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BRAND MANAGMENT

LESSON 23:
BRAND POSITIONING STRATEGIES

Topics Covered consider three out of the six as a purchasing choice. The
Components of positioning, Consumer segmentation, consumer may have encountered a negative experience with a
Perceptual mapping, Brand benefits and attributes, Advertising specific brand and may never consider purchasing it again, or
and Branding, Repositioning, Role of agencies in Branding, there may be a brand that simply does not stand out to the
Differential Advantage and Positioning strategies, Brand consumer and it is passed up.
Architecture. Position Or Perish!!!
Objectives Have you ever thought what makes Kelloggs different from
The learning objective: after this lecture you should be able to Maggi. The difference lies in positioning. Let us see how this
understand: magical concept plays a major role in making any brand a success
or God forbid a failure!!!
a. Brand positioning: Its meaning and scope and importance
b. Brand Positioning Strategies and how it works
After studying Service Brands and Retail Branding let us now
discuss Brand Positioning. I’m sure by now you must be
having some idea about what positioning is. You must have The concept of positioning was introduced by Al Ries and Jack
also studied it in Marketing course. Let us discuss brand Trout in 1969 and was elaborated in 1972.
positioning in detail. To understand the concept of positioning we can consider the
human mind as consisting of a perceptual map with various
Introuction
brands occupying different positions in it. This concept of
The famous ‘5 p’s’ of marketing folklore (product, place, price, perceptual space forms the theoretical basis for brand position-
promotion & packaging) were fine tools for implementing ing. What this leads to is the perception of the consumer, which
packaged goods brand positionings - and the basic formula still decides the positioning of any brand. It is important to note
has its role in FMCG assignments. But today we are entering that what a marketer does is to find a position for its brand in
the era of customer brands where ‘company’ and ‘brand’ are the perceptual space of the consumer and place it at the most
one and the same. In this scenario the company culture & lucrative point. Hence, Positioning is not what you do to the
values become a crucial factor in the solution: finding and product, it is what you do to the mind of the prospect. It is a
harnessing what’s there already or setting out to create values new approach to communication and has changed the nature of
and practices which support and manifest the positioning. advertising. It can be of a product, service, company or oneself.
Why is Defining the Positioning So Important? The perception of a consumer is a function of consumer’s
Running a brand is like conducting an orchestra. Positioning is values, beliefs, needs, experience and environment. Thus as per
the heart of competitive strategy. The messages transmitted by Subroto Sengupta “the core thought behind brand positioning
everything from the advertising to phone calls with your -the idea that each brand (if at all noticed) occupies a particular
customer care department all need to be kept in harmony and point or space in the individual’s mind, a point which is
on-brief. Without a clear, single-minded definition of what the determined by that consumer’s perception of the brand in
brand is about the messages rapidly become discordant and question and in its relation to other brands”.
confusing. The positioning statement is therefore a focusing Thus, in the perceptual map, the spatial distance between the
device which helps brand management to keep everything sharp points on which brands are located reflects the subject’s
and relevant. perception of similarity or dissimilarity between products or
Identifying where a specific brand is placed within the market- brands.
place and its relationship to competitive brands, brand The basic approach of positioning is not to create something
positioning is determined by defining the brand’s benefits to new and different but to manipulate what’s already up there in
the consumer, opportunities for which the brand is best suited, the mind, to retie the connections that already exist. In commu-
the brand’s target audience, and who its main competitors are. nication, as in architecture, less is more. The only answer to the
or us to achieve the benefits of brand positioning, it is necessary problems of an over communicated society is positioning.
to research in-depth the market position (or lack thereof) of the Positioning is an organized system for finding a window in the
brand. Brand maps and forms are created to profile the brand mind.
positioning, comparing the results with competitive brands. The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to be first in a
In realizing the benefits of brand positioning, it is important to particular category. If you are not the first then you have a
understand that not all brands are competitors. A consumer positioning problem.
may be presented with six brands of one product and only

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The origin of positioning comes from two preceding 7-Up also exhibits the importance of positioning in the success

