Positioning Framework: Why Having a Strong Positioning Matters
Having a strong positioning is critical to establishing a successful brand. It is the articulation of what sets your brand apart from the competition in the mind of target consumers. A positioning framework’s goal is to have your brand stand out in a positive way and be the first choice that consumers think of.
Therefore, a strong positioning strategy should deliver high value to consumers and be differentiated.
- High value to consumers: If you are talking about your brand in a way that is not relevant to your target audience, then your brand might go unheard.
- Differentiated: If you are positioning your brand in the same way as your competition, then you are not giving consumers a reason to choose your specific brand.
The classic positioning framework has four major components, which we will explore in detail.
- To target [specific audience],
- For [defined] frame of reference,
- Brand X is the [functional/emotional] point of differentiation
- Because [attributes] reasons to believe
Positioning Framework: The Target
When developing positioning, it’s important to first define who is your target consumer. This will ground your positioning strategy. You want your message to be most relevant to your core user group, so understanding who they are from a demographic and psychographic standpoint is the first step.
Positioning Framework: Frame of Reference
Once you define your target, you need to understand what space your brand occupies in their mind. This is typically done through qualitative research, talking to consumers and getting their perceptions on:
- How do they view your product offering and brand?
- What other products do you compete with?
- How do they view the category your brand plays in?
- What benefits and needs are satisfied by the category and your brand?
Taking the time to really understand consumers’ mind space can lead to uncovering unmet needs and unique positioning opportunity areas that are relevant and high value, but others are simply not talking about. Frame of Reference is the space you compete in. If you understand the consumer frame of reference, then you are better able to develop a positioning that will stand out versus the relevant competition.
Positioning Framework: Point of Differentiation
The next part of the positioning framework is all about differentiation – this is the hardest step. If you are doing qualitative research with consumers, then this part is an iterative process where you are testing different emotional and functional benefit combinations to identify what carries the highest value, appeal, and differentiation versus the competition.
In a world where consumers have endless amounts of products and brand choices, this is ultimately the reason you are giving consumers to choose your brand. You want to make sure to test different benefit areas and include higher-order emotional benefits.
Positioning Framework: Reasons to Believe
Lastly, reasons to believe is our fourth step. You want to make sure that the positioning you develop is actually believable and ownable for your brand. For example, you don’t want to position your brand as a “healthy, well-being brand” if there is nothing to support that assertion.
Consumers are savvy and do their own research. Your brand’s positioning needs to be authentic and true, or consumers will find out that it isn’t. For any positioning area that has been tested with consumers, having the “proof points” to support the point of difference is a necessary component that should not be overlooked.