Brand Positioning: the key to success

Sooner or later, every brand needs to deal with brand positioning, yet another marketing term to express how a company is perceived from the outside. 
When what is perceived differs from what we want to project, there might be a contrast between our values and image, making it hard to reach the appropriate target and hindering effective communication. 

Brand Positioning in short:
Brand Positioning represents the overall picture of a company for the public. That is something crucial to keep in mind if you want your communication to be coherent and impactful.

Why is Brand Positioning essential?

Numerous companies were funded by entrepreneurs without a clear and forward-looking vision. These businesspeople managed to build their brands only with ideas and effort.
That does not mean the necessity to improve one's image comes from past mistakes: people change, and so do values and collective needs. 
In particular, many of the most known businesses went through repositioning to stay relevant or adapt to the evolution of the markets. For instance, the current focus on sustainability made many brands rethink their communication approach to follow this global trend.

More on alignment.
Coherence between a company and its communicated image is paramount. In relation to the last example, when a business pretends to care for the environment but does not pledge to it, its reputation is in jeopardy because of what is commonly referred to as greenwashing.

How can you assess your brand positioning?

If you are willing to understand your brand positioning, you must follow a few steps, complex yet essential. 
First things first, you should start with your identity and be aware of your:

  • Target audience: your potential clients and customers and what they have in common. In other words, what is your niche?
  • Value Proposition: who are you in terms of values, opportunities, services, and benefits offered?
  • Competitive advantage: what makes you unique or better than your competitors and allows you to stand out?

Now that you know where to start, you can evaluate what could be the reasons to modify your communication. 
For example, you might want to change it if:

  • your brand positioning does not reflect the received results because the target is out of focus or your communication is ineffective for that specific target;
  • your brand is less memorable or successful due to new competitors or a shift in the values expected by the audience. 

How to reposition a brand: Three Case Studies

Let's analyze three successful examples to understand target, image, and product repositioning.

Apple - Target repositioning
At first, Apple wanted to bring a computer to every home, leveraging the ease of use and intuitive design to captivate the masses. After the initial success, Apple decided to reposition itself as a premium brand with above-average prices and unparalleled quality. Apple became an object of desire and a token of social status. The company kept its products coherent while changing its target and increasing profits. 

Starbucks - Image repositioning
In the beginning, Starbucks concentrated on the quality of its blends, developing communications strategies to highlight its product quality. Later, the brand realized what was really its most precious asset: its venues. Its communication focused on the stores: beautiful places where people met, worked, and talked together and represent now some of the most renowned coffee shops around the globe. 

Toyota - Product repositioning
Toyota was one of the first manufacturers who understood the importance of electrification. The company rewrote its story moving from a brand with a competitive price-quality ratio to a sustainable innovator addressing an exclusive target. 
When the market evolves, you might want to reconsider your target, image, products, or all these three dimensions.

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