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Every perceiver is, as it were, to some degree a nonrepresentational artist, painting a stricture of the world that expresses his individual view of reality. This is the core thought behind brand positioning the idea that each brand (if at all noticed) occupies a particular point or space in the individual consumer’s mind, a point that is determined by that consumer’s perception of the brand in question and in its relation to o there brands. The spatial distance between the points in that consumer’s mind reflects the subject’s perception Of similarity or dissimilarity between products and brands.

The everyday phrase, ‘poles apart’, is a simple example of how consumers position products in heir mind; for example, an electric shaver vs… A razor. In the section entitled ‘Product and Brand Positioning’ in his book, Marketing Management, Proof. Philip Kettle says: “Once the core product concept is chosen, it defines the character of the product space in which the new product has to be positioned. An instant breakfast drink means that this product will compete against bacon and eggs, breakfast cereals, coffee and pastry, and other break fast alternatives… Assume that the instant breakfast drink concept is selected. A product positioning map is shown in figure below, where an instant breakfast drink stands in relation o other breakfast products, using the two dimensions Of cost and preparation time. An instant breakfast drink stands in a distinct part of the market, its nearest competitor is cold cereal; its most distant competitor r is bacon and eggs. 24 WEBMD SEEM V Perceptual map showing the position of an ‘instant breakfast’ product in relation to other types of break fast.

Similarly, he goes on to say, a brand positioning map can be drawn using the concept o f perceptual distance to show the similarity or dissimilarity between several brands of instant breakfast alternatives as perceived by consumers recapture map showing the relative position Of three instant breakfast brand s. 24 Positioning, therefore, starts with our understanding or ‘mapping’ of a prospect consumer’s mental perceptions of products. Figure above is an artist’s impression of a consumer mind. That mind is already cluttered with numerous brand names for various categories.

It is as though the consumer has drawn his or her own mental map of his or her various wants and needs and has given different points on that map to different products and brands to satisfy those needs. If we carried the analogy of the consumer’s mental map further, we an say that the sites or positions on that map are not for outright sale, not even for a arrear lease! A brand can hope at best to occupy such a position as a tenant, for periods that will vary according to the quality and quantity of marketing efforts behind that brand.

Other would be renters are always putting forth tempting offers to the owner of the site. Brand position is the part of the brand identity and value proposition that is to be actively communicated to the target audience and that demonstrates an advantage o ever competing brands. The four salient characteristics of a brand position as reflected by the harass “part”, “target audience”, “actively communicated”, and “demonstrates advantage”. Part Of The Identity When a brand position exists, the brand identity and value prop section can be developed fully, with texture and depth.

They do not have to be concise statements of what is to be communicated, because the brand position takes on that role. For some brands, the brand identity and value proposition do combine into a compact statement that can serve (perhaps with minor adjustments) as the brand pop section. In most cases, however, the former are significantly BRB odder than the latter. To illustrate, elements that are extremely important to the identity may not play a role in the active communication strategy.

For McDonald’s, cleanliness is certainly one of the important parts of the culture and identity. It would be unlikely to be a part of the brand pop section, however, because it would not differentiate McDonald’s from its major competitors. Brand position can be changed without changing the identity or value proposition of which it is a subset. Saturn, for example, poss.. Coined itself during the first year as a world’s car. In subsequent years the position focused on a different subset of the brand identity the customer relationship based on friendship and respect.

The Eden itty or value proposition did not change just the focus of the POS action, and thus the communications program. But how does one choose which elements of the identity to include in the brand position? Three places to look are at the core identity, at points of leverage within the identity structure, and at the value proposition. Look to the Core Identity The core identity by definition represents the central, timeless sees sense of the brand. Thus the most unique and valuable aspects Of the brand are Often represented in the core identity.

Further, there should be a cluster of brand elements surrounding each core identity com opponent that (in addition to giving it richness and texture) opens up multiple execution alternatives. Finally, the brand position often should include the core identity just so communication elements do not stray from the brand’s essence. Identify Points of Leverage A brand position can be based on a point of leverage that is not neck scarily in the core identity. The Ronald McDonald character can, for example, provide a point of leverage for McDonald’s.

He is central to the focus on fun and kids, and he is also the basis for Ronald McDonald House, w ICC provides an interesting message that en genders respect and visibility. Thus a possible brand position for McDonald’s might well emphasize Ronald McDonald as “The restaurant that Ronald McDonald, with his presence and programs, makes a fun place for kids and families. (Targets and their parents! ‘ Sometimes a suburban, feature, or service can provide a point Of leverage. For example, the visible air cushion in the early Nikkei Air line served to represent the developmentally aspect o the Nikkei identity.

Sub breadfruits, and services that play this role are term deed silver bullets The Value Proposition A customer benefit that is part of the value proposition and a basis of a barnstormer relationship can be another prime candidate for a brand position. Nikkei, for example, provides a functional benefit of improved performance and a silversides benefit based on using a shoe endorsed by a celebrity athlete. An endorser such as Michael Jordan can provide the basis for a brand position as follows ‘The shoe that Michael Jordan uses to provide the extra edge of performance. Tragedienne’s athletes! ‘ The Target Audience The brand position should also target a specific audience, which may e a subset of the brand’s target segment. For example, a mountain bike company might define a target audience of serious, highly so pesticides, West Coast bikers, whereas the target segment might be a much larger group There can also be a primary and secondary target audience. Male drivers of sports sedans might be the primary target audience for Toyota Campy, but women may be an important secondary target audience.

