9 Effective Brand Positioning Strategy Approaches In 2024
Welcome to the world of brand positioning strategy
A critical aspect in the ever-evolving sphere of brand development. We’ll explore nine effective approaches to position your brand in 2024, from the tried-and-true classics to the disruptive newcomers. By the end of this article, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge to help you make the best possible positioning approach for your brand.
Leveraging Competitor Awareness Through “Against” Brand Positioning
Defining your brand in opposition to a major competitor can be an extremely effective positioning strategy. This classic approach, known as “against” branding, enables you to:
– Tap into your audience’s pain points with the competitor’s offering. Every product or service has flaws. Call out exactly where your key competitor is missing the mark to connect with frustrated consumers.
– Piggyback on existing brand recognition. Chances are, your audience already knows about the market leader. By positioning yourself as the alternative, you leverage that awareness while distinguishing your unique value proposition.
Essentially, “against” branding allows you to turn your competitor’s strength into a weakness. Let’s explore two standout examples of brands that made this approach work:
Avis famously proclaimed “We’re #2, but we try harder.” The car rental company openly admitted they weren’t the market leader, using industry titan Hertz as a foil. This resonated with many travelers who felt Hertz rested on its laurels. Avis was able to capture significant market share through effort and customer service.
Dollar Shave Club also opted for an irreverent “against” positioning, calling out Gillette for overpriced, over-designed razors using a viral video campaign. Their message of “stop paying for shave tech you don’t need” struck a chord with men frustrated by the lack of affordable options.
The key to successfully leveraging a competitor is to intimately understand your audience. What “against” branding can provide is a compelling story that draws a stark contrast between their present pain and your solution. When executed well, this time-tested positioning approach can help even an underdog brand firmly establish its territory.
The Power of Hyper-Focus: Specializing to Stand Out
In an oversaturated marketplace where countless brands strive to be one-stop shops catering to all people for all needs, hyper specialization can be a winning differentiation strategy.
This positioning approach involves identifying one specific problem plaguing your target audience, then becoming laser focused on solving it through a uniquely tailored offer.
Some key advantages of staking your turf through specialization include:
– Attracting niche audiences who value expertise over generalists. There is a segment seeking brands that specialize versus attempting to be jacks-of-all-trades.
– Sharpening your value proposition when you zero in on perfecting one thing versus spreading yourself thin.
– Embedding your brand as category leader in the minds of consumers when you fulfill an unmet need.
Of course, putting all your eggs in one basket does come with risks. Potential downsides include:
– Alienating some customers looking for an end-to-end solution.
– Missing adjacent growth opportunities by limiting your focus so narrowly.
– Lack of flexibility if your niche unexpectedly declines.
Still, for the right brand with the proper commitment, hyper specialization can enable you to carve out a defensible market position. Take [Dyson](https://www.dyson.com/), for example. They staked their fortunes entirely on pioneering bagless vacuum technology. Through refinement and innovation around this specific customer problem—losing suction as vacuums fill up—Dyson came to dominate the consumer appliance space.
So if you have an intimate understanding of a clearly defined audience need not being addressed in-market, going narrow and deep to provide the ultimate bespoke solution could be the key to breaking through. Just ensure you also invest in understanding potential blindspots to avoid.
Staking Your Claim as Best-in-Class
For brands brimming with confidence in their exceptional products or services, a leader-based positioning approach can help reinforce that perception. This involves straightforwardly declaring your supremacy in the category by claiming to be the absolute best in your industry.
The obvious advantage? Immediately elevating your brand above the competitive fray in the minds of impressed consumers. By boldly asserting your top-dog status without apology, you separate from the pack.
However, risks abound with this go-big-or-go-home strategy:
– Competitors may vigorously contest your #1 assertions across advertising, social media, conferences, etc.
– Customers may have slightly different criteria defining “best” than you do.
– Maintaining such a lofty market position requires continual investment and improvement.
For these reasons, leader-based positioning tends to be reserved for established premium brands in categories where tangible performance indicators help justify such claims.
