Know and Avoid the Brand Identity Traps

In order to avoid possible mistakes in managing your brand there is a need to clarify and identify some of the main brand and branding terms.

When analyzing your current brand situation there are three elements that should be taken in consideration:

  • A. Where is your brand at the moment? – how’s your brand perceived by your audience. Where you stand in the eyes and minds of your stakeholders. This is your Brand Image.
  • B. Where do you want it to be? how do you want it to be perceived. There might be some surprises in making the differences between how you wish your brand to be perceived and how it is actually happening. And this is Brand Identity.
  • C. What are you communicating? What are you actually doing to move from point A to point B. What part of your brand identity you actually communicate to your audience. What is the value you communicate, how do you do it. How do you translate your identity into valuable propositions for your audience. And this is Brand Position.

We should keep in mind that the target audience for your brand should be either your current customers or potential new ones, your employees, your partners etc. You should carefully consider appropriate ways to communicate with each of them in order to have a message that converge to your brand identity.

Since you have to start with the final purpose in mind you should, first of all, correctly have a clear vision of what do you want your brand to be. How do you want it to be perceived? Defining a brand identity should be step one. In his “Building Strong Brands” book, David A. Aaker identifies four traps you can get into when you approach the development of the brand identity: Continue reading

10 Ways To Distinguish Yourself From The Competition

Karen Post, also known as Branding Diva and author of Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands That Stick in Your Customers’ Minds is giving advice in a Fast Company article on how to distinguish your business from the competition..

Based Jack Trout’s notes in his bestselling book Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition that:

choosing among multiple options is always based on differences, implicit or explicit. Psychologists point out that vividly differentiated characteristics anchored to a product can enhance the public’s memory of it because they have added uniquely to the mind of the consumer, the product thus appreciating intellectually. In other words, if you are promoting a product or service, give the consumer a reason to choose it.

the article is presenting 10 ways and examples to help discover points of difference for your brand:
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2005 Product Placement Awards

A successful product placement either introduces or reinforces a brand name in the audience’s mind.

In case you missed it the Brandcameo product placement awards from Brandchannel are up.

Ford, which has had roles in movies from Bullitt to Are We There Yet?, was a winner. As a large, established brand, Ford Motor Company’s placements are brand reinforcements, and reinforce Ford did. Its 19 placements in 2005 mean that Ford appeared in nearly 50 percent of all Number One films (41 total).

Also worth mentioning the Brandcameo 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award for Product Placement which goes to Gatorade.

Gatorade’s real-life sideline omnipresence has made it a sports film necessity in order to achieve a realistic scene — an enviable position for products attempting to get into films and fight the “it’s just not natural” label.

As Darren Rovell, author of First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon puts it, “If you cant use the pro uniforms, if you cant use the real players or the real coaches, having Gatorade on the sidelines immediately conveys to the movie viewer, ‘This is authentic.’ If you are making a sports movie that has any action, Gatorade is one of the most natural fits.”

Read more about it here.

6 Basic Qualitites of Brand Positioning

The right positioning incorporates strong values and differentiators that are important to your customers. Brand positioning is important in deciding where you want to position your brand within its category and relative to the competition. We mentioned here before nine positioning types you can think of:

  1. Quality positioning
  2. Value positioning
  3. Feature-driven positioning
  4. Relational positioning
  5. Aspiration positioning
  6. Problem/solution positioning
  7. Rivalry-based positioning
  8. Warm and fuzzy positioning
  9. Benefit-driven positioning

Positioning is an act of seeking, placing and optimizing something in relation to the competition in surrounding environment and is based on customer-company-competitor relationship triangle. In order to move up the ladder in the customer mind, management must follow the rules of positioning. Basic qualities of brand positioning include:

Relevance: Positioning of brand must focus on benefits that are important to people or reflect the character of the product.

Clarity: Brand should be positioned in such a way that it is easy to communicate and quick to comprehend.

Distinctiveness: In current market situation there are reasonably good number of players vying for a share in the market, forcing them to compete on the basis of price or promotion. To overcome such a situation, company needs to offer distinctiveness in its products or services.

Coherence: A brand should speak with one voice through all the elements of the marketing mix.

Commitment: Management should be committed to the position it has adopted. Once a position is adopted, it takes commitment to see it through.

Patience: Patience plays an important role in the success of brand as branding is not a one-day wonder – it takes years to position a brand in consumers’ mind.

Courage: Adopting a strong brand position requires courage as it is much easier to defend an appeal rather than generate sales pitch.

