The Import Elements of Brand Positioning
The most important element to a successful brand is clear positioning. In other words, how your brand is perceived by your target market relative to the competition? It is vital to both, the success of your product, and the success of the firm, that your brand is clearly positioned and sitting in the market, exactly where you need to be.
Our Brand Development Team has pulled together both the key Framework Elements of Brand Positioning and put them into the context of a brand’s life-cycle. We’re glad you’re here and we hope the information sets your brand in the right position.
(To whet your appetite, consider the brand positioning possibilities of the below, recently developed brands from the Brandings Brand Development Team.)
Framework Elements for Brand Positioning in Four Steps:
Brand Positioning First Step: The first step in brand positioning is defining the market in which the brand will compete. It is critical to develop a clear understanding of the demographic and psycho-graphic characteristics of your target consumer. Without defining who your key target market is, your brand can become easily lost and diluted.
Brand Positioning Second Step: Next step, assess the key attributes and characteristics of the market environment in which you intend to compete. This is the stage where competitor analysis is undertaken. It’s critical to learn what it is that your firm and your competitors do well, and where you each fall short.
The Brandings Branding Experts has developed a great article specifically on this topic, Strategic Planning for Start-Ups. Here, our team has applied the principles of strategic planning to small business. Our team then delves into the process of internal and external environmental forces that condition the vision, mission, goals, objectives and action plans for a firm.
Brand Positioning Third Step: You must undertake your research to ascertain the perceptions of your brand. Furthermore, you must learn the perceptions of competitor brands by the target. Moreover, it is critical at this stage to get a realistic grasp of the perceptions of the brand.
Qualitative and quantitative research methodologies should be employed to “get into the head” of the target consumer. It is important to understand their underlying needs, the social context of their wants and a laser-sharp understanding of their attitudes, values and perceptions of the brand.
Brand Positioning Fourth Step: The brand is then positioned to align with salient market variables. The challenge for the firm is to achieve congruity between the brand and the marketplace – positioning the brand to meet the perceived wants and needs of the target consumer.
Brand Management 101: The Five Life Stages to a Brand
The process of brand management is both the art and science of creating and maintaining a brand. That means from the brands very inception, possibly on a piece of paper, and all the way through to the end of its life-cycle.
Much like a person every brand goes through it’s life-cycle. And perhaps it may help by thinking of your brand or startup as a person. In this analogy, your brand concept and pre-launch development would be the Embryonic Phase and right through to birth or launch, to growth or teen years, right on through it the end.
In a lot of ways, your small business or product is your baby. The elements of brand position than, will be everything you need to do, to set your child up to be in the right place at each stage of their life.
As you would with a child, you should develop a strategic plan. This plan should be developed and executed at every stage of the life for your brand or product:
Embryonic Phase of a Brand – Or the very beginning. This means, developing and managing the brand while it’s still just a concept and prepare it for birth into the world.
In this phase, you must define the position in which you want your brand to compete and develop a clear plan on how to get it there. Setting your brand up to achieve your desired place in the market is a fundamental element to success.
Introduction, Launch or Birth of a Brand – This means introducing your product or small business to the world or marketplace, in this case. Here you need to manage the brand at its launch and early adoption stages.
One could consider this stage as if your sending your child to their first day of school. You must do everything possible to prepare them for their first day. Having a great launch or introduction can set the stage for amazing growth. Even if you get “schooled” at your launch, this a great time to adapt and better position your brand for the future.
Growth or Adolescence Phase of a Brand – The growth period of a brand during its life-cycle is the most critical. While some people believe that once an entrepreneur launches their startup, they can simply sit back and collect their profits. That notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it’s very important for your startup to have a successful launch, it’s not the most important factor. It’s in fact the growth period, the time after your launch, that’s the most important. How you cope and grow in this initial time, that will ultimately determine the long term viability of your business.
Once your brand has been “launched” and is out there you need to be collecting data as to how it’s doing. For example, ask your first customers their experience using your site, or how you could improve on your product for instance.
The growth period is the time to reflect on how your brand is doing and how you can improve. Your startup is facing real threats such as competition, dealing with real problems, and at the same time dealing with real customers.
In the beginning, if your business got off to a great start, good. But, despite your initial success, you can’t rest on your laurels. On the other hand, if your business got off to a rocky start, it’s not the end of the world. The growth period is the time to learn from your mistakes, then take the time to correct them.
Nevertheless, the world is ever changing, and your business needs to keep changing accordingly. One element of branding is steering your business through the labyrinth of an ever-competitive marketplace.
In addition to steering your business, and possibly the most important factor to brand management is helping your business grow. And, despite what most people believe when they hear the word “grow,” we’re not just speaking about adding products, more stores, or franchises; necessarily.
We’re specifically speaking about growing your business or startup to best fit the needs of your consumer. In addition, keep growing your business, changing, and adapting to always meet and exceed the needs and wants of your target market.
Maturity of a Brand – Great, your small business is no longer small and/or your brand has become a leader in your market. The trick to brand or business maturity, is maintaining your target expectations while remaining profitable. Profitability, innovation and re-invigoration are the keys to success with a mature brand.
Decline and/or Harvest and Possible Reinvigorate of your Brand – Strategically managing the brand at the end of its life-cycle. Unlike a person, your brand, business, or product has an opportunity to take a second round at life. Towards the end of your brand or product’s life-cycle, there great opportunity to reshape, repackage, or completely overhaul it. May brands and businesses of yesteryear still live on as something new.
For large enterprises this process is typically undertaken internally with organizational staff. For small and mid-sized enterprises, the brand management process is often outsourced to experts.
New Brands With Significant Positioning Potential:
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