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Brand Positioning Strategy Case Example: Banana Boat

Brand Positioning Case Example: Banana Boat

A Bright Future for Major Sunscreen Brand

Sun protection or sunscreen is a large market in the US, with over $1B in sales. Banana Boat presents an illuminating brand positioning case example.

Related products, such as self tanners and after sun care, are a smaller portion of the category.  Additionally, many skin care products, such as moisturizers, lotions, lipsticks and lip balms also contain SPF. While beauty care products have taken a significant hit during COVID, the future is bright for sun protection, as US consumers return to spending more time outdoors.

The 10 largest sun protection brands in the US include:

  1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer
  2. Coppertone Sport
  3. Neutrogena Beach Defense
  4. Coppertone
  5. Banana Boat Ultra Mist Sport Performance
  6. Banana Boat Sport Performance
  7. Sun Burn
  8. Banana Boat Ultra Sports
  9. Hawaiian Tropic
  10. Private Label   

This brand positioning case example is from Insight to Action’s work for the Banana Boat brand.  The brand positioning work for Banana Boat began with a robust customer segmentation of US sun protection consumers. When Insight to Action began working with the Energizer management team (Energizer is now called Edgewell Personal Care, and Energizer owned Banana Boat), the work initially focused exclusively on Banana Boat. 

At that time, Banana Boat’s product line included Banana Boat Sport, Banana Boat Kids, and other products. The decision was made to focus on an umbrella positioning that could work for the Banana Boat brand across its products rather than positioning individual products, such as Sport.

Brand Positioning Framework

We used the classic brand positioning framework to provide the specific direction needed for the brand team and the advertising agency . The directly informed the creative brief. The framework that we’ve examined before includes the following elements:

  • To target [specific audience],
  • For [defined] frame of reference,
  • Brand X is the [functional/emotional] point of differentiation
  • Because [attributes] reasons to believe

Target Customers for Brand Positioning Case Example

The target customers for Banana Boat included two different segments, both of whom share an outdoor, active lifestyle and a commitment to prevent burns and skin sun damage.  Personas were developed for the two target segments, one of which was primarily women (who we called Alicia), while the other included a good representation of men (who we called Alex).

The most important competitors were Coppertone and Neutrogena. Interestingly, another tropical brand, Hawaiian Tropic was acquired by Energizer in 2007, which presented a challenge in pushing apart the Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic brands. Fortunately, the customer segmentation identified two distinct target segments for Hawaiian Tropic.

Brand Positioning Case Example: Research Process

We began with over 15 starting positioning statements and explored these with the Banana Boat target consumers: Alicia and Alex. Iterative focus groups were used to optimize the positioning statements, in three different geographic markets. After completing this process, there were three high performing brand positioning alternatives for Banana Boat. Quantitative concept testing of over 1,000 monadic reads per concept allowed us to understand the brand positioning concept appeal among the target customers and also among the other market segments.

All three optimized concepts scored well among the total sample of 5,000+ on appeal, believability and fit for Banana Boat, uniqueness for a sun care product and increased claimed likelihood of purchasing the brand. Looking at the results specifically among the target customers, Alex and Alicia, revealed that one concept nicknamed “Active Lifestyle” was the strongest. The client went forward with this concept, and the advertising agency translation was successful.

Brand Positioning Case Example: Banana Boat

Brand Positioning Statement for Banana Boat

Here’s the positioning statement expressed in consumer language:

Banana Boat. Unbeatable protection that fits your active lifestyle.

You’ve got a lot on your plate trying to fit everything into your schedule every day while you’re in and out of the sun.

With Banana Boat, you get protection that keeps up with you. Three-way protection with our patented AVO-Triplex formulation. Protection from sunburn, protection from long-term skin damage and protection that lasts longer than ordinary sunscreens, because it doesn’t break down. And Banana Boat is tested in the sun, not just in the lab like other sunscreens.

Plus it won’t slow you down. From our dry-touch products that go on fast and dry instead of oily and sticky – even dirt and sand won’t stick to your skin. To our exclusive tear-free products that actually keep your eyes from stinging and getting irritated.

Banana Boat. Unbeatable protection that fits your active life.

Brand Positioning Case Example: Banana Boat Positioning Framework

  • To target [Alicia and Alex],
  • For frame of reference [sunscreen] ,
  • Banana Boat point of differentiation [gives you unbeatable protection that fits your active lifestyle]
  • Because reasons to believe [three-way protection with patented AVO-Triplex and products tested in the sun] 

An example of an advertisement that was created coming out of the brand positioning work is shown below. 

Brand Positioning Case Example: Banana Boat

For additional case examples of brand positioning, visit our positioning resources page.  Or contact us.