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Brand Positioning. - Prof. Hitesh A. Patel. “Without a yardstick, there is no measurement. And without measurement, there is no control.”. Basic concepts: Brand positioning. Brand positioning – heart of marketing strategy

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Brand Positioning


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    1. Brand Positioning - Prof. Hitesh A. Patel

    2. “Without a yardstick, there is no measurement. And without measurement, there is no control.”

    3. Basic concepts: Brand positioning • Brand positioning – heart of marketing strategy • “act of designing the company’s offer and image so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the target customer’s mind.” • Good positioning helps marketing strategy by clarifying what a brand is all about, how it is unique, how it is similar to competitive brands and why consumers should purchase and use it • Marketers need to know: • Who the target consumer is • Who the main consumers are • How the brand is similar to these competitors, and • How the brand is different from them

    4. Target market • A market is set of all actual and potential buyers who have interest in, income for, and access to a product. • Market segmentation divides the market into distinct groups of homogeneous consumers who have similar needs and consumer behavior, and so they require similar marketing mixes. • Segmentation bases: behavioral: user status, usage rate, usage occasion, brand loyalty, benefits sought Demographic: income, age, sex, race, family Psychographic: values, opinions and attitudes; activities and lifestyles Geographic: international, regional • Business to business segmentation bases: Nature of goods: type, where used, type of buy Buying condition: purchase location, who buys, type of buy Demographic: industry code, no. of employees, sales, no. of establishments

    5. Behavioral segmentation bases are most valuable in understanding branding issues because they have clear strategic implications. • For ex. Toothpaste market, there are 4 main segments: • Seeking flavor and product look • Brightness of teeth • Decay protection • Low price • Marketing program can be put to attract one or more of these segment • Ex. Segments based on brand loyalty: • Consumers highly likely to change brands • Consumers considering alternatives • Comfortable with their choice • Extremely loyal • Main advantages of demographic segmentation bases is that demographics of traditional media vehicles are generally well known, and so it is easier to buy media on that basis.

    6. Criteria • Identifiability: can we easily identify the segment? • Size: is there adequate sales potential in that segment? • Accessibility: Are distribution outlets and communication media available to reach the segment? • Responsiveness: how favorably will the segment respond to a tailored marketing program • Remember – the overriding consideration in defining segments is profitability

    7. Nature of competition • Other firms in the industry may also target the segment in past/ future, and consumers look to other brands in their purchase decisions • Competition also takes place on other base as well like, distribution channel • Define competition broadly, like at the benefit level rather than at product attribute level • Arriving at proper positioning requires establishing the correct points of difference and points of parity associations

    8. Points of difference associations • Points of difference are attributes/ benefits that consumers strongly associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find to the same extent with a competitive brand. • USP: the original idea was that advertising should give consumers a compelling reason to buy a product that competitors could not match • Sustainable competitive advantage (SCA): firm’s ability to achieve an advantage in delivering superior value in the marketplace for a prolonged period of time • Consumers’ actual brand choices often depend on the perceived uniqueness of brand associations • Points of difference may rely on performance attributes or performance benefits • PODs may come from imagery associations • Many brands create a point of difference on ‘overall superior quality’, whereas other firms become ‘low-cost provider’ of a product/ service

    9. Points of parity associations • Two types: category and competitive • Category points of parity represent necessary conditions for brand choice • They exist minimally at the generic product level and most likely at the expected product level, for ex. Banking services • Category POPs may change over time because of technological advances, legal developments or consumer trends • For brand extension launches, well establishment of category POPs are important

    10. Positioning guidelines • There are two key issues: • Defining and communicating the competitive frame of reference • Choosing and establishing points of parity and points of difference

    11. Defining and communicating thecompetitive frame of reference • Starting point is determining category membership • For highly established products/ services, category membership is not a central issue, for eg. Customers are aware that Pepsi is a leading brand of soft drink. • While introducing a new product, it is important to inform consumers of a brand’s category membership. • Sometimes consumers know a brand’s category membership but may not be convinced the brand is a true, valid member of the category, for eg. Philips mobile phones • Preferred approach is to inform consumers of a brand’s membership before stating its point of difference in relationship to other category members. • brands with greater resources can develop concurrent marketing programs. Eg. BMW positioning on Luxury and Performance • If the points of parity and difference with respect to both categories are not credible, consumers may not view the brand as a legitimate player in either category. Eg. PDAs

