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Value-based brand positioning – what you need to know

Clare Froggatt on Value-based brand positioning
Clare Froggatt
Clare Froggatt

It’s a sad fact that many businesses fail within their first year, because they struggle to compete in an already crowded marketplace. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already established, having a well-thought out brand can improve your chance of success. 

One of the biggest challenges is being able to convince your target market that your product or service is better than the competition – and that’s where brand positioning comes in.

In this blog, we look at value-based brand positioning and how to deliver on it.

What is brand positioning?

Before we move on to look at value-based brand positioning specifically – let’s nail down what brand positioning really means.

Philip Kotler describes brand positioning as: ‘the act of defining a company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market’. 

This is a pretty standard definition of positioning, but we can unpack this a bit further:

  • positioning is about deciding what space in the market you want to carve out for your business, and how this relates to where your competitors already exist
  • positioning happens in the minds of your customers, so it’s about the way your customers perceive you, regardless of how you think they should see you

There are different ways you can position your brand – price is just one way of doing it.

Consider Aldi, for example, who promise their customers quality products at low prices to meet their everyday needs. This hasn’t just been incredibly successful for the company, but it’s become a bit of a blueprint for how to do brand positioning well.

Aldi’s unwavering commitment to their position in the market has earned them a solid reputation, and even those who don’t shop there, know what they stand for. 

Read more about the process of branding in Make a Brew’s online Universi-Tea.

Value-based brand positioning

Value-based brand positioning is all about finding a fit for your company, products, or services based on the value it provides.

To understand what your customers want (and, therefore, how you can meet this demand), you need to know more about them. This is where segmentation and targeting come in.

In short, this means putting your potential customers into groups based on their shared characteristics and deciding which of these groups to target. As part of this you’ll discover more about your prospects, and how your product can add value to their life. 

If you discover differences between these groups based on their values, then you may need to craft separate positioning statements for them. A positioning statement is a way of setting out how your product and/or services meet the target market’s needs.

Positioning statement examples

To help us understand what a positioning statement should look like, let’s look at this example from Amazon: 

‘For consumers who want to purchase a wide range of products online with quick delivery, Amazon provides a one-stop online shopping site.

Amazon sets itself apart from other online retailers with its customer obsession, passion for innovation, and commitment to operational excellence.’

This statement from Amazon starts by setting out what the retail giant offers, then follows it up with how they do it better than their competitors.

Amazon is positioning itself in the mind of the customer by defining its offering and it does this based on what they know the target market wants – a wide choice of products and quick delivery.

Here is another example from sports-brand, Nike:

‘For athletes in need of high-quality, fashionable athletic wear, Nike provides customers with top-performing sports apparel and shoes made of the highest quality materials.

Its products are the most advanced in the athletic apparel industry because of Nike’s commitment to innovation and investment in the latest technologies.’

Notice how they qualify their offer by giving the customer a ‘reason to believe’ in it, which in this case is their commitment to innovation and investment in technology.

How to create a positioning statement

Before you begin writing a positioning statement for your business, consider what your target market already thinks about your brand. What comes to mind first when they see your logo? What values do they associate with your brand?

If this doesn’t marry up with how you want to be perceived, how far off is it? Think about what you need to do to close this gap.  

To understand your place in the market better, you also need to know where you sit in relation to your competitors. If you can identify what sets you apart, then you can start to exploit this distinction in your marketing communications.

All of this needs to link back to your customers and what they want, so before you begin drawing up campaigns and settling on colour schemes, follow these key steps:

  1. Outline your target market – who are they, and what is important to them?
  2. Build up a picture of them (you might see this referred to as a buyer persona)
  3. Ask yourself what problem your product or service is solving for your customers, and why they should choose to buy from you – what is their reason to believe?
  4. Describe your brand as if it were a person, including its values and key traits 

Using everything you’ve discovered, you should be able to write a positioning statement which accurately covers:

  • what your business offers,
  • how it’s different from what’s already out there, and
  • why your product or service is better

Highlight the values that your business shares with its customers in your statement.

Brand positioning – the next steps

There is a misconception that branding is all about the visual identity of a company, whether it’s a logo or packaging design, or even signage, but to create a successful brand, you need a solid foundation and that means having a positioning strategy.

At Make a Brew, we’re experts in branding (and we also make a pretty good cup of Yorkshire tea, if we do say so ourselves!) Contact us for help putting together a brand positioning strategy that will make your business stand out from the crowd and increase your revenue.

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