Brand in the consumer's mind — how to position a brand for the benefit of its image

2020-03-18

Table of content

  1. Brand positioning — the way to success
  2. Brand position in the mind of the customer
  3. 7 questions about positioning
  4. First come first served

Brand positioning — the way to success

Brand positioning is influenced by internal conditions that the company can control, such as:

  1. Vision
  2. Mission
  3. Values
  4. Brand personality
  5. Brand voice
  6. Stylistics
  7. Products and services offered by the brand, processes accompanying their formation
  8. Organizational culture

And external conditions that are beyond its control:

  1. Customers — their behavior and needs
  2. Competition
  3. Market — external conditions and market trends

Although it is impossible to fully control consumers, you can position the brand in such a way as to build the brand image desired by the company in their awareness. That is why it is so important to observe the external factors influencing the brand and capture opportunities that arise from changing trends and market conditions, looking for gaps and niches.

IKEA is an example of a brand that positions itself in the minds of consumers for the benefit of its image. The entire communication, mission, vision, organizational culture and the dimensions of the marketing-mix brand are so consistent that IKEA, which has chosen to provide products that are to make everyday life easier and more pleasant for people, wins the hearts of consumers around the world. Actions such as "Might be useful” for Black Friday or the official partnership of the brand and participation in events such as the COP24 Climate Summit make the positive reception of the brand even stronger.

Companies must regularly determine the position of their brands in the minds of customers, taking into account parameters known from classic strategies and management design methods, such as the BCG matrix - a Boston consulting group from 1970, or SWOT analysis. They need to search for answers about the strengths and weaknesses of the brand, opportunities and risks posed by the market, the place of the brand in its life cycle, the expectations and preferences of consumers, their demographics, geography, cultural conditions, etc.

One of the 22 immutable laws of marketing invented by Al Ries and Jack Trout says: "It’s better to be first than it is to be better." What counts is the brand that the customer thinks about first and associates it with a given category, product, service, etc. Think about a product category, e.g. razors, and say which brand first comes to your mind? The first ones, in the minds of consumers, always win more market shares than the better ones. Conquering the market is like conquering mountain peaks — whoever did and announced it first counts. It is difficult to convince a customer that a given product is better than the one they thought of at the beginning. It is not impossible, but it requires much more resources and effort. Good brands often remind of themselves and they do it in all possible ways: Facebook posts, billboards, company gifts for customers, corporate gadgets, YouTube ads ... you name it.

What if someone already ranks first in the category in which our brand operates? W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne advise us to find our own niche in which we will be first. Let's say a woman decides to conquer Mount Everest, and after much effort, she succeeds. However, someone has already done it before her (like Edmund Hillary). Of course, this fact cannot be influenced. However, she can find her niche in which she will be first. For example, she can say (if this is true) that she is the first woman to climb Mount Everest. And if it turns out that she is the only woman who did it, we have an ideal situation, because there is no competition in this segment. It's the same with the brand.

Brand position in the mind of the customer

brand awareness

When positioning a brand on current or new markets, it is always worth asking a set of 7 basic questions, developed by Marty Neumeier, which determine the brand's compliance with the expectations and needs of customers and trends. Here they are:

  • Who, what? What is  brand and in what category it is unique
  • Why? Characteristics of the distinguishing features of the brand
  • For whom? What is the ideal customer and for whom the brand is not intended at all
  • Where? What area does the brand operate in
  • For what? What does the brand promise and what needs it satisfies
  • When? At what time can the interaction with the brand occur, what is the current trend that the brand uses for positioning
  • How much? To which price segment does the brand belong?

In spite of appearances, the answers to the above question are not the simplest. However, they are crucial to be able to define the brand's position on the market and in the mind of the consumer.

7 questions about positioning

First come first served

The revolutionary concept of branding, developed in 1981 by the great from the world of marketing — Al Ries and Jack Trout — still plays an important, if not the most important role in the existence of brands on the market. Cult, emerging, aspiring to the role of a leader, failing, giving way to the next.

Positioning is for a brand like scaffolding for a new building. The company's employees — with their actions, especially in the field of planning, marketing and sales — "climb" to the next "levels", successively building the brand and expanding the brand-consumer relationship.

Brand positioning is based on 4 dimensions that affect planning, marketing and sales:

  1. Price
  2. Product
  3. Promotion
  4. Place

It is not without reason that it resembles Philip Kotler's 1960 4P Marketing-mix strategy, described by the creator himself as "a set of tools used by companies to achieve marketing goals".

“Positioning breaks through barriers of oversaturated markets to create new opportunities."
— Lissa Reidel, marketing consultant