The Art of Brand Positioning, and the 5 P’s of Marketing in Asia

18 Aug


If you are creating and launching a new brand or product in the United Kingdom, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Hong Kong or Singapore  in 2017, the follow superb article will help you.

In 1972 Jack Trout and Al Ries wrote three seminal articles on brand positioning that were published in Advertising Age. Thirty-six years later the merits of their thinking holds steadfast.

This is an excerpt of their article The Brand Positioning Era Cometh.

Remember the Mind Is a Memory Bank.  To better understand what an advertiser is up against, it may be helpful to take a closer look at the objective of all advertising programs – the human mind.  Like a memory bank, the mind has a slot or “position” for each bit of information it has chosen to retain. In operation, the mind is a lot like a computer.  But there is one important difference. A computer has to accept what is put into it. The mind does not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The mind, as a defense mechanism against the volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information offered it. In general, the mind accepts only that new information which matches its prior knowledge or experience. It filters out everything else.

For example, when a viewer sees a television commercial that says, “NCR means computers,” he doesn’t accept it. IBM means computers. NCR means National Cash Register.
The computer “position” in the minds of most people is filled by a company called the International Business Machines Corp. For a competitive computer manufacturer to obtain a favorable position in the prospect’s mind, he must somehow relate his company to IBM’s position.
Yet, too many companies embark on marketing and advertising programs as if the competitor’s position did not exist. They advertise their products in a vacuum and are disappointed when their messages fail to get through.
Seven Brands Are Mind’s Limit The mind, as a container for ideas, is totally unsuited to the job at hand.

Capture the Mind. Win the Day.

The first step is to identify one specific attribute that sets it apart from competitors. Just because a competitor could possibly say the same thing doesn’t mean you should not use it. The first to plant their flag claims the mountain. While positioning is how you want to be known, it must reflect reality. How the company really is known. Or how it can believably be known.

Example: Avis conducted research that heard employees saying, “We have to try harder because we’re so much smaller.”
Example: The way people really think about the 7-11 store on the corner is “Convenient, but more expensive.”
So you might position them with a slogan that says, “Worth the convenience.” You could even build a campaign around that idea, “Worth the convenience.”
Your positioning statement should reflect the way people really think — using simple language real people really use.  Lay’s potato chips has a campaign using the line, “Let’s do lunch.” The idea is to position Lay’s chips as a companion to your noon meal. It works well because that particular colloquial expression was already floating around in people’s heads, but not associated with another product.

#BrandPositioning  #Branding

Ready to position your company, product or service?  Try this:
Step 1: Make a list of all significant competitors and write a sentence defining their position in the market.
Step 2: Next define the current position of your company, product or service, as it really exists in the minds of consumers.
Step 3: Now identify a specific attribute about your product that can differentiate it from the competition in a way that some consumers will find desirable.

Don’t write just one. Come up with several. Then pick the best, and if one doesn’t stand out as best, then test several. It’s fine if that one thing only appeals to a segment, even a small segment, of your customers. It’s better to be specific than general. And you can amplify other attributes in the ad campaign. So don’t try to be all things to all people.  All at once.

If you have a great position, keep it. Position is that one thing. That one descriptive sentence or slogan the company is known for. That one specific idea that first comes to mind about the product.  That one characteristic that sets the service apart from competitors.

Maxwell House coffee is “Good to the last drop.”
For Volvo that one thing is “Safety.”
McDonalds is “A fun place for kids.”
In Jakarta, Indonesia, Bluebird is “The safest way to travel by taxi.”
And everyone knows, Avis tries harder.

For a good example, here’s google’s Mission statement (versus brand position, but it’s pretty much the same thing): “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” All of Google’s new products and services are in alignment with this mission. It’s clear, simple and memorable. It works as a compass and a sword.

BlueOrangeAsia has branded many of the world’s leading brands and products in London, England, UK, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore over the past 25 years.

The Best Brands in the world work with us because we produce Better Ideas and Better Results.

TO EXPERIENCE OUR CLEAR CREDIBLE DIFFERENCE, CONTACT US NOW for an informal meeting and free consultation.  |

#NewBrandPositioning  #SingaporeBranding #HongKongBranding  #BangkokBranding



For a good example, here’s google’s Mission statement (versus brand position, but it’s pretty much the same thing): “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” All of Google’s new products and services are in alignment with this mission. It’s clear, simple and memorable. It works as a compass and a sword.


Creating a Winning Brand Promise

The goal of any brand positioning exercise is to develop a brand promise that is unique, compelling and believable. Any successful brand positioning project must evaluate all potential brand promises against these three criteria – unique, compelling and believable. The winning promise must deliver against all three criteria or it won’t work. The only way to assess this is to measure each of these for each brand promise option with each key target audience.

As an example, we explored the following potential brand promises for Rochester, New York. This is how one target audience, current residents, evaluated them:


Getting Into the Mind of the Consumer

The easiest way of getting into someone’s mind is to be first. It is very easy to remember who is first, and much more difficult to remember who is second. Even if the second entrant offers a better product, the first mover has a large advantage that can make up for other shortcomings.

However, all is not lost for products that are not the first. By being the first to claim a unique position in the mind the consumer, a firm effectively can cut through the noise level of other products. For example, Miller Lite was not the first light beer, but it was the first to be positioned as a light beer, complete with a name to support that position. Similarly, Lowenbrau was the most popular German beer sold in America, but Beck’s Beer successfully carved a unique position using the advertising,

“You’ve tasted the German beer that’s the most popular in America. Now taste the German beer that’s the most popular in Germany.”

Consumers rank brands in their minds. If a brand is not number one, then to be successful it somehow must relate itself to the number one brand. A campaign that pretends that the market leader does not exist is likely to fail. Avis tried unsuccessfully for years to win customers, pretending that the number one Hertz did not exist. Finally, it began using the line,

“Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars, so why go with us? We try harder.”

After launching the campaign, Avis quickly became profitable. Whether Avis actually tried harder was not particularly relevant to their success. Rather, consumers finally were able to relate Avis to Hertz, which was number one in their minds.




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