Brand Positioning Strategies

Your brand positioning is the “space” that your services and solutions occupy in the minds of your target audience. The right positioning incorporates strong values and differentiators that are important to your customers. Brand positioning is important in deciding where you want to position your brand within its category and relative to the competition. Brand Positioning permeates virtually everything we do. It is the foundation to all communications and brand strategy. It is the disciplined thinking that guides the basis for building relationships between brands and customers.

Once you determine the way in which you can reach your market, the next thing to look at is how you are going to lure your customer to try your brand.

Here is a list of nine positioning types you can think of before deciding on which one you will attach to your brand:

1. Quality positioning

Perception of quality is probably one of the most important elements for a brand to have and can be combined with any of the other prompts below.

Quality, or the perception of quality, lies in the mind of the buyer. Build a powerful perception of quality, and you will succeed in creating a powerful brand. Al Reis and Laura Reis, authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding say the best way to increase perception of quality is to narrow the company’s focus. When you narrow a product’s focus, they explain, you become a specialist rather than a generalist, and a specialist is perceived to know more, or be of “higher quality” than a generalist.

Another way to build the perception of high quality is to simply attach a higher price tag to your brand. Most people think that they know a high quality product from another, but in reality, things are not always as they seem.

Believe it or not, high price is a benefit to some customers. It allows the affluent consumer to obtain psychological satisfaction from the public purchase and consumption of a high end product. Of course, the product or service does need to have some perk or difference to justify the higher price.

2. Value positioning

Although at one time, items that were considered to be a good “value” meant that they were inexpensive, that stigma has fallen by the wayside. Today, brands that are considered a value are rising in popularity amongst consumers. Southwest Airlines is probably the best example of how a company has been able to offer discount prices and still keep a strong brand identity. In fact, most of the other major airlines have followed Southwest’s lead by rolling out value-priced flights under new, co-branded names.

3. Feature-driven positioning

More marketers rely on product/service features to differentiate their brands than any other method. The advantage is that the message is clear, and the positioning will be credible if you stick to the facts about the product. Unfortunately, feature-orientated stances are often rendered useless if the competition comes out with a faster or more advanced model.

4. Relational positioning

One of the most effective ways to create interest in a brand is to send out a positioning prompt that resonates well with potential buyers. For instance, Sketchers equates sneakers with cool and that characteristic passes to all who wear them. Apple computer, which was down on its luck in the overall computer marketplace, started asking computer users to liberate themselves from the PC camp and” Think Different.” These brands have achieved positioning based on who buys what they sell, not solely by what they sell.

5. Aspiration positioning

These are positioning prompts that offer prospects a place they might like to go, or a person they might like to be, or a state of mind they might like to achieve.

6. Problem/solution positioning

As the name implies, problem/solution prompts show the consumer how a sticky situation can be relieved quickly and easily with the brand or service. What problem/solution campaigns lack in imagination, they usually make up for in directness and credibility. For example, frozen meals cut meal preparation time to minutes. Detergents and cleansers also make good use of these prompts.

7. Rivalry-based positioning

By definition, positioning deals with how one brand is thought of compared to its obvious competitors. Therefore, the idea of a rivalry-based position might seem redundant but many campaigns take this approach. Laundry detergents, for one, are constantly going head-to-head to prove which one has the most power to lift stains.

8. Warm and fuzzy positioning

Underneath our capitalist driven needs to consume, we are still docile and emotional animals. As such, many marketers play on our feelings. In the book, Building Brand Identity: A Strategy for Success in a Hostile Marketplace, author Lynn Upshaw writes, “How people feel about a brand is oftentimes need- or desire based, which means that emotional or psychological approaches can oftentimes be very effective as positioning prompts.”

9. Benefit-driven positioning

Other brands base their entire positioning on the fact that they give back to the consumer. Discover credit card, for instance tells customers that “It Pays to Discover.” Use the card and get money back. Discover was among the first major credit cards companies to provide its users with a financial incentive for using their card.

Tag: Positioning, Brand Strategy

Positioning – what’s new?

Since we discussed earlier that positioning is one key element in creating a winning brand, there’s a another wave of opinnions which consider that rise of sophisticated and knowledgeable consumers, is the main reason for the fall of positioning. Instead, companies are adopting a new strategy that recognizes the impact of the Internet and globalization on purchasing and business behavior. Consumers now buy based on research and personal value, not how on companies seek to position their products.

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