Glossary: Positioning

The battle for your mind

WHAT?

When talking about marketing we can’t dismiss the word POSITIONING. It consists in a marketing strategy that purposes to make our brand occupy a position in client’s minds above our relative competitors. We can divide it in a good positioning (as long as represents our strengths and values) or bad positioning (when our brand is not related to our values or characteristics or is linked with bad associations). Positioning makes possible that two exact products become different in client’s eyes. For example, we can easily understand this concept in the automobile market. We don’t perceive the same way a SEAT and a VOLKSWAGEN, even thought their motors and probably accessories too, come from the same place.

WHEN and WHERE?

The concept was created in 1981, by Al Ries and Jack Trout (USA), in a book called “Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind”, which is the first book that deals with the difficulties of communicating to a sceptical, media-blitzed public. This concept describes a revolutionary approach to creating a position in the customer’s mind reflecting in it the strengths and weaknesses of the brand.

Their theory is based on the thought that the human mind has spaces that the brands have to fulfill. Of course it is very easy to achieve them if we are talking about blank spaces, the problem begins when our competitors already have taken this spaces.

brands-frame-of-reference

This concept is also created over the strong theory that the communication process has its disabilities, so we need to find a solid strategy in order to get to the costumer and stay in their mind. We want to be chosen above our competitors, for that reason it seems logical to determine which are our potencies and what are we offering.

HOW?

As Marçal Moliné once said, “position is to relate, we can’t create a brand in solitary”. This means that in order to establish our brand in our costumer’s mind we need to make associations by describing a place situation and linking concepts with the brand so that customers can associate images with it.

Brands can be positioned in many different ways in the marketplace, this are the main categories of positioning and some examples that I have considered appropriate.

  • Positioning by product attribute ⇒ Tampax Pearl (the easiest tampon’s applicator)
  • Positioning by user ⇒ Nike
  • Positioning by price ⇒Rolex
  • Positioning versus competition ⇒ Pepsi

The most common way of positioning is MAPPING or as it is also called: Perceptual Map to show in two dimensions the desired place we like our product or service to occupy in the marketplace relative to the competition and in the minds of  the target customer. By creating a coordinate axis and putting our characteristics or our values in the axis we can determinate which are the strengths that we may want to enhance to be remembered.The job of the marketer is to figure out the most important attributes or labels for each axis.

screen-shot-2014-11-23-at-17-22-57

WHY?

Positioning is the KEY. Due to the media explosion, the product explosion and the advertising explosion, brands do have a problem. A very few messages get through the costumer, so that it seems logical wanting to be in the client’s mind.

Positioning also allows us to:

  • Use leading ad agency techniques to capture the biggest market share and become a household name
  • Build your strategy around your competition’s weaknesses
  • Reposition a strong competitor and create a weak spot
  • Use your present position to its best advantage
  • Choose the best name for your product

In conclusion we can say that POSITIONING is determining the distinctive place you want your product to occupy in the marketplace relative to the competition – and the minds of the target customer.

Example:

To sum up, I’d like to add an understandable example, and to put the icing on the cake I will elaborate a Perceptual Map of Vida Festival with the following variables:

  • Price
  • Amount of people

FOTO

As we can see, Vida Festival is the perfect festival for everyone whose ready to listen to good music and enjoy the festival’s atmosphere. So that Vida Festival is the only medium festival with such good positioning, they have to focus their communication in those aspects, for example.

Marina Munar

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