Ideas & Positioning

– Al Reis & Jack Trout

Technically speaking, the definition of “brand” would simply be the name, design, symbol or unique feature of a product that lets a consumer identify one seller’s product / service as distinct from those of others. A “brand” is probably one of the most important intangible assets that a business may have. A “brand” should be created carefully and nurtured in such a way that it represents the organization & resonates with the target audience. Creating a brand doesn’t happen in isolation – one of the steps involved in creating a brand is developing your “brand positioning”.

Brand positioning is essentially the space in the consumer’s mind that a company would like to occupy. It is the first thing you would like your consumers to think of whenever they see / hear your brand name. Brand positioning is the most important step that a brand can take to tread on the road to brand development & success. However, it is a concept so simple & understated that organizations often find it difficult to understand how powerful it can be.

Brand positioning doesn’t only give consumers a greater reason to believe in your brand but also gives you flexibility for future growth & development beyond your current offerings. It becomes the very foundation on which you can build your brand’s experience & implement it in your marketing plan.

Foolish believes a brand positioning statement should be a complete story. Your brand positioning story should have these elements:
• Uniqueness & believability
• Objectively attainable
• Difficult to emulate
• Admirable & engaging
• Timeless
• Extendable

To us, brand positioning is not just about facts, but about incorporating emotions into facts. And that is why, to complete the brand positioning story, Foolish follows a step by step process that starts by evaluating the facts:

Identify direct competition – This first step tells you who you are up against. Are other players way smaller than you are? Or bigger? Is competition’s offering exactly the same as yours or do you have a unique feature that sets you apart? In today’s competitive world a unique feature will quickly be lapped up by competition as well, rendering your Unique-Selling Proposition hardly unique by itself. This competitiveness makes it even more important for you to earmark your unique proposition & position yourself in the market to reap the benefits of a relevant & emotionally driven differentiation.

Evaluating competition positioning – Positioning is always relative. If you don’t know what your competitors stand for, how relevant & unique can your positioning truly be? Evaluate your competitor’s positioning and understand why they adopted such a positioning. Understanding what emotional benefit does competition’s positioning offer the consumer is the key element in this step.

Evaluate & deep dive into own positioning – In case you already have a current brand positioning, evaluate & understand what benefit is the consumer deriving out of it? Are they completely happy, is every need – gap fulfilled or do you have scope to offer a greater reason to believe?

Analyze own positioning with respect to competition’s – This is possibly the most important step when evaluating the facts. Analyzing all of competition’s positioning as well as yours will let you identify the gap that exists in the consumer’s mind. We identify the elements of a consumer’s mind that have been occupied and then analyze the aspects that are still left to explore. This step opens doors to discover all positioning opportunities that you can explore.

Dwell on existing gaps – After identifying all the possible need gaps that you can adopt to create a brand positioning, narrow down on what you would like to stand for & want consumer’s to relate you with. Research plays a pivotal role in this analysis. The narrowing down process lets us choose the best possible route to adopt for your brand and turn it into a future brand positioning.

But is this all? Do these steps lead us to an amazing brand positioning? No, infact, this is simply half the story. The other half is about exploring emotions and creating the “idea”. No matter how accurate factual analysis & its result is, if the execution isn’t strong and does not connect with the consumer, the sole purpose of building a positioning gets defeated. While most others are of the opinion “creativity sees no logic”, at Foolish, creativity is an art with a scientific process. Ideas are not statements pulled out of the air, but the result of a scientific process.

We follow the route of discovery, definition & development.
Discovery lets us deep dive into the needs and attitudes of potential consumers, based on the positioning defined above.
Defining the discovery is where the brand essence originates. It lets us evaluate the connects and disconnects between what the consumer desires and what the brand can promise and what it can’t.
Developing is the process of creating the end product – the TVC, the print ad or the POS activity that the consumer will eventually see.

Combining facts & rational thoughts with ideas & emotional gratification is the key to developing a brand positioning that will stay with your brand forever – it will grow with your brand, evolve with changing times and resonate in the consumer’s mind each time they think of you.

Identifying a brand positioning & creating an idea that is true to that positioning is as important to creating a brand as creating a brand is to an organization.