There are more than 333 million companies in the world1. It would not be unreasonable to say that finding a market space with low to no competition is nearly impossible. This has increased the need for businesses to invest in brand development services. Brands that do not have a clear and effective brand positioning strategy will not be able to capture significant market share.
In this article, we take a look at 3 types of approaches businesses can use for brand positioning.
Brand positioning vs value proposition
There is often some confusion among business owners regarding the difference between brand positioning and a business’s value proposition. The value proposition is the outward message that businesses communicate to their audience about how they can add value for customers. Brand positioning on the other hand encompasses all activities and messaging pertaining to how a brand places itself in the overall marketplace. Positioning is often determined via an inward evaluation.
What to do before choosing an approach to positioning
A good positioning strategy can allow even a start-up to compete with an industry giant to gain market share. A great example of this is how Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s captured market place from heavyweight Gillette.
Ten years ago, Gillette controlled 70% market share in the shaving marketplace. The Dollar Shave club was launched in 2011, and as of 2018 it had an 8% market share. Harry’s Labs, another new entry in the market, managed to capture a 2% market share. Gillette’s market share dropped below 50% largely because of these new competitors2.
Dollar Shave Club managed to quickly gain so much traction because they had an excellent brand positioning strategy. They spent time understanding the pain points of their audience, and what their audience did not like about the current products available in the market.
People were tired of paying high prices for feature-heavy razors that Gillette provided. Dollar Shave Club used a humorous tone to clearly communicate that their razors were cheaper, did not come with unnecessary features, and provided convenience as their monthly subscription model would deliver razors directly to the customer’s doorstep. The results were staggering, they rapidly gained subscribers.
This is why it is crucial to understand your audience and the competitive landscape before you choose an approach for your brand positioning strategy.
The 3 approaches to brand positioning
1. Against Brand Positioning
This is a very effective approach and is what was used by Dollar Shave Club in the example above. For this strategy to be effective, there needs to be an established competitor in your marketplace. You can leverage the brand awareness of this established competitor to gain traction for your own brand.
Dollar Shave Club pointed at Gillette and said – hey this is what these guys do and this is why we are different. Similarly, Google is an established search engine; people are aware that Google tracks a lot of information about its users. This allows a competitor like DuckDuckGo to point at Google and say – use our search engine, we don’t track your data; we give you privacy.
2. Price Based Positioning
As the name suggests, in this approach you determine your positioning based on price. You can either price low and highlight affordability, or you can price high and position yourself as a premium brand. There are pros and cons to both approaches. If you price low your audience will be wide but your margins will be very tight. Any competitor can undercut your prices and force you to compromise on quality to stay competitive.
On the other hand, if you price yourself high, you have more stability but fewer opportunities to generate sales as your audience will be smaller.
3. Leader Based Positioning
This is a great strategy if your business is on the cutting edge of technology in your sector, and has a patent or proprietary IP. In this approach, you will stake your claim as the leader in your space and proclaim that you have the best product/service. For example, Rolex and Mercedes use this type of positioning in the luxury watch and automobile segments.
It would be difficult but not impossible for a new brand to enter these markets and make a similar claim. While it would open them up to scrutiny and criticism from competitors and consumers alike. it’s not impossible for a new brand to pull this off.
Most recently, the Nothing company managed to do this with their Nothing Phone. They leveraged the credibility of their founder Carl Pei backed by high quality and innovative product design to establish their phone as a competitor for the iPhone. There are still many sceptics but the brand has managed to carve out a niche for itself.
There are many more approaches to brand positioning. If you would like to learn about these approaches, figure out which approach is right for your products/services, or get support with your brand positioning strategy, contact us at Webfx. We are a brand strategy company for businesses in Guyana with a 360-degree approach to digital marketing and brand development.
Learn more about understanding brand development for the internet age.
- Aug. 2022, “Estimated number of companies worldwide from 2000 to 2021”, Statista, [available online], available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1260686/global-companies/, [accessed Jan 2023]
- Sep. 2018, “Startups shook up the sleepy razor market. Here’s what’s next ”, CNBC, [available online], available form: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/26/startups-shook-up-the-sleepy-razor-market-whats-next.html [accessed Jan 2023]