A Way to Rise Above the Static
Positioning should begin with a knowledge of your competition, their strengths and weaknesses. Then factor in the ways you can differentiate your offerings from those competitors. Build a consistent and long-range brand by promoting the difference your product or service makes through all the branding elements: name, tagline, messaging, graphics, spoke persons, events, sales process, customer service, policies and activities. Positioning means being known for something – something unique and valuable.
Start With a Solid Base
The brand platform consists of an analysis and documentation of key factors affecting the brand. Here are the major factors to be considered:
- Corporate objectives as identified by vision, mission and value statements
Corporate business model and corporate culture
Corporate strengths and weaknesses
Stakeholders – who they are, your priorities to then and their judgements
Prospects – profile their niches, incomes, activities, current preferences
Customers – profile their niches, incomes, activities, current preferences
Industry description, technological factors, history and trends
Product category description – age, competitive nature, trends, life cycle
Competitor profiles, history, finances, structure, distribution
Competitive products – line extensions, pricing, niche targets, branding
With this knowledge at hand, analysis can begin. Here is where we begin looking for gaps that are not well served, for weak competitive positions, for barriers to entry, for attractiveness of the category, for ways in which our brand can be differentiated – in meaningful ways. Once compelete, we can begin the process of creating a differentiated brand.
Now Create the Tower to Success
Now is the time to make sure the product will fulfill the promise of the differentiator. NOTE: This is not the job of the advertising agency. This is an inside job to develop a product that will meet or exceed customer expectations, that will fulfill the brand promise. Once there, the external branding elements can be created – name, packaging, taglines, website, literature, ads and commercials. All of these activities should be governed by a brand manual, derived from the decisions derived from the brand platform. Everyone marching to the same drummer to acheive a cohesive, consumer-oriented brand.
It’s not easy. But in today’s competitive arena, it’s imperative.
If you would like to know more about creating a differentiated product, I suggest a book that might be a real eye-opener: Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne.
And if you’d like some guidance in developing your brand platform and brand manual, I can help. Just contact me here.