The position strategy should thus consider the secondary audience and, in particular, not antagonize it in any way. Active Communication To say that the brand position is to be actively communicated implies hat there will be specific communication objectives focused on changing or strengthening the brand image or barnstormer re allocation. These objectives, if feasible, should be accompanied by measurement. For example, if the goal is to create or improve the “friend” relationship, an gravediggers scale could be developed using items such as “Gateway is your friend” and “Gateway will be there for you. Such scales could be used both in testing communion action programs and in tracking their impact. Brand image reflects current perceptions of a brand. Like brand Eden itty, brand position is more aspiration’s, reflecting perceptions that the tragedies want to have associated with the brand. In creating a brand position, a useful step is to compare the brand identity with the brand image on different image dimensions. Dimension Brand Identity (Goal) Brand Image (Current Reality) Product: Premium beer user Young (in spirit or body) Middleware.

Personality Fun, humorous Emotional benefit Social group acceptance (none) Functional benefit Superior flavor Us period flavor Comparison of the identity with the image will usually result in one of three very different communication tasks being reflected in a brand position statement. Any bran image can be ; Augmented (if a dimension needs to be added or strengthened) e. G. , add social group acceptance ; Reinforced and exploited (if the image associations are consistent with the identity and are strong) e. G. Reinforce fun and humor us personality ; Diffused, softened or deleted (if the image is inconsistent with the brand identity) e. G. , soften mudslingers imagery Augmenting an Image A brand image might be too restrictiveness is, it may be geared to one age group or application, while the identity points the way to adding other Segments or applications. A firm might want to market to he home as well as the office, or to those requiring style as well as durability. The brand position might therefore attempt 1. To add as associations to the brand image 2. To soften restrictive perceptions.

Clique, for example, has a strong image of being fresh, clean, and pure, with a whitecap clinical approach to skin care and cosmetics. The typical user is perceived to be a young woman with oily skin. The challenge for Clique is to maintain its current image strengths but to soften the youthful image (to make the brand accessible to mature women) and to reach out beyond the specialized focus on oily, problem kin to a broader audience. For instance, Clique would like to inject elements of elegance into the line, not to compete with the “elegant” position of competitors but to expand beyond their strong clinical position. 4 Reinforcing an Image The brand image should not dictate the position (or identity), but neither should it be ignored. Often, an effective brand position will reinforce and exploit an image strength. In fact, a decision to create a new position that does not build on a brand’s strengths is usually dif faculty and risky. Suburb’s greatest asset has been its association with awhile drive supported by the image of Suburb transporting skiers to the slopes) and the performance and safety that awhile drive affords.

At one point, an attempt was made to reposition the brand to appeal to a more general market, where it would compete more directly with the Honda Accord and Toyota Campy. The (perhaps predictable) result was that there was no longer a point of difference between Suburb and its competitors, and the effort failed. Suburb, somewhat damaged, then returned to a brand position based on its accepted image of us priority in making alliterative cars. Diffusing an Image Sometimes specifying what a brand is not is as important to the inter ritzy Of the communication program as specifying what it is.

In the comparison shown above, the beer’s brand image was of a typically middleware user, while the brand identity included younger drink errs . Specifying that the brand is not exclusively for middleware users suggests visual imagery to avoid as well as imagery to include. Demonstrate An Advantage Finally, brand position should demonstrate an advantage over com petition. The bottom line is that the position should specify a point of superiority that is a part of the value proposition. The point of advance tag should resonate with customers and be differentiations is, represent something different from what competitors provide.

Resonate with the Customer A key position objective is to develop a point of advantage that rest mates with the customer because of a compelling value proposition or because of a meaningful brands customer relationship. If the point of advantage appeal is off target, unpersuasive, or inconsequential, the result will be a weak, vulnerable brand. Strategists should seek a position that will resonate with the cuss tome to only today but for a long time into the future. A brand strategy will require substantial investments, and the return on these will be limited if the position is shortlists.

In contrast, there are nor moss payoffs to having a consistent strategy over time. Thus one goal is to create a brand identity and position that has the potential to endure. Differentiate Oneself from Competitors The brand position also needs to provide a point of difference with re specs to competitive offerings. There are several ways to differentiate. The brand can position itself against a competitor’s functional Ben fit y claiming to be superior or comparable at a lower price, or it can claim to provide a different functional benefit.

Alternatively, a pop section can be based on something other than a functional benefit emotional or silversides benefit, an organizational attribute, a brand personality, or a customer relationship. Adding a brand person laity oft en provides a key to competitive distinctiveness. Matching Versus Beating Competitors There is a natural tendency to believe that a brand needs to be us period on all dimensions. In fact, though, a more appropriate and fee Siebel goal may be to avoid having an inferior mage that is a liability.

Assume, for example, that Compass’s portable computer brand is com petting in a segment for which the primary dimensions of competition are features and company support. It may be unwise to attempt to be perceived as superior on the company support dimension, where competitors such as Dell have strong positions; rather, achieving parity or narrative might be better strategy. The goal might be to have customers believe that Compact is close enough to Dell on cuss tome support that other considerations can dictate the purchase decision and satisfaction with the product.

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