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Basics of Brand Positioning

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Published on:
Feb 25, 2022

Why do we mostly relate Volvo with strength, while Ferrari with speed and Bugatti with sophistication?

They are all strong cars that can go up to crazy speeds while they are all sophisticated in design. So what's the reason behind this categorization?

Are the products that we can see, touch and feel the main factors, or could there be something more?

Our hardwired brains like to put things together if they give the same "feeling" to us. For example: When we want to give ourselves a night of entertainment, we may pick our favorite Chardonnay, grab some Lays and open up PlayStation or Netflix on TV, and we just chill. All of these are related with each other, and they are in the same category that labeled as "TAKE THESE IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN / ENTERTAIN YOURSELF."

As "brand" means a perception, it's all about how we perceive it and make a position statement in our minds. First we categorize them, then we recall the necessary category at different situations.

Designing a brand needs a well-studied positioning exercise, which needs to be done not once but periodically. Where in their minds do they (our customers/clients) put us? With what other brands? Do they see us as a leader, or the rival of the leader? Do they think that we are a luxury brand, or can our products are a real necessity for them?

To answer these questions, it's important to know basics of the positioning.

How to position a brand?

There are a number of different ways to do it, but in my experience, the most fundamental way is to position your brand as one of the followings:

1. The First in the Market

Levi's introduced jeans, for examples, to our lives back in 1853. Since then, they have had many competitors, but their position as the "inventor" of the product has made them successful as hell.

2. The Bizarre ("Avant-garde," "Trendsetter," or "Unique")

One of the best examples for this is Tesla. How many other electric car brands do you know who have their cars flying somewhere in the space? From the beginning, Elon Musk has managed to create a state-of-the-art brand strategy and that has led Tesla to be the lovemark in their market.

3. The Leader

This position makes sure that the brand is the champion of its industry, and offers the go-to products or service for its audience.

Coca-Cola is an example. They don't only have the highest product quality since the day they exist, but also they have a bedrock branding with its messages, ad campaigns, touchpoints, etc. Even if there's no water in a distant village, you can always find a Coke.

4. The Rival of the Leader (or "The Follower")

Following the champion doesn't have to mean that you're sucking loser. With a firm strategy, you can use this as your advantage and make a crazy profit and reputation over that.

We all witness for the years that Pepsi keeps taking the advantage of being the "biggest" rival of the leader. They are like, "Let's do whatever Coke does" and it works! All champs need a rival to make their position steadier, and vice versa. Without Coke, Pepsi wouldn't have this much of success.

5. The Extender of the Production Line

Not only its initial products, but also spreading into a wide range of products can make a brand take a place in our minds, or even hearts.

Started up with shoes, Nike has completely owned the "Hero" image of the athletes and offer them the entire requirements in the sports industry.

6. The Extender of the Product Use

As Blackberry did it for more than a decade ago (wow, are we that old?), and Apple and many others as well, sometimes brands bring an innovation to the traditional usage of the product and extend it to another way of use. Real revolutionist brands make that their position boldly.

Blackberry introduced QWERTY keyboards to the mobile phones, for example, and the brand positioned itself as an innovator in its users' minds.

7. The Descriptor (by Its Name)

Some brands are born to be the first thing that comes to mind when a specific need arises. This kind of positioning is many brands apply for with their descriptive names.

One of the quickest unicorns in e-commerce and online market shopping service Getir, actually announce its value proposition just in the name: "Bring it!"

As we discussed the basics of the positioning, we'll get deeper in this topic and analyze the advanced ways to look through.

Remember: Your brand is not what you say about it, it's what THEY think it is.

Your mission is to equalize what you promise and what they perceive.


Alessandro Nofi, Pexels.com

Huy Phan, Pexels.com

Karolina Grabowska, Pexels.com

Varun Gaba, Pexels.com

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