Strategic brand positioning: A long-term vision for success

Creating a place for your brand in consumers’ hearts and minds is both art and science. Consider taking these steps to strategically position your products.

May 31, 2024

4 Min Read
Brian Bekins is the creative director at ddm marketing + communications
Brian Bekins

Strategic brand positioning serves as a cornerstone for enduring success, transcending day-to-day tactics to shape a lasting identity for organizations. A value proposition focuses on convincing customers by highlighting unique benefits and values, while a brand positioning statement guides how a company wants to be perceived in the market and amongst its competitors.

A meticulously crafted brand position will endure beyond day-to-day tactics and individual campaigns. Crafting a unique value proposition is as much an art as it is a science; it underscores the importance of understanding and aligning with audience needs over time. 

Strategic positioning is the foundation upon which a brand's identity is meticulously built. Successful companies owe their prominence to a robust brand positioning strategy that goes beyond being different from the competition to be perceived as favorable, valuable, and credible in the minds of customers and prospects.

How to craft a brand’s position

At the core of strategic positioning lies a compelling value proposition. Your brand's value proposition should not merely showcase what your company does but, more importantly, communicate the unique benefits it brings to its audience's lives. Analyzing competitors is crucial in this phase, not just for differentiation but to identify untapped opportunities and areas where your brand can shine. 

Related:Accounting for impact: Why every food brand needs to make this change

Via HubSpot: “Chances are, after you conduct competitor research, you'll begin to see patterns. You'll start to see some businesses that have the same strengths and weaknesses. As you compare your product or service to theirs, you might find one of their weaknesses is your strength. This is what makes your brand unique—and it's the perfect starting point for positioning your brand in the market.”

Align with audience needs

Strategic positioning is not a one-time effort, but instead requires ongoing evaluation and adaptation. A strategically positioned brand aligns seamlessly with the needs and aspirations of a defined audience. Consistency is key. So is authenticity: When a brand is in touch with its audience, the two will go hand-in-hand. 

From visuals to messaging, every touchpoint should reinforce your brand's unique position. Success is defined by the resonance and connection created with the audience. But how does an organization measure resonance and connection? 

Implementing and measuring KPIs

Define key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with your company’s goals: increased awareness, improved market share, or enhanced customer loyalty, for example. While KPIs are crucial for quantifying the effectiveness of your brand positioning strategy, an often-overlooked facet of success lies in message testing. Crafting a compelling positioning statement is vital, but ensuring resonance with your audience is equally crucial. 

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Regularly test your messaging across various channels to gauge its impact, solicit feedback and adapt your strategy based on audience reactions. This iterative process ensures continuous alignment with evolving audience expectations, fostering lasting impact and influence.

Integrating message testing alongside traditional KPIs creates a holistic approach to success measurement. Beyond numerical targets, consider qualitative factors such as brand perception and emotional resonance. Establish a structured feedback collection process to iteratively refine your positioning statement, ensuring that it not only meets but exceeds audience expectations. By combining quantitative metrics with qualitative insights, you can navigate the dynamic market landscape and solidify your brand as a memorable and influential force in your industry.

Types of brand positioning strategies

There are many brand positioning strategies out there, such as customer service, convenience-based, price-based, quality-based, differentiation and others. Understanding these five strategies can help you tailor your approach to highlight your company's competitive advantage and address your competition's shortcomings:

  • Customer service strategy—Highlights exceptional service, emphasizing friendliness, competency, and efficiency. Success requires consistent delivery and timely resolution of issues to maintain trust.

  • Convenience strategy—Focuses on making products or services more user-friendly or accessible. Brands attract busy consumers but must align with expectations.

  • Price strategy—Positions as the most affordable option to build a large customer base. Risks include quality perception and potential price wars.

  • Quality strategy—Emphasizes superior craftsmanship or sustainable practices, targeting consumers willing to pay a premium.

  • Differentiation strategy—Relies on uniqueness or innovation, attracting consumers valuing groundbreaking products or services. Requires overcoming skepticism.

This 10-point checklist can serve as a step-by-step guide to strategizing your brand positioning:

  1. Determine your current brand positioning. Assess how your brand is currently perceived.

  2. Create a brand essence chart. Develop a visual summary of key brand elements.

  3. Identify and research your competitors. Analyze competitors to find differentiation opportunities.

  4. Identify your brand’s unique value proposition. Define what sets your brand apart.

  5. Build a brand positioning matrix. Develop a structured strategy outline.

  6. Create a positioning statement. Craft a concise statement highlighting your unique value.

  7. Establish an emotional connection. Connect with audiences on a personal level.

  8. Reinforce brand qualities in sales. Emphasize unique qualities consistently in sales.

  9. Create value. Deliver products or services that exceed expectations.

  10. Ensure employees embody brand. Train staff to reflect brand values consistently.

By following these steps, organizations can be strategic about their brand positioning and create a lasting market position that will weather a variety of economic conditions and business landscapes.

Brian Bekins is the creative director at ddm marketing + communications, a leading B2B digital marketing agency for highly complex and highly regulated industries. Brian has more than two decades at ddm, where he oversees marketing decisions for clients across many industries with projects that include branding, ad campaigns and product launches.

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