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.

Armed with the monolithic power of the mass media, companies could position mass-produced products to mass markets. Any measurement besides total sales was too hard, too rudimentary or too late. But now, measurement is critical, whether it takes the form of customer equity, ROMI (return-on-marketing-investment), ROMO (return-on-marketing-objective), cash-to-order cycles, retention rates or any other spreadsheet-driven metric. Despite its importance, fewer than 20% of companies surveyed have developed meaningful metrics for their marketing organizations. Over 80% of the companies surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with their ability to benchmark their marketing programs, business impact and value.

The result of focusing on positioning instead of measurability is having an unfortunate impact.

Positioning has other defects as well. The exercise is a company-driven process that reflects how companies wish to sell (“the leading provider of …”) instead of determining what – and how – customers seek to buy. Such posturing worked well in the mass economy, but the tactic is doomed to failure in, as the Economist pointed out, a customer-driven world.

“A better term for this customer-driven strategy that reflects today’s branding realities is ‘brand wikification.’”.

There are numerous advantages for brand wikification compared to positioning.

  • brand wikification is a customer-driven, not a corporate-driven, strategy, ideal in a highly-fragmented, highly competitive world where deeper relationships ultimately mean greater profits.
  • wikification forces companies to respond to customer requirements, or risk their brand. Companies can “position” themselves as customer-centric or leading providers or whatever, but the “position” means nothing if callers are put on hold for eternities.
  • wikification incorporates measurement. If you know what customers value (or how they hold you accountable), then you can measure how you are delivering against those benchmarks for accountability.

Read full article: The Death of ‘Positioning’ & the Birth of Wikification

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