Brand Positioning – Keep Your Message Narrow
They say in Marketing that if you’re not on people’s minds, you don’t exist. Marketing is how brand’s form and maintain relationships with consumers and cement a business as a potential purchase option to a consumer.It’s also how businesses ingrain their existence into our conscious and subconscious’. This might sound insidious, but everyone encounters daily problems that need solving and without marketing, no one would know what potential solutions are available to them. It’s a win/win relationship, one that is based on a common consumer problem and met with a business solution communicated entirely through brand positioning and marketing messaging. This is the crux of why consumers need to accurately understand the offerings of your business, because those offerings translate into consumer value and assist to grow your customer base through effective communication and eventually, brand loyalty. It is key that you get your brand positioning on point to build your marketing strategy.
WHAT IS BRAND POSITIONING AND HOW CAN YOU DO IT?
Brand positioning is a core element of defining, reaching and forming relationships with your target audience. If you’ve never heard the term ‘target audience’ before, it simply refers to the demographic of people who would most likely benefit from using your brand’s products and are, therefore, the best group to direct your marketing efforts towards. So why is brand positioning so important? Well, we live in an advertising society. One in which we are bombarded with between 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every day, per person. It is simply impossible to satisfy the needs of every consumer with one product, but with the right positioning, you can satisfy the needs of a select group and develop your long-term position in the marketplace.
These are the keys to cementing your brand and propelling your business against competitors in the marketplace.
Messaging is the core of your marketing strategy. Your messaging communicates to the target market and consumer base because they need your product. Ideally, the customer should know why your option is better in all regards to beat the competition.
With such a limited amount of time to communicate value to a potential customer (about 5-8 seconds of marketing time), you need to utilise that small window of opportunity to reach and engage your target audience effectively.
So how do you stand out from the crowd and make your message count? It’s all about persuasion and consumer listening. Consumers want to know that your business has entered the market because you have something new and exciting to offer. Something worth considering outside of their normal purchase decisions.
Make sure your message is a positive, well-thought-out sentiment that is widely applicable to your target audience. Keeping your message narrow is an excellent way to make it into the considered set. Short, sweet and to the point is very attractive to the average consumer who doesn’t have time to stop and think. If you can address a problem with a clearly defined solution using one or two sentences, you will capture the attention of your audience and potentially make your way into the coveted.
‘Considered set’. The considered set is a set of brands an individual will cognitively (consciously or subconsciously) analyse to weigh up their options and then make a purchase decision based on the option that best fits their requirements or provides the most perceivable value.
If your brand isn’t in the considered set, you’re going to be spending most of your time, energy, and marketing budget on getting in there. Naturally, new and different options in the market will be automatically compared to what a consumer is already familiar with and loyal to.
When your brand is new, you need to make an extra effort to spread the word on your brand positioning and create brand awareness momentum to start forming a customer base, especially due to the nature of customer loyalty, which is usually unflinching. You should be incredibly proactive in contributing positively to your own brand image in order to shape perceptions through your messaging and business behaviour.
Remember, you are being compared to every similar product or substitute available and you need to clearly define and communicate your product or brand’s value proposition so that you can breach pre-existing consumer loyalty to your competition.
Define the who, what, where, when, and why in your positioning statement. This template can help you map this out. This is the easiest way to identify your target audience to simplify your message and craft your positioning statement.
What you’re doing is addressing every attributable aspect of your customer, their problem, the solution, and outlining your point of competitive differentiation using a structured format.I.e. For (target customer) who (statement of need or opportunity), (product name or service) is a (product category), that (statement of key benefit), unlike (competitors product or service) which (describe where competitors fail). Using this framework allows you to include only the essential aspects of your marketing message and positioning statement.
Use your brand positioning statement to direct your marketing initiatives and communications for effective reach and engagement with your target audience. Anything outside of this statement should be used to create marketing content, since you don’t want to drive away your audience by providing more information than is necessary. Such behaviour would result in potential customers losing interest and your marketing efforts going to waste, and it’s imperative to remain quick, sharp, and attractive to start generating customer interest while you’re new in the minds of your target customers.
Focus on creating brand loyalty by focusing your message on direct benefits to the consumer and solving a problem. The consumer’s decision-making process is based on their unique attitudes and beliefs which are largely subconscious.
Beating the competition that already occupies your target audiences’ mental space takes a sound strategy, planning and coordinated execution. Multinational companies throughout the world have used emotional messaging to ignite certain feelings from their target audience, occurring very frequently in the marketing communications of charitable organisations.
Essentially, you’re forming a mental connection between a brand and a cause, or a general emotion and you want to make sure that emotion is positive. Whether it’s that a consumer feels like they’re giving back through their purchase behaviour, or you’ve identified a point of alignment in their general attitudes and beliefs, or you’re just waving a great solution in their face, this is how consumers attribute value to a brand or product.
Always make sure with your brand positioning you’re communicating your value in a way that elevates you above your competitors so you can get into that considered set, form strong brand loyalty, and become a market leader.
By Rob Schafer – founder | chairman of mnm institute
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