Remember those terrible '90s Canon EOS Rebel commercials with Andre Agassi and his super sweet mullet? You know, the ones where he would peer over his dark sunglasses and say, "Image is everything!"
We all know there are very few marketing strategies that trump a well-placed mullet, but honestly, Canon was right on.
In marketing, image is everything. It's what attracts consumers to your brand and sets you apart from your competition. It's your messaging, your imagery, but most of all, it's your brand positioning. In other words, it's the process of establishing your brand in the minds of consumers.
This might seem like a natural process, but for most successful brands, this process is a well-thought-out strategy that takes time and effort. So, how is your brand positioned? What sets your brand apart from your competitors? How is your brand positioning reflected in your outward appearance? If you don't know the answers to these questions, it's probably time to assess.
Why Does Brand Positioning Matter?
What's the big deal about brand positioning? Brands that are presented consistently can see an average revenue increase of 10-20%. Consistently presented brands are also 3.5 times more likely to find better brand visibility than those with an inconsistent brand presentation. By establishing brand positioning (and making sure everyone in your organization adheres to it), your marketing will be more recognizable and more effective.
To make sure your marketing is reflective of your brand, here are a few signs that you may need to go back and evaluate your brand's position in the marketplace and in the eyes of consumers.
You don't have a brand positioning statement
If you don't currently have a brand positioning statement, it's time. Many businesses start without a clear understanding of this, and it often results in missed opportunities to market your business better. Not to mention, it's an incredibly helpful process to go through for your team, helping you better define your brand's values, audience and personality. It gives you time to reflect on who you are and how you make the world better.
You're using a tagline as a brand positioning statement
A tagline is a great marketing tool as an external representation of your brand. It's catchy, short and memorable. However, it's not a brand positioning statement. On the contrary, your brand positioning statement is the internal statement that dictates who you are, how you are different, and why consumers are attracted to you. This statement will be at the core of all of your marketing, but it isn't usually shared with the public. Instead, it should inspire future taglines and any brand messaging created after its development.
Your branding is missing the mark
There are a few positioning mistakes you can make that have a negative impact on your brand. Here are a few examples from Management Study Guide:
- Under positioning - Customers have a blurred and unclear idea of the brand.
- Over positioning - Customers have limited awareness of the brand.
- Confused positioning - Customers have a confused opinion of the brand.
- Double Positioning - Customers do not accept the claims of a brand.
If you find this to be true after surveying customers or others who come into contact with your brand, it's probably time to reevaluate your brand positioning.
You've changed, but your brand hasn't
While the consistency of brand is important, sometimes companies make large shifts in culture, products or services over several years, and a rebrand is in order. If the brand you established 10 years ago doesn't quite match up with who you are now, it might be time to start fresh. This doesn't necessarily mean that everything about your brand – like your logo – needs to change. But it's worth taking a look at what's still working and what's not.
The most important thing is that your brand positioning is authentic to your business and internal culture. The more authentic you can be in your brand positioning the more natural your marketing will be.
You Haven't evaluated your competition
To understand where your brand fits into the market, you need to have an honest evaluation of your competition. What sets you apart? What do they do better? What do you do better? Don't be afraid of your competition, just understand the best ways to differentiate your brand from theirs. Find out how you serve a slightly different audience, where you can offer better deals and prices, or where you go above and beyond with customer service. This is key to creating an effective brand positioning statement.
Your statement is focused solely on low prices
Everyone likes to save money, but being the "Walmart" of your industry isn't always the best look. Don't believe me? Check out the People of Walmart. The lowest price model rarely works over a long period of time. Plus, many people are willing to pay more for something better or different. Rather than having the lowest prices, maybe you're the most sustainable, the easiest to use or the longest lasting. There are a variety of things you can be the best at, so think beyond pricing.
Lack of consistency
Setting some brand standards for logos, colors, fonts, and imagery will help your brand establish some consistency. By not using the same marks, styles, voice in messaging you are creating a brand that appears confused. When compared to the competition, consumers will gravitate toward the brand that offers a professional presentation and clearly established standards.
Do any of these issues ring a bell? Take a look in the mirror and give your marketing a test. Review your brand positioning to see if you are satisfying any of these 7 items. In the long run, it will help you develop a stronger brand.
If you found this blog helpful, check out these other related topics:
- The Six Essential Elements of a Brand
- 6 Essential Tips for Making Your Nonprofit Brand Succeed
- 4 Questions to Ask When Branding a Destination