Take [Rolex](https://www.rolex.com) in watches or [Mercedes-Benz](https://www.mbusa.com/) in automobiles. Both brands confidently pronounce themselves the pinnacle of quality and prestige. Supporting that is a long heritage of precision engineering and enduring customer satisfaction.
So while leader-based positioning isn’t for the faint of heart, executed convincingly it can help perpetuate perceptions of top-tier excellence. Just ensure you have the credentials, resources and vigilance needed to fend off any challengers. Because the second you show signs of weakness, hungry competitors will pounce.
Price-Based Positioning: A Classic Approach With Modern Relevance
As one of the original methods for differentiation, price-based positioning retains its power even in today’s crowded marketplace.
The concept is simple: anchor your brand at either the high or low end of the pricing spectrum for your category. Both strategies confer advantages as well as risks:
Low Price Positioning
– Wider potential audience
– Easier to enter new markets
– Must cut costs to protect margins
– Perceptions of lower quality
High Price Positioning
– Signals premium quality
– Allows for higher margins
– Narrows potential audience
– Challenging to enter category
Clever brands optimize within their chosen price tier. Take Walmart, which dominates the low-cost tier while enhancing logistics and supplier terms to maintain strong profits. Or take Rolex, the ultimate aspirational watch brand, which uses stratospheric pricing to reinforce perceptions of unmatched quality and exclusivity.
Mid-market brands must likewise clarify their positioning. Is your product or service targeting budget-conscious consumers willing to sacrifice features for affordability? Or is it a “mass premium” option with elevated quality and branding relative to a modest price increase?
Whichever pricing strategy you select, consistency is key. Promotions and discounts can erode an upmarket positioning, while periodic price hikes confuse bargain-hunting customers. Define your price tier, tailor supporting elements like product specs and marketing accordingly, and stick with it.
Elevating Brand Perceptions Through Quality and Value
Brands often seek to connect quality and value in the minds of customers. Done effectively, this positioning confers prestige and reinforces positive perceptions.
The quality approach associates your brand with premium materials, meticulous craftsmanship, cutting-edge technology, or elevated performance. Signals of quality include:
– Premium pricing
– Sleek, minimalist aesthetic
– Comparative messaging (“longest-lasting,” “most accurate”)
– Substantial warranty coverage
The risk is failing to deliver on lofty quality claims, which erodes trust. But the rewards can be invaluable:
– Higher margins
– Reduced price sensitivity
– Loyal, aspirational customers
Rather than chasing the ultra-premium tier, value positioning focuses on an optimal balance of quality and price. Key signals include:
– Messaging about “more for your money”
– Direct price/feature comparisons to competitors
– Focus on most popular options, not niche products
The key advantage of a value positioning is broad accessibility to mid-market consumers. This larger audience brings its own scaling challenges, however:
– Pressures to cap pricing
– Need for operational efficiency
– Difficulty maintaining margins
Getting the Balance Right
Whether opting for an exclusive quality play or mass-appeal value stance, consistency is critical. Promotions and discounts erode perceptions of quality, while intermittent price hikes alienate bargain seekers.
The most successful brands inhabit their chosen positioning completely. Everything from product design to customer service to marketing underscoring quality or value at every turn. Do this successfully, and your customers will spread that perception for you.
Disrupting Industries By Offering Benefits
The Benefit-Driven Approach
The benefit-driven strategy focuses messaging squarely on how your product or service improves life for customers. Common benefit claims include:
– Saves money
– Saves time
– More enjoyable/convenient
– Improves health
– Enhances appearance
– Increases productivity
Brands like Dyson have built awareness by touting unique benefits. The risk is that benefits often prove easy for competitors to replicate. And benefit-based positioning provides little insulation if needs change.
The Disruptive Approach
Rather than claiming marginal benefits over competitors, truly disruptive brands rethink categories from scratch. They identify overlooked consumer pain points, then develop radically better solutions.
– Leverage new technology to enable breakthrough performance
– Eliminate friction points competitors overlook
– Democratize access to products/services once reserved for the elite
Uber epitomized disruption by improving private car services through mobile technology. Airbnb similarly unlocked new value from underutilized housing stock.
