Brands occupy space in the mind of the customer. The notion of positioning is a very important concept in product branding. Positioning is really creating a space in the mind of the customer that you can own, and that is not directly under threat from competitors.
The simplest way to think about positioning is to determine the key buyer criteria for your segment. What are the factors that buyers use in comparing products? It could be price, speed, quality, local availability, support, or any one of many possibilities. You need to figure it out. Then look at how your product and your competition stack up against those criteria. Look for “white space” that you can occupy, so that your product offers something unique.
It’s clear from this analysis that you can’t be all things to all people. There’s no product that does everything right for everyone. I love my iPhone, but I know that it’s not the right phone for everyone – some want a cheaper phone, some don’t want data; some want push-to-talk. The iPhone has its position in the market; other products occupy different niches.
The creation of an attractive, defensible position for the brand
is a fundamentally important aspect of brand development.
Not everyone wants or needs the same things. This is a very simple model for understanding who needs to hear what in the value chain. Companies like IBM and Coca-Cola spend a ton of money and effort making sure that they reach not only the consumer, but also their distribution channel. Each of these three arrows shows a communications path through which specific benefits must be conveyed. We communicate with the end user directly; we support the channel in their dealings with the customer, and we engage in activities to directly motivate the channel to do their best for us.