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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.

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Why Brands Die and Marketing Budgets Get Wasted in Thailand

18 Aug

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1:    Probably because there are so many terrible UNCREDIBLE UNQUALIFIED  ‘make it up as you go along’  marketing agencies/suppliers with an entire senior management having NO relevant credible experience or expertise in the business and NO relevant BA qualification, education or awards,  EVER with ANY accredited MNC global agency network.

2:   Probably because clients in Thailand are consistently exposed to, and accept a very low poor standard and expectation of creative marketing excellence and marketing quality.

3:   So why do so many clients in Thailand work with uncredible unqualified agencies / suppliers?    Are clients insane?

4:   In this part of the world, it seems     ’ Who You Know, not What You Know Rules’.  Or  ‘In The Land of the Blind, The One Eyed Man is King’.

5:  Partnering any of these ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along agencies’ is a recipe for disaster, failure and suicide for your future.

6: TIME TO STOP COMMITTING SUICIDE?   Why not ask your brand marketing senior partner for their relevant resume, awards, or qualifications?    Or their relevant talent and experience gained in the business from an accredited global MNC agency?

7:  You would never hire a 1 star chef to run a 5 star kitchen,  So why hire 1 star uncredible un qualified agencies / suppliers to market your 5 star brand?

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

6 Aug

Strategic Positioning in Advertising in Asia and why it is so important to your business

Whether you are a small SME brand in Yangon Myanmar, to a large retail bank corporation in Laos or Ho Chi Minh City, to a new regional hospitality hotel venture in Cambodia,  you must never underestimate the crucial importance of positioning your brand from an advertising and online marketing point of view.

Many people have different interpretations about what brand positioning means. It’s one of those concepts that is hard to pin down, yet at the same time is so important to the success of your brand. Positioning is at the heart of your brand. It’s essentially the summation of everything your brand is about.

So let’s break it down.

Strategic Advertising Positioning is built from what you know to be true about your customer. It takes the benefits you’ve outlined and makes them meaningful to customers. In its simplest of forms, positioning is the mental space you want to occupy in your customer’s mind. It’s the first thing you want your customer to think about when they hear your brand name.

In my column, “Connecting With Customers: How to Market to Their Emotions“, I discuss how an 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.

I remember when I opened my own agency several years ago. As a team we were working on how we wanted to position the agency, looking for the emotional benefit that we could offer to our clients. We finally landed on “We’ll get you promoted” as our positioning. We never used it as a tagline, but more as a positioning statement for how we would serve up what we offered clients.

Many of our clients were mid-level marketing managers at Fortune 500 companies, working their way up the corporate ladder. The idea of helping them get promoted was engaging. Our work would get them results and they would be recognized for that. The fact that we were a brand promotion agency gave the positioning statement double meaning.

Once it’s nailed, your brand’s positioning becomes the basis for building the brand experience across the entire marketing plan. The key is to make sure the actual brand experience delivers on what was intended in the positioning.

In my advertising agency in Bangkok at the time, we made sure we helped our clients showcase their work to get the recognition they needed in order to be put in line for promotion. We made a big deal when one of our clients got promoted by celebrating every success. It became part of our personality and part of the experience of working with us. This came directly out of our positioning statement: “We’ll get you promoted.”

Let’s take a look at a few big brands and what they’ve done for positioning. As I mentioned, the tagline can often be a big hint:

  • BMW: “The ultimate driving machine.”
  • State Farm: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
  • L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.”

Notice the level of emotion in each of these taglines, which essentially highlights each brand’s positioning. Here’s how I might translate those taglines into positioning statements:

  • BMW: Makes you feel powerful.
  • State Farm: Makes you feel secure and safe in times of need.
  • L’Oreal: Makes you feel valued and good about yourself.

These are obviously big blockbuster brands, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same for your small business.

You need to dig deep into the emotional benefit that you offer your customer. Think about how you want your customer to feel about you, every time they think about you. Try to capture that in a brief statement that best describes what you can offer, and jot down a few options. Run them by your team and do a little brainstorming. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you start generating ideas.

So critical for a business and brand’s future, strategic positioning, from an advertising agencies point of view is critical.