    12. There are three ways to convey a brand’s category membership: • Communicating category benefits • Comparing to exemplers • Relying on product descriptor • A cake mix might attain membership in the cake category by claiming great taste and might support this benefit claim by possessing high quality ingredients (performance) and by showing users delighting in its consumption (imagery). • Exemplars – well known brands in the a category – can also be used to specify a brand’s category membership. • The product descriptors that follows the brand name is often a compact means of conveying category origin. Eg. Kellogg's Corn Flakes

    13. Choosing points of difference • Consumer need to find the pod desirable and believe the firm has the capability to deliver it • Desirability criteria: • Relevance • Distinctiveness • Believability • Relevance: target consumers must find the POD personally relevant and important • Distinctiveness: target consumers must find POD distinctive and superior • Believability: a brand must offer a compelling and credible reason for choosing it over other options • Following 3 deliverability criteria are satisfied, the positioning has the potential to be enduring. • Feasibility • Communicability • sustainability

    14. Establishing points of parity and points of difference • Challenge for marketers is many attributes/ benefits are negatively correlated, eg. Low price Vs. High quality, taste Vs. Low calories, powerful Vs. Safe • Much of the art and science of marketing is knowing how to deal with the tradeoffs • 3 approaches are possible: • Separate the attributes: launch two different marketing campaigns, each devoted to different brand attribute/ benefit, eg. Head & Shoulders • Leverage equity of another entity: link with another person, brand, event that possess right kind of equity • Redefine relationship: convince consumers that the relationship is positive, eg. Dell Computers • Updating positioning over time: with established brands, competitive forces often dictate shifts in positioning strategy over time, Eg. BJP

    15. Defining and establishing brand mantras • Core brand associations are those abstract associations (attributes/ benefits) that characterize 5 to 10 important aspects/ dimensions of a brand. • They can serve as the basis of brand positioning • A mental map indicates in detail all salient brand associations/ responses for a particular target market. • “when you think of this brand, what comes to mind?” • A brand mantra is an articulation of heart/ soul of the brand, a 3/ 5 word phrase that captures the spirit of the brand positioning. • It is similar to core brand promise and purpose is to make sure that all employees/ external marketing partners understand what the brand represent to consumers, so they can adjust their actions accordingly, eg. McDonald’s brand philosophy of ‘Food, Folks, and Fun’ • A brand mantra should: communicate, simplify, inspire

    16. Internal Branding • Internal branding is making sure that members of the organization are properly aligned with the brand and what it represents • For services companies, it is critical that all employees have up-to-date and deep understanding of the brand

    17. Brand Audit • To learn what consumers know about brands/ products so that the company can make informed strategic positioning decision, marketers should first conduct a brand audit to profile consumer knowledge structures. • Brand audit is comprehensive examination of a brand to discover its sources of brand equity • Brand audit can set strategic direction for the brand • Are the current sources of brand equity satisfactory? • Do certain brand associations need to be strengthened? • Does the brand lack uniqueness? • What brand opportunities/ potential challenges exist? • Brand audit consists 2 steps: • Brand inventory • Brand exploratory

    18. Brand Inventory • Provides current/ comprehensive profile of how all products/ services sold by a company are marketed/ branded • Requires to catalogue names, logos, symbols, characters, packaging, slogans, trademarks, product attributes, pricing, communications, distribution and any other relevant marketing activity related to the brand in visual and written form • It helps to suggest what consumers’ current perceptions may be based on • A thorough brand inventory should be able to reveal the extent of brand consistency • Brand inventory may help to uncover undesirable overlap that could lead to consumer/ retailer confusion

    19. Brand Exploratory • Brand exploratory is research directed to understanding what consumers think/ feel about the brand • A number of prior research studies may exist in company archives and be relevant • It is also useful to interview internal personal to gain an understanding of their beliefs about consumer perceptions for the brand and competitive brands • Finally, qualitative research is suggestive, but a more definitive assessment of the depth/ breadth of brand awareness and the strength/ favorability/ uniqueness of brand associations often requires a quantitative phase of research.

    20. “The challenge in achieving the ideal positioning for a brand as being able to achieve congruence among what customers currently believe about the brand (and thus find credible), what consumers will value in the brand, what the firm is currently saying about the brand, and where the firm would like to take the brand.” - John Roberts, marketing academician, Australia

    21. Thank you!!