Branding Insights: Brand positioning for solid competitive advantage
By Dennis de Rond, Founder / CEO of Skyne | 3-5 minute read
Warning! This article makes you see the brands around you from a different perspective. If you want to love your favourite brands the way you did before, please do not read any further. Because this article is about to reveal how your favourite brands make you love them and how you can get the same love for your brand. It is not some magical trick, but a strategic process to create a strong emotional connection with your target audience. So, if you are interested to grow your business at higher speed, then keep reading.
The origin of branding
What you might find surprising is that the rise of brands and the practice of branding are just as old as civilization. There is evidence that starting around 4,700 years ago, approximately 2700 BCE, ancient Egyptian farmers marked their livestock with a hot iron, ‘branding’ their kettle, to ensure it was clear who the owner was. The word ‘brand’ is said to originate from the old Nordic word ‘Brandr’ that means ‘fire’.
And although brands and the practice of branding evolved tremendously, in essence they serve the same purpose, to identify your brand and differentiate it from others.
Why does brand positioning matter?
The role of brands in our lives changed drastically, brands have become part of our culture. We live in a transparent and accessible world in which we interact with B2B and consumer brands all the time. We are exposed to approximately 4,000 to 10,000 ads daily, let alone all the brands we are constantly surrounded with (from our car, pencils to clothes and many more).
With so many brands to choose from, how do we decide what we buy? When it comes to purchase decisions, large or small, professional or personal, we often collect information to make up our minds. We compare alternatives on price, quality, availability, reviews and service levels. Most people describe their decision-making process as rational and logical. But the truth is that most of our purchase decisions, read 95% (!), are made subconsciously. Emotion is the most influential driver of purchase behaviour.
So, even when we compared alternatives, checked our best options, our final decision is led by our emotion, our feelings towards a brand. And that is exactly why your brand positioning matters: Your brand positioning is the place you own in the target audience’s (subconscious) mind — the benefits they think of when they think of your brand and how that is different from competitors.
To illustrate how that works, consider the following questions for a second:
- What brand is famous for its illuminated trucks during the December holidays?
- Would you buy a mobile phone from a new tech company called Banana?
- Is a $100 new Louis Vuitton bag fake or real?
- Jaccuzi, is it a product or a brand name?
- What is the Nike slogan?
The point of this quiz is to make you realize that these brands do claim their space in your (subconscious) mind, whether or not that makes you a loyal customer. Most of the brands mentioned in this quiz are amongst the best performing brands worldwide. Their brand positioning successfully captured the essence of their company and put in the right context to create relevance for their target audience and to stand out in their competitive field. Moreover, winning brands live up to their brand positioning in everything they do. Because, even with the strongest brand positioning, the place you own in your target audience’s mind is the result of your actions.
The implications for your brand
No longer does a brand consist of a logo only, a brand is part of a culture, a world beyond the products or services you sell. Whether or not you have the ambition to create the next Apple, Amazon or Coca-Cola, it is evident that a strong brand positioning is crucial to your brand’s success. A strong brand positioning establishes an emotional connection with your target audience and provides you sustainable competitive advantage, no matter if your brand is in the start-up phase or in business for 200 years, if your brand is local or international or if your brand caters to professionals or consumers.
Ready to seize your brand’s opportunities?
Examining your current brand positioning is the first step towards a winning brand. Are you ready?