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phases: of a brand. Originally considered as a mixer for hard drinks, it
The product era: - The product features and customer benefits was later positioned as an Un-Cola soft drink. The result was
were of importance. With technology being easily available, the that it became the third largest soft drink after Coke and Pepsi.
product was no longer the Unique Selling Proposition. As Trout and Ries say
The image era: - In this phase the reputation and image of the “You will not find an un-cola idea inside a 7-Up can. You find it
company became more important than the product. But the inside the cola drinker’s head.”
similar companies sprung up and this advantage was no longer Aaker considers positioning so central and critical that it should
a distinct one. be considered at the level of the mission statement representing
The positioning era: - To succeed in today’s over communi- the essence of the business.
cated society a company must create a position in the prospect’s Robin liquid also exhibits the criticality of positioning. The
mind, a position takes into consideration not only the compa- brand facing stiff competition from Ujala today made a
nies own strengths and weakness, but those of competitors as comeback after detergent powders took Blues for a ride with
well. In the positioning era as stated earlier, you must be the their arrival. For the manufacturer what make it special are
first to get into the prospect’s mind. attributes such as “flourescer” and “ultramarine” but for a
The ladders in the mind: - In a particular category, people have housewife what matters is that “washing powders take away the
learned to rank the products and brands in the minds e.g. In dirt but Robin liquid gives clothes that extra coat of white”.
soft drinks, we generally have Coke followed by Pepsi followed So this is how we get going-
by Thumsup. Thus if a new soft drink is to be introduced, the
We plot not only consumer perceptions but also preferences of
company must decide upon the way it will position itself viz.
a given consumer segment in a particular category or product
the product ladder position.
market. Consumers express such preferences in terms of the
Positioning a company:- You can also apply Positioning to an benefits, whether they are getting the benefit, if it is important-
organisation in general. The companies who have a high to what extent, are they missing something. These are what we
position in the minds of the prospect i.e. the students mind call IDEAL POINTS on a perceptual map.
absorb the cream of the crop from institutes. Similarly compa-
Thus this gives us the idea as to how close we are to where we
nies visit only those campus who have a high position in the
should be, that is, the position of our brand on the perceptual
mind of the company (the company becomes the prospect in
map vis-à-vis the ideal points. The next implication of the
this case.)
mapping is that it earmarks the vacant spaces on the perceptual
The whole concept now boils down to creating a perception for map, which are nothing, but opportunities which can be
your brand in the prospect’s mind so that your brand stands exploited for positioning. Thus identify the gaps which new or
apart from the competing brands and provides the consumer repositioned products can fill by offering what current products
with what he wants. do not provide. This gives us the skeleton for making the
Thus speaking comprehensively, positioning is a function of strategy for future.
1. Perception it brings about in the mind of target consumer. Thus positioning is both difficult as well as simple because as
2. Functional and non-functional benefits associated with the Al Ries and Jack Trout say” Most positioning programs are
product. nothing more or less than a search for the obvious”.
3. Perception of the competing brands held by the target So position well —IT CAN CROWN OR DROWN YOUR
consumer. BRAND
Now let us see an example of how company studies the market Source: By Amar T and Vikram J of JBIMS
left, right and centre before introducing a brand. Maggi noodles
define the strategy, which clearly shows how far can positioning
help in making a brand a success. The brand was introduced in Prospecting for Positionings

Delhi in 1983. The brand was a big success. Annual target for In marketing the consumer is king - but the idea that consumers alone should
that market was increased from 50 to 600 tons and it was no dictate brand positioning has always been

less than a battle for Nestle. an over-simplification! Customer feedback via research is vital - but to this has to
be added analysis of the company

What Did Maggi Do? and its inherent capabilities, plus an sharp understanding of the competitors already
in the market - their strengths and
The market results show it found a weak spots
vacant, strong position and sat on it as
Positioning key points:
“good to eat, fast to cook” anytime
Ø It is a strategic, not a tactical, activity
snack. On the other hand Kelloggs Ø It is aimed at developing a strategic, sustainable competitive advantage
positioned itself as a nutritional Ø It is concerned with managing perceptions
breakfast only. Today no one even Ø Brand image and reputation are the result of the positioning process
thinks of taking Kelloggs corn flakes in
the evening.

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What makes a great brand


What makes a great brand
A Great Brand Invents or Reinvents an Entire Category - The common A Great Brand Is In It For the Long Haul - In an age of enormous choice
goal you find among brands like Disney, Apple, Nike, Taj Mahal Tea, Brooke for both retail and commercial consumers of goods and services and growing
Bond Coffee, Pepsodent toothpaste and TVS Victor, is that these companies clutter in the business marketplace, a great brand is a necessit y, not a luxury. If
made it an explicit goal to be the protagonists for each of thei r entire you take the long-term approach, a great brand can travel worldwide,
categories. Disney is the protagonist for fun family entertainment and family transcend cultural barriers, speak to multiple client segments simultaneously,
values. Apple was the protagonist for the individual: anyone could be more
and let you operate at the higher end of the positioning spectrum-- where you
productive, informed, and contemporary. In these cases, the brand transcends
can earn solid margins over the long term.
movies or computers. A great brand raises the bar-- it adds a greater sense of
purpose to the product or service experience.
A Great Brand Knows Itself - Anyone who wants to build a great brand has
A Great Brand Taps Into Emotion - Everyone wants their product or service to first understand who they are. The starting point is identifying the unique
to be the best in its class. But the common ground among companies that have essence of the product, the company. Then that essence should be tested
built great brands is not just performance. They recognize that consumers live against how the consuming public for that product or service perceives it, what
in an emotional world. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. Not they like or dislike about the brand, and what they associate as the very core of
many people sit around talking about the flow of language in a contract, but the brand concept.
they will sit around and talk about Michael Jordan's winning shot in a playoff
game. That’s what a great brand does. It reaches out with a powerful
connecting experience Case Study

