In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for their product, brand, or organization. Brand positioning is at the heart of marketing strategy.
It is the act of designing the company’s offer and image so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the target customer’s minds. A good brand positioning helps to guide marketing strategy by clarifying what a brand is all about, how it is unique, how it is similar to competitive brands, and why consumers purchase it. Thus, in simple words brand positioning refers to the position or image which a brand enjoys in the minds of present and potential customers.
Market Positioning refers to the ability to influence consumer perception regarding a brand or product relative to competitors. The objective of market positioning is to establish the image or identity of a brand or product so that consumers perceive it in a certain way.
- A handbag maker may position itself as a luxury status symbol
- A TV maker may position its TV as the most innovative and cutting-edge
- A fast-food restaurant chain may position itself as the provider of cheap meals
Types of Positioning Strategies
There are several types of positioning strategies. A few examples are positioning by:
- Product attributes and benefits: Associating your brand/product with certain characteristics or with certain beneficial value
- Product price: Associating your brand/product with competitive pricing
- Product quality: Associating your brand/product with high quality
- Product use and application: Associating your brand/product with a specific use
- Competitors: Making consumers think that your brand/product is better than your competitors
- Positioning by product attributes and benefits
It is to associate a product with an attribute, a product feature, or a consumer feature. Sometimes a product can be positioned in terms of two or more attributes simultaneously. The price/quality attribute dimension is commonly used for positioning the products.
A common approach is setting the brand apart from competitors on the basis of the specific characteristics or benefits offered. Sometimes a product may be positioned on more than one product benefit. Marketers attempt to identify salient attributes (those that are important to consumers and are the basis for making a purchase decision).
- Positioning by Price/Quality
Marketers often use price/quality characteristics to position their brands. One way they do it is with ads that reflect the image of a high-quality brand where cost, while not irrelevant, is considered secondary to the quality benefits derived from using the brand. Premium brands positioned at the high end of the market use this approach for positioning the product.
Another way to use price/quality characteristics for positioning is to focus on the quality or value offered by the brand at a very competitive price. Although price is an important consideration, the product quality must be comparable to, or even better than, competing brands for the positioning strategy to be effective.
- Positioning By Use or Application
Another way is to communicate a specific image or position for a brand to associate it with a specific use or application. Surf Excel is positioned as stain remover ‘Surf Excel hai na!’ Also, Clinic All Clear – ‘Dare to wear black’.
- Positioning By Product Class
Often the competition for a particular product comes from outside the product class. For example, airlines know that while they compete with other airlines, trains and buses are also viable alternatives. Manufacturers of music CDs must compete with the cassette industry. The product is positioned against others that, while not exactly the same, provide the same class of benefits.
- Positioning By Product User
Positioning a product by associating it with a particular user or group of users is yet another approach. Motography Motorola Mobile, in this ad the persona of the user of the product has been positioned.
- Positioning By Competitor
Competitors may be as important to positioning strategy as a firm’s own product or services. In today’s market, an effective positioning strategy for a product or brand may focus on specific competitors.
This approach is similar to positioning by product class, although the competition is within the same product category in this case. Onida was positioned against the giants in the television industry through this strategy. Onida colour TV was launched with the message that all others were clones and only Onida was the leader— ‘Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride’.
- Positioning By Cultural Symbols
This is an additional positioning strategy wherein the cultural symbols are used to differentiate the brands. Examples are Humara Bajaj, Tata Tea, and Ronald McDonald. Each of these symbols has successfully differentiated the product it represents from competitors.