Branding Essentials By Aashish Pahwa / October 14, 2017 Positioning is the space your brand occupies in the brains of your customers. It makes customers view your product in a unique way and makes it stand out from the competition. It is the reason why the customers buy your product.Brand positioning is an act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinct place in the mind of the target market. – Philip Kotler Positioning creates a bond between the customer and the business. It’s that friend of the customer who’ll always stay in their subconscious mind and will make them recall about the company whenever they hear about the any of its product or a particular feature which makes it stand out. Examples of Brand PositioningColgate is positioned as protective.Patanjali can be trusted as it is fully organic.Woodland is tough and perfect for outdoors.Coca Cola brings happiness.Axe deodorants have a sexual appeal.Characteristics of a good brand positioning strategyRelevantThe positioning strategy you decide should be relevant according to the customer. If he finds the positioning irrelevant while making the purchase decision, you’re at loss.ClearYour message should be clear and easy to communicate. E.g. Rich taste and aroma you won’t forget for a coffee product gives out a clear image and can position your coffee brand differently from competitors.UniqueA strong brand positioning means you have a unique credible and sustainable position in the customers’ mind. It should be unique or it’s of no use. DesirableThe unique feature should be desirable and should be able to become a factor which the customer evaluate before buying a product.DeliverableThe promise should have the ability to be delivered. False promises lead to negative brand equity.Points of differenceThe customer should be able to tell the difference between your and your competitor’s brand. Recognizable FeatureThe unique feature should be recognizable by the customer. This includes keeping your positioning simple, and in a language which is understood by the customer.Validated by the CustomerYour positioning strategy isn’t successful until the time it is validated by the customer. He is the one to decide whether you stand out or not. Hence, try to be in his shoes while deciding your strategy. Types of PositioningA positioning strategy depends on many factors which include current market conditions, your product, USP of your product, competitors, their products and the USPs of their products. Marketers plan of how they want their product to be seen by the customers in future also plays a vital role in deciding which type of positioning strategy to choose.While there are numerous position strategies in marketing to choose from. The task for the marketers is to complement their promise to the product features they have to offer.Lifestyle PositioningBy positioning itself as a lifestyle brand, a brand tries to sell an image and identity rather than the product. The main focus is to associate the brand with a lifestyle and focus is more on the aspirational value than the product value. Cigarette, Alcohol, and Tabacco companies are often seen to use lifestyle positioning while marketing their products.The Problem SolverMost of the brands focus on positioning their products as a one stop solution for a specific problem. They pinpoint the pain areas and the challenges the consumers face in their communication and other marketing strategies and mend it into promoting their product.Parent BrandThis positioning strategy aims at establishing a brand promise and a reputation of the parent brand. All the products and sub-brands under the parent brand seem to comply to the established promise.Product SpecificSome brands which caters to different market segments, use product specific positioning strategies where they position their different products differently than others. This is usually seen in the automobile industry.Feature SpecificWhen the competition is huge and the products are similar, companies usually position their products by focusing more on specific features like price, quality, or other micro features depending on the product sold. This type of positioning strategy is usually seen in mobile industry.How to create a strong brand positioning strategy?Before you decide your brand positioning, ask yourself these three questions.What does my customer want?Can I promise him to deliver it better and/or differently than my competitors?Why will they buy my promise?What does my customer want?Not everyone in the market is your customer. You need to divide the market into ‘my customer’ and ‘not my customer’. This way, it’ll be easier for you to know what exactly is your customers’ wants are.The division should be followed by you trying to be in your customers’ shoes. A good businessman speaks in the voice of the consumer.Your research should not be based on secondary data. You should go out and look for what the customer actually wants, make the product fit those wants, and they’ll buy it.Be Better and/or DifferentIf it’s not just you who is in the market, you’ve got to find a way to deliver your promise better and/or differently than your competitors. Make a brand which has a recall, which comes to the customer’s minds when they hear about the particular product category or the feature you’re offering. Every time I hear about girls being attracted by a deodorant, I get an image of Axe deodorants in my mind. Give them a reason to buy your promise.Your promise should be one of the factors they consider while buying the product. Use this trickDecide your productList its various characteristicsDo a research, andDivide the characteristics into essential and add-ons.Select only those categories, be it essential or add-ons, which customers consider while making a purchase. (E.g. aesthetics, fragrance, taste, shape, cost, etc.)Find out what among these categories can you provide better than the competitors.Whatever you decide, don’t lose your focus from the essential characteristics. (E.g. Taste will always be most important characteristic which a customer consider while buying a food product)Provide your unique feature along with the essential characteristics.Go On, Tell Us What You Think!Did we miss something? Come on! Tell us what you think of this article on brand positioning in the comment section.