning?
Some companies develop their brand positionings based solely on where they want to go. They hire strategy firms that conduct annual audience surveys and sporadic customer panels that may or may not be designed to validate their decisions. But if your brand positioning is based on aspirations and gut feel, and not grounded in the actual expectations and needs of your audience, there is a high likelihood that you will miss the mark with the audience you’re trying to reach.
Brand positioning should be validated by data and insights. It should be built using a multivariate model to help you assess impact or importance, incorporate the measure of headroom for growth, and limit how far an element can be from a brand’s existing perception in the market. Otherwise, you’re not getting the full scope of how your business can grow and resonate long-term if you continue to leverage that brand positioning.
How do we start assessing and improving our brand positioning?
For some brands, assessing and improving brand positioning can set a firm foundation for their future. It can be what sustains the business and sets it on a path to long-term differentiation and profitability.
BERA helps businesses go beyond qualitative research and guesswork by taking billions of consumer data points across 4,000+ global brands and delivering insights across 100+ metrics. Pairing real-time insights and AI technology with eight-plus years of historical data, BERA offers the foundation businesses need to develop a winning brand positioning strategy.
Specifically, the BERA Score distills brand-building data points into one – offering a unified view of how your brand is connecting with customers, where it’s connecting, and with whom. Only then will you know the actions you need to take to bring your brand positioning to the next level.
Schedule a demo today so you can learn more about how you can take your brand positioning to the next level.