Positioning must also consider how the client brand will be perceived relative to competitive brands. What do attributes do all brand within a product category have in common, what attributes are unique to the client brand and perhaps most importantly, identify important needs relative to the product category that no brand serves. We carefully classify what we have learned into a knowledge-based framework which allows us to pinpoint the exact space within the customers and prospects minds that can be uniquely owned by the client brand.
Through both qualitative and quantitative methodologies we work to identify the rungs of the ladder that begin with what the product “is” with respect to form factors, features, ingredients, price/value perceptions and so forth, to define what the product “does” based on performance criteria and tangible points of difference, to understanding how the brand fits into the buyers and prospects life – the critical emotional link. The final step is to develop a brand personality which is compatible target customer’s personality.
Reis and Trout espouse that positioning is “not so much what you do with the product, but what you do to the consumers (buyers) mind.” Others believe that a strong preemptive positioning is the only certain way to avoid commodity pricing and ensure long-term brand success. It’s true.
Positioning is the most critical factor that influences a brand’s success. Marketing managers and product engineers can continuously add tangible features and benefits to a product thinking that it will result in a competitive advantage. Wrong! In the blink of an eye, competitors will meet or exceed your brand’s tangible features completely eroding your competitive advantage. Done correctly, positioning is based on linking a brand’s tangible benefits with intangible emotional benefits. Regardless of whether your brand is a consumer product or a B2B brand, identifying the emotional hook and anchoring firmly into the white space in the prospects mind is the ONLY opportunity to create a lasting competitive advantage.