When we talk about positioning, we have to be aware of the fact that you position related to something (a competitor, a product etc).

In order to understand “positioning” you have to understand the areas of Marketing.

There are 3 types of areas in marketing

  1. The era of the product: the demand is more important than the product (no competition)
  2. The era of the image (some competition)
  3. The era of the positioning (a lot of competition). The struggle her is to “mean something” for your customers.

The consumer has more possibilities than ever in their selection but less time to select.

What is positioning?

Position a product, a brand, a company, yourself an idea in the minds of the consumer. It’s all about to utilize what already is in the mind of the consumer and “reorder” the connections already existing.

Example: If you can’t stat that you are number, one make clear that you are number 2. AVIS: “As we are no 2 we make more effort”. It’s about looking for the strengths of the others and find the weaknesses of their leadership (a war strategy).

In Marketing, the important thing is the perception (may not always be the reality of the product). You have to focus on the way you are “perceived”. It’s a war about perception of the concept, not about the product. Example iphone 5 versus other smart phones that are better in quality, but the perception is what counts.

How to position

It is done in 2 phases:

  1. Identify what is your brands (the synthesis of the brand)
  2. Identify strategies in communication

How to identify the brand values

1)    Brand identity

  1. Core brand value (essential value/benefits)
  2. Extended value (product + organization +personality+ symbols)

2)    what offers the brand

  1. functional benefits
  2. emotional
  3. projective

3)    The positioning: is the mix between brand identity and what the brand offers

Identify which word is “your word”. That is your core (and in relation to others).

The positioning of the brand is the key benefit expressed in one word and you must make sure that the differentiator is included.

Identify strategies in communication

  1. Work through the “identity map” (placing all the words that you relate to your brand) you need to look at what the strengths and weaknesses are of your competition
  2. Develop the “word/line” to position

It is important to be the first (nobody remembers whom was the second on the moon, the second pilot to cross the Atlantic, the second longest river etc…). The main brand removes in the minds of the consumers all information about the second brand. There is little space for 2nd and 3rd.

The first brand, idea, company that has gained the position in the minds of the consumers, it is hard to change. To get the first position you must be sure to:

  1. Have a perfect concept AND
  2. Have an excellent execution (it is common that the second one executes better takes the no 1 position in the minds of the consumer). I.e. LCI of Nestlé versus Actimel of Danone.

You must position something in a mind you need a mind that does not have an already positioning idea; the hard thing is to enter a mind where there is always a predefined idea.

The slogan

You must be able to take away the brand and just by the rest you should understand what brand you are talking about. E.g. “XX, takes care of your cloths like your mother”. It has to be right on target to your main target word. A word that is differentiating you from your competition. It could be emotional, it could be related to a benefit you get or just a “concept”.

It is very important to set a word that people relates to the brand. Positioning is to create a new category. A category that affect the mental stairs.

About mental stairs

  1. You create your own reference maps.
  2. The mind has learned to order the ideas in mental stairs.

The goal is to get the highest position in that stairs.

There 4 characteristics of a “category”

  1. There is a  need to be satisfied
  2. There must be users
  3. There must be user-situations
  4. The product or service must satisfy these needs

How to create a new category (example of category Safe Cars)

You should have as an objective to take the first position within that category. The interest is to be the leader of “things”. If you are second in a category it’s very often better to create a new category, but of course, to create a new category you must work hard to create it.

What is a category: e.g. “safe cars”. 

You target must be VERY specific. If you just target that kind of people you should target that type of people. If you start to try to focus on other targets, you will not be able to strengthen your brand (with the values you have given it or the positioning you are holding).

First you ask yourself:

  1. what is the use you try to reach
  2. what is the audience that have this need
  3. what is the need you try to cover

Based on this, you develop a product/service that meets that need

How to know if a “category” is working?

The two magic R, is “repetition” and “recommendation”. This is a way to know if your category is working.

Due to this you need to start with a specific target, you can not try to target them all at the same time. When you are strong within one user, you can target others (e.g. Nintendo. First for children, l when it was strong, the Brain training was invented).

The category is “if you want for example refreshing drinking you order Coca-Cola”, if you want an energetic drink you order Red-Bull”. If the benefit you are satisfying is what you are, it is perfect.

Types of positioning

There are different types of positioning. These are some of them

    • The second. If you can’t be number 1, make it clear that you are number 2


  • The “without”. Make sure that you do something “without” something
  • By “size”. If everybody goes for big, you go for small. E.g.
  • By “price”.
  • High price (If you say that you are “the most expensive” you give the image of having the best quality)
  • Low price (You position your brand for being the cheapest e.g. DIA)
  • By gender. E.g. Malboro
  • By age. E.g. Cola-Cao = young, Nesquick = the youngster (pepsi for the young)
  • By the authentic, the genuine (“the real thing”)


You have to think “to be something to somebody”. You have to take a position. You must focus on one use, one user and one need.

How to reposition a brand

8000 words are what a student has in its mind. 12 000 brands is what a supermarket has in terms of brand. There is no space for these brands. What you need to do, is to “kick out” an existing brand to take that position. You have to find “the true”, “the differentiation” “the why not the others but this one”.

Putting a name to the brand

It should help you to position your brand. Therefore, you must think about the name in relation to what it is that you want to say with your brand. 

One way to create a positioning and brand could be to associate to an already existing known brand or knowledge.

What is your experience of positioning?

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