Has your brand still got what it takes?Positioning your brand can be tricky. Brands are typically positioned according to the features that set them apart from the competition - the points of difference. But a brand should first be established within a frame of reference - the market for your brand, and its competition.
Many companies overlook the points a brand has in common with its competitors. Customers compare new brands or brand extensions with what's already in the market. It helps them establish what a product or service is, what it does, and what's in it for them.
There are six questions brand-owners should ask themselves:
- 1 What is my brand's frame of reference? What is the market, and what benefits do customers expect from products in this market eg time saving, durability, good looks, etc.
- 2 What are my brand's core values? Brand awareness is only effective if your brand has a clearly established position. If you don't know who you are, how will your customers? Are you known for PVC windows or home improvements? Will your brand values extend to conservatories, roofline, PVC flat roofing, alarms or garage doors? Stretch it too far and your brand becomes limp and floppy.
- 3 Do my customers really care about the benefits that I am promoting?
- 4 How easy is to copy the things that make my brand different from those around it? Claim you're the cheapest or most technologically advanced and you won't be for long. This kind of positioning will only attract competition.
- 5 How should I respond to competition? You can't ignore competition: it won't go away. But it's all too easy to concentrate on dealing with one form of competition while leaving yourself open to another. Builders' merchants compete with DIY sheds not just other merchants. Conservatories compete with kitchens, cars, and holidays for a share of the consumer's purse.
- 6 Does my brand really need repositioning? Sometimes impossible, always difficult, repositioning is usually unnecessary. It's often the brainchild of a bored marketing manager who wants to make his mark. You may need a fresh way of saying the same thing. But if the market has changed and your brand hasn't, more drastic action is required. A dose of brand Viagra may not be enough to restore your potency.
Making your brand a lasting success means re-assessing your brand and its message regularly. You can't just position your brand and leave it at that. Markets, competitors and customers are changing all the time. Is your brand still relevant to customers?
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