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The Case for Positioning Versus Branding – Online Marketing

The Case for Positioning Versus Branding – Online Marketing

How do Brand and Position co-exist? Have you ever considered the difference in the two words and their impact on the success of your company and its product offerings? These and other online business ideas support these articles.

Marketing campaigns that don’t have the expected impact can be traced to a misunderstanding of market dynamics focused on branding, when the primary focus required should be Positioning. Brand and Position can be considered different sides of the same coin or like the old cliché’; “One hand washes the other.” Without placing Positioning first, brand value is not long-term, because the position is where a brand’s fundamental difference lies. Think of positioning as the purpose or the reason for being in business.

A branded campaign without a positioning strategy is like throwing your money to the wind. Said another way; most companies wouldn’t launch products without utilizing market intelligence and data, yet it’s surprising how many manufacturers fly blind folded with their brands, not taking into account that their market value will ultimately be placed at risk.

A basic mentality to understanding the difference between Position and Brand is the example: Brand is the “sizzle”, and Position is the “steak.”

Branding done solely on its own merit creates awareness, where the objective is for the market to get to know you. The simplest approach of Branding is to trigger an emotional response from the consuming audience trying to choose amongst thousands of product comparisons. For commodity products where the price is the most obvious differentiating feature in a saturated competitive field, too many marketers choose the easy way out with heavy promotion and price reductions to win sales volume. Sadly it is not usually the most profitable strategy as price has its day, but the consumer is still left with inherent questions and these will affect long-term decisions that eventually erode the brand’s value and longevity in the market place.

The quadruple threat facing those marketing in today’s world is:

• Saturated Competition

• Hyper options in choices

• Communication overload – white noise

• Price

Countless marketers, all with their own set of propositions, are competing for the same resources, Time, Attention and Money, the typical consumer has available.

In any category, the glut of choices offered is paralyzing. Recall the last time you stood staring at the many options available at the shampoo aisle. Is it any wonder we now have evolved into a condition called Choice Anxiety?

We are bombarded daily with over 4,000 messages and over 400,000 message units (individual pieces of information) thrown at the average American consumer. With so much “white” noise, the risk of your advertising not being seen is exceedingly high.

That is the key reason Positioning has to be defined and utilized, which is the carving out of a sharp focal point around your most competitive difference and planting that Difference firmly in the minds of your prospects. Dare to be different, as it counts for so much, but truly define why you are different then everyone else in the same category.

Don’t try to create a place in the world. Do not obsess about your competitors and differentiating from them. Instead, start with the question – Why? “Why do we exist?” “Why does anybody need us?” “Why are we useful?” “Why would consumers pay their hard-earned time or money?” “Why is it valuable?” Bottom line, defining a sense of purpose is going to separate you from your competitors and give you the value needed from this simple tactic.

Look at how powerful Apple’s sense of purpose and delivery of highly anticipated product launches has been in creating their growth. Or how Facebook’s greatest inventions have come from its commitment and encouragement of experimental behavior among its employees. The high-growth businesses of the future will all be, defined by their purpose.

Positioning is becoming the single most powerful concept in marketing today! To stake a position means an organization, product, or service stands for one thing in the minds of the prospect consumers. What is it you stand for? and how will it drive your market?

If you remember the sales analogy used many times over the years about steak and its sizzle. Positioning is all about the steak. Branding is about the sizzle.

Positioning is about establishing the inherent value offered by the company or product, while creating a mindset that inferentially implies the inherent weakness of your competitors in comparison. Positioning aims to define that essential point of difference you can own, to ensure consumers really know why they want your products or services over others. As the prerequisite tactic for strategic branding, positioning becomes the foundation for all brand communication.

When your Branding automatically follows your defined Position, the result of the branding effect is so much clearer in attaching the difference of your market position to your brand name, so that the name and the idea become basically one and the same.

Examples: Wal-Mart = Cheap prices. Porsche = Performance. Kenmore = Dependability.

What makes Positioning a long-term marketing advantage, is that it focuses on the most advantageous competitive difference you offer the market. Example: Redken Labs established its difference in the shampoo market, as the company supporting beauty through science in a category where everything else was just bubbles in a bottle.

Hallmarks of Positioning

o Uses core truths and competitive landscape to set the long-term direction for your brand.

o Recognizes all the P’s of marketing: Product, Price, People, Priorities, and Place, organizing them within the context of a single pervasive strategy.

o Builds trust and loyalty among your consumer base.

o Improves cost efficiencies for optimal return on investment.

o Solidifies what to do, and what not to do.

o Builds on itself by Building brand equity and establish-ing goodwill.

o Goes to the heart of the purpose. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.

o Establishes a clear set point for the continued develop- ment and evaluation of all marketing strategies.

In closing, a marketer has to be completely vested in what their understanding of current market dynamics are and utilize information that supports the difference between their Branding and Positioning strategies to impact their bottom line long-term. To initially misjudge the strategy to use in effective marketing campaigns, can and will have long-term impact to their brand in particular. People today want to know what you stand for philosophically and what you are willing to do to meet their needs. Without a strong positioning strategy, ultimately the brand will be hurt and with today’s countless choices offered to the consuming public, can be the catalyst to the demise of the brand.

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