Product Positioning: Everything You Need To Know

  • Every brand strives to differentiate itself from its competitors so as to secure a permanent place in the consumers’ minds. And this is made possible through positioning.

So, what is product positioning?

  • Product positioning is establishing the product as unique in the consumers’ mind. It makes consumers view a specific product in a unique way by associating emotions, traits, feelings, and sentiments with it. These associations make the product recognizable amongst the competition clutter. 

Define the target audience & pain points

  • The first step while positioning your product has to be to define the target audience based on their demographics and behavior, such as age, gender, location, employment, and income. The best way to identify and decide on a target group is by building a consumer/buyer persona. Once you identify your target audience, determine their pain points, and what features of your product resolve their pain points, and emphasize on those benefits that make their life easy.

  • Let’s take the example of the ‘Kitna Deti Hai’ campaign of Maruti Suzuki. The company is looking at the middle class segment of the country, and the insight is that it is a segment that cares deeply about how efficient the vehicle is. It is a country that is obsessed with fuel efficiency, and the lack of good mileage is a pain point.

Define the product identity & values

  • The second step while positioning your product has to be to define what is intrinsic to your product. This might be derived from your key strengths, and when these values are defined & percolated, these serve as tangible and intangible associations that help the consumers recall and recollect your product when they go finding a solution for their problem.

  • Building an economical product is intrinsic to Maruti, so what is desirable for the target audience, is also feasible (building on the strengths of the company) and viable (offering it at acceptable rates, while also making profits).

Lacing it with a touch of creativity

  • You have a well defined target audience with a deep understanding of their pain point. It also aligns well with what is intrinsic to you, with your strengths, with what you do well. So there is clarity, now it needs a touch of creativity to hit the sweet spot. You need to say it in the language your customer understands, the manner in which your customer understands and on platforms that your customer uses. 
  • Continuing the previous example, here is where those 3 magical words come in – Kitna Deti Hai? It is a phrase that is commonly used in India, and one that is the most relatable. No matter how fancy the luxury may be, affordability and value for money is what the middle class segment deeply cares about. 
  • Every successful and memorable campaign you look at would ideally have the combination of these three – A deep understanding of the customer, aligned with the core value of the offering, and communicated in the most effective manner. 
  • Now, let’s look at the different conventional product positioning strategies that can help keep your marketing strategy accurate and grounded.

Characteristics-Based Positioning:

  • When the competition is vast and the products are similar, companies usually position their products by focusing more on product-specific features. This is characteristics-based positioning. What benefits the product poses for its customers is the key selling point in this strategy.

  • Now for instance, if we take the example of automobiles, where Toyota positions itself on reliability in the market, Porsche on performance and Volvo on safety. And these brands thus communicate this unique attribute through different marketing strategy executions.

Pricing-Based Positioning

  • This positioning strategy involves associating your product with competitive pricing. This way, consumers see you as the best and affordable option. 

Quality Based Positioning:

  • Many brands position their product on quality or prestige-based positioning. The products are often positioned as premium, rare, one-of-a-kind, luxury products. Here, the quality & the legacy are the key selling points of these products.

  • When you think of exclusivity, luxury and elegance, then you think Apple, don’t you now? The brand dominates the technology front and ensures they position themselves likewise with their marketing strategy plans.

Competitor-Based Positioning:

  • This positioning strategy involves analyzing the competitors’ marketing strategy and determining their positioning, then framing a positioning strategy that establishes your product as unique and distinct in the consumers’ eye.

  • You must have surely seen brands like Burger King and McDonalds, Colgate and Pepsodent, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, etc. roasting each other back and forth. So, where Colgate entered the market with the positioning of a family protector, Pepsodent positioned itself as a protector of kids against germs. This instigated Colgate’s move towards later positioning itself as a product that keeps the germs away from kids and protects their bright smiles.

  • So, what can you do to ensure your brand communication positions your product perfectly on the digital platforms? A few pointers you can add to your checklist.

Consistent Product Promise

  • Every brand has an offering for its audience, and the brand promises to deliver it with efficiency. So, would yours. All you need to ensure is that your marketing strategy delivers this promise or at least does not contradict this promise. Every blog post, social media post, published articles must communicate this promise to your audience effectively.

A Glimpse into Product Personality

  • All digital and social media marketing content should give the audience a glimpse into your brand’s personality, for instance, how would the brand be if it were a real person? For instance, Wendy’s is witty, Zomato is playful and Apple is sophisticated. Your audience can gauge your product’s personality from its content.

Strong Product Associations

  • Specific physical artistic contributions to the brand are known as brand associations. These include logo, name, colors, fonts, image, tagline, content strategies, etc. Your product association must strongly support your product positioning statement, only then would your audience recollect and recognize you. For instance, Zomato uses the colors red, white and black in their social media marketing communication. This ensures you recognize their creative posts anywhere, without their logo to it.

Visibility and Frequency

  • How visible and frequent are you on publishing/posting content on digital platforms? Being active in your digital communication is a must for strong positioning. The higher your visibility and frequency, the higher your recollection among your audience.

  • Having talked about all positioning strategies, no one brand necessarily positions their products using a single positioning strategy. As the market evolves, the product evolves and hence the positioning also keeps evolving. However, the core positioning remains the same, after all it is the same product with new developments.