The Art of Positioning and Why You Can’t Afford to Screw It Up

8 Sep

Many people have different interpretations about what a brand or product positioning means.   It’s one of those concepts that is hard to pin down, yet at the same time is so important and crucial to the long-term success of your business.   Positioning is at the heart of your brand.  It’s essentially the summation value of everything your brand is about.

Positioning is built from what you know to be true about your customer.   It takes the benefits you’ve outlined and makes them clear and meaningful to customers. In its simplest of forms, positioning is the mental space  you want to occupy in your customer’s mind, so that you clearly stand out from your competition.

Positioning is the first thing you want your customer to think about when they hear your brand name.  The Emotional Connection with your customer is the key to being a brand.  But that emotional bond should be reflected in the positioning statement for the business.

Positioning is more about emotions and less about the facts.

That’s why marketers, who think a claim about their product or service is a positioning statement, really miss the boat.  The same goes for a description of your type of business. There’s no emotion in that and it’s emotions that differentiate a brand.

As the brand positioning gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout said in 1981’ Positioning: ‘The Battle for your Mind’    “Positioning is NOT what you do to a product (or brand).      Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect.”

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.

www.blueorangeasia.com |  ideas@blueorangeasia.com

www.blueorangeuk.com

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