One key marketing action is the positioning a brand in a marketplace. Identifying the market segment or segments a product fits into.
One very popular way of doing this for consumer products is by demographics, or for business products by company size and turnover.
Brand positioning is more than this. It is a meeting of minds and hearts.
Consumer Personality Factors
To unleash the true power of a brand it is also necessary to consider the personality characteristics of the people who are going to buy it.
The aim of this type of target marketing, is to align these personality characteristics with the benefits and features of a product.
Let’s explore some of these factors and how they could relate to a product brand.
Values and Beliefs
These are potent unconscious and conscious factors in human life. A personal concern for the environment is a value which aligns well with a product which saves energy or is recyclable.
Teenagers can identify with a product that conveys a strong sense of independence and originality.
Humans possess many attitudes which can be linked to products. These include attitudes towards social issues, material possessions, careers, the state of politics and life in general.
A product which conveys a sense of social status can appeal to buyers who use material possessions to make personal identity statements.
Humans have a powerful need to belong, to a group or tribe. This need has a high survival value, as few people survive for long on their own. These group social identities are in a sense extensions of our personal one.
If a brand can tap into a group social identity, it can gain powerful traction in the market place. There are several popular brands which do just this, such as, the sportswear manufacturer Nike, the technology company Apple and the whiskey maker Jack Daniels.
This is another market segmentation perspective. As we move through our lives, we pass through several stages of lifestyle.
This ties in somewhat with basic demographics, but it is more than that. In branding, it associates a product with the way people like to do things or experience things.
For instance, having a certain quality of bed linen can be important to some people. Owning a brand which allows people to be seen as a sporty person or a creative person may be a key buyer decision factor.
More of Me
One of the criticisms of the above arguments for the social dimension of product branding, is that it reduces individuality. How can someone claim a personal style, when it is the same look as everyone else in their tribe?
This is a fair comment.
What people in such a tribe report, is that the brand allows them to clearly express their personal values and beliefs. It is an unequivocal statement of who they are.
Or, looking at this the other way around. Without these brand monikers how would they express themselves? How would they differentiate themselves from their family and peers?
In a world of millions of people brands offer a way of carving out our own niche. They are a ready-made solution to the questions we have around who we are and what we believe in.
This is the real challenge of brand positioning. Does the brand have a clearly defined persona which can be aligned with a large enough social group to be profitable.
Brand managers that develop these strong social group alignments can go on to create lasting brand equity.