Done right, branding becomes the centerpiece of a strategic


Discussion Questions
marketing plan. This allows the firm to weave the brand essence
into all facets of a marketing program including internal 1. Apply the categorization model to a product category other
communication, external communication, training, technology, than beverages. How do consumers make decisions
advertising, public relations, responses to proposals and regarding whether or not to buy the product and how do
competitions, and all collateral materials. Let’s face it- branding... they arrive at their final brand decision? What are the
it’s not just for cows anymore! implications for brand equity management for the brands in
the category? How does it affect positioning for example?
The financial services category is another good category to
examine. Banks and brokerage firms offer consumers
What makes a great brand similar services within their respective categories, but they
A Great Brand Is a Story That is Not Completely Told - A brand is a story that's differ on many levels, including price, level of service,
evolving all the time.
comprehensiveness, special features, and incentives. It is
Great Brand Has Design Consistency - This, of course, is obvious. That
great design can bring a brand to life goes without saying. important for all financial services brands to provide trust,
A Great Brand is Relevant - A brand is not trendy. Trendy things fail over time. dependability, and income generation as points-of-parity;
The larger idea for a brand is to be relevant. It meets what people want; it performs
the way people want it to. For law firms, that means being in touch with clients and
points-of-difference may be customer service, ease of use,
constantly understanding their changing needs location, or Internet accessibility.
Every firm that decides to move ahead with a branding process wi ll find the
process that works best for it. Different marketing folks will h ave different 2. Pick a brand. Describe its breadth and depth of awareness.
methods. Great brands have several characteristics in common.
Answers may vary.
Scott Bedbury, best known for creating Nikes' "Just Do It" campaign and now
a Senior VP at Starbucks, has identified eight characteristics of a great brand. 3. Pick a category basically dominated by two main brands.
If your firm is considering creating its brand, these characteristics can serve as
a guide. Because whether your brand is sneakers or coffee, your unique Evaluate the positioning of each brand. Who are their
essence makes it happen target markets? What are their main points-of-parity and
points-of-difference? Have they defined their positioning
correctly? How might it be improved?
Some two-brand dominated categories include ready-to-
drink orange juice (Tropicana and Real), batteries (Eveready/
Energizer and Duracell), ketchup (Heinz and Kissan), and
light bulbs (Suryaand Philips).
4. Can you think of any other negatively correlated attributes
and benefits? Can you think of any other strategies to deal
with negatively correlated attributes and benefits?
Other negatively correlated attributes might include
advanced technology vs. ease of use; sophisticated vs.
generally available; elegance vs. utility; ease of maintainence
vs. complexity; stylish vs. common.
5. Think of one of your favorite brands. Can you come up
with a brand mantra to capture its positioning?
Answers may vary.

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Brand Positioning Brand Positioning

Brand Positioning
Liberty Shoes shifts positioning from ‘family brand’ to ‘fashion
brand’
December 20, 03, Jasmeen Dugal
In the Rs 1,200-crore organized footwear market in India, the
previously unassuming Rs. 300-cr Liberty Shoes is fast becom-
ing a trendsetter. Releasing over 115 designs encompassing the
latest trends in the international markets, supported by a high
decibel advertising campaign, Liberty has kick-started an
aggressive promotional campaign. The company’s sponsorship
of fashion-related activities and tie-ups with fashion institutes,
reflect Liberty’s change in positioning from a ‘family brand’ to a
‘fashion brand.’
After signing on as Associate Sponsor for LIFW 2003, Liberty is
now collaborating with Pearl Academy of Fashion for a design
talent promotion and Continuum’03 – the 10th anniversary
celebrations of the institute.

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Is this a focused initiative to position Liberty as an umbrella
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brand that has become more fashionable in tune with the


evolving market needs? Replies Anupam Bansal, Director
(Branding & Retailing), Liberty Shoes, “Liberty has an entirely
new spectrum of products that the new generation likes to be
seen in. To help make it happen are a young and enterprising set
of designers from leading fashion institutes like Pearl Academy
who have become a part of Liberty to ensure that the focus
remains on changing lifestyles, attitudes and developments in
global fashion.”
This weekend, Pearl Academy and Liberty Shoes have organized
‘Continuum 03’ – a three-day celebration to commemorate the
10th anniversary of the fashion institute. The Continuum
features seminars on ‘Retail and Branding’ and ‘Costume
Designing for films and theatre’ respectively, and a showing of
graduating students’ collections. Additionally, Liberty Shoes has
instituted a rolling trophy at Pearl Academy to recognize the
institute’s design talent every academic year. Comments A. K. G.
Nair, Executive Director, Pearl Academy of Fashion, “Compa-
nies such as Liberty Shoes are a role model for appreciating and
utilizing the talent of the current generation of designers
produced by the Pearl Academy of Fashion.”
Notes

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