The rewards of disruption include first-mover advantage, media buzz, and consumer goodwill. But realizing the full potential requires flawless execution and continual innovation to stay ahead.
Which Strategy is Best?
Benefit-driven positioning can help establish brands through early traction. But long-term success increasingly demands some flavor of disruption, however slight. Modern brands must continually question orthodoxies to uncover new sources of consumer value.
The most resonant brands balance this disruptive orientation with empathy—ensuring even the most groundbreaking innovations address genuine consumer needs. Do this and they’ll keep singing your praises.
Making Things Easier Wins Customers
In our impatient era, convenience reigns supreme. Customers rarely tolerate unnecessary steps or hassles. Brands that simplify lives get rewarded with fierce loyalty.
We see this across industries:
– Retail: Amazon’s one-click purchasing and painless returns. Walmart’s curbside pickup.
– Transportation: Uber’s tap-to-ride model beats calling a taxi dispatcher.
– Entertainment: Netflix and Spotify’s recommendation engines surfacing content we’ll probably love.
What these brands share is an obsession with eliminating friction—anything creating delays or complications for the customer.
Friction Comes in Many Forms
Common sources of friction include:
– Too many choices/options to evaluate
– Hard-to-use products or interfaces
– Excess steps in purchase/signup flows
– Waiting around for service
– Unclear pricing
Relieving Friction Builds Goodwill
Each bit of friction you remove benefits customers in concrete ways:
– Saves time
– Reduces stress
– Enables spontaneity
– Creates delight
And those benefits add up to competitive advantage. Because when you make things easy, happy customers stick around and spread the word.
So scrutinize your customer journey for pain points. Survey your customers to uncover irritations. Then make it your mission to engineer unnecessary steps out of every interaction.
Do that and they’ll thank you by coming back again and again.
The Right Strategy Makes All the Difference
Brand positioning is indispensable for standing out nowadays. With endless product choices bombarding people, a crisp, differentiated brand purpose gives you a fighting chance to connect.
Luckily, brand builders have no shortage of positioning approaches:
Leverage Existing Awareness
Defining your brand as the alternative to a well-known player lets you tap into existing perceptions. You can highlight where you excel relative to the dominant option people know. Brands like Avis and Dollar Shave Club expertly played this card.
Fixate on a Niche
Rather than being diffuse, zero-in on doing one thing extremely well. Attract people who crave specialists to handle their specific need. Become the go-to experts in that niche.
Boldly Claim Superiority
For top-tier brands only. Confidently state you’re the premier choice in your category to project prestige. Requires having unassailable quality and pricing to back it up.
Shift Perceptions With Pricing
Use price anchoring to broaden or narrow your appeal. Undercut competitors to attract bargain hunters or set premium pricing to connote luxury.
Position around delivering superb quality to justify higher prices. Prestige and status come with perceived excellence — make sure you actually deliver on quality promises.
Flaunt Exceptional Value
Strike the ideal balance between affordable pricing and generous quality. Word of mouth skyrockets when you over-deliver value for money spent.
An oldie but goodie, detail exactly how your product improves lives. Lead with emotional and functional upsides you provide.
Disrupt the Norms
Break from industry conventions and blaze your own trail. Difficult to pioneer, but first-mover advantage awaits if you reshape a category.
Wield these strategies, plus intimate knowledge of your customers and market, to craft optimal positioning. A compelling brand purpose earns attention, trust, and loyalty. Choose wisely among these potent options when declaring “This is who we are.”
Greetings! I’m Jack, founder of Scythos – where I’ve helped over 50 brands transform into unforgettable identities and stunning digital presences. As a brand strategist and creative consultant, I have over a decade of experience taking brands from wallflowers to the centre of attention.
Looking to get your branding noticed and your business thriving? Reach out anytime to brainstorm creative strategies for making your brand impossible to ignore. I love collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs to conceptualize innovative ways to connect with their audiences.
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