In her March 1, 2017 blog post, Brand Academy founder Marcia Hoeck shares how companies can gain an edge over their competition through proper positioning. To position a brand, a company must influence its potential customers’ perception to such an extent that it forms a clear picture of that brand’s prominence in the field.
According to Hoeck, though, a company must not only “decorate” its brand image. Window dressing isn’t enough to create the clear picture a company needs. “Design alone,” she says, “can’t tell the entire story…”
Know the Company’s Challenges
What does work, though, is to position the brand through knowing the challenges that face it. If the company’s sales are lagging, for example, positioning may include innovative ways to shore up sales. If the company wants to enter a new market, on the other hand, a reboot of the brand’s image may be in order. Making the company stand out in its field to meet its specific challenges creates the opportunity it needs to capture the lion’s share of the market.
Authenticity the Key to Successful Positioning
Authenticity, Hoeck says, is the key to branding—or rebranding—a business. An example: For a company in the first situation—lagging sales—the brand positioning process may involve what Avis, the car rental firm, used years ago. The tactic worked so well that the company kept the tagline, “We’re No. 2…But We Try Harder,” for 50 years. The company’s willingness to lay out the hard truth became a selling point for its service.
On the other hand, a company who wants to enter a new market with a new product must also be authentic in order to position its brand. A different tactic, though, may be in order. For example, when McDonald’s expanded its offerings beyond hamburgers, fries, and shakes, it needed a way to “McDonald-ize” its more healthy new products. With premade, yet fresh salads with popular ingredients, the fast food restaurant, true to its roots, maintained its speedy service, yet grabbed its share of the healthy eating market in the process.
Because the company didn’t try to reinvent their brand, it succeeded in its branding efforts for its new products. As Hoeck puts it, “Hit the nail on the head with positioning, and the marketing…will be easy.”
Hoeck goes on to state that proper positioning can take the stress out of marketing a company. When the position maintains the authenticity of the brand, yet shows innovation in telling the brand’s story, success is sure to follow.
Companies Can Position Their Brand Without a Huge Cash Outlay
How a startup company can do this in real life, though, is a challenge. A company can start by identifying the core value of its product or service. Next, it can engage the services of a designer to create a logo that explains that core value in a visual design. Startups need not hire the most expensive designer on the block, though. Many promotional item companies supply a designer’s services when a company orders regular supplies, such as labels, stickers, business cards, and pens. As familiarity with the company’s logo builds among potential customers, so does the company’s position in the market.
Remember, brand positioning isn’t just for the big guys. They, too, once were startups. What set them apart was their skillful use of brand positioning to promote their business into national prominence. In 2017, too, companies can use that tactic to catapult themselves to the top.