Brand Positioning, like the term states, is occupying a vacant, perceptual space in the minds of willing and able target consumer.
Why Brand Positioning?
A branded business needs to deliver the core promise to its target consumer with utmost coherence at every touchpoint. Brand Positioning serves as a guide for communicating the brand to its target consumer and, also, as an internal guide for the organization to deliver on the communication and vice versa.
Your whole branded business needs to be built around Brand Positioning. Brand Positioning statement summarises your “core promise”, the target consumer, the problem you are solving, your benefits: unique selling proposition, difference from competitors and the reason to believe.
First you arrive at the core emotional promise using the emotional benefits pyramid and Brand Positioning is a step after the same. It helps you design and deliver the extended promise for various external and internal touch points.
Great brand positioning stands the test of the time and great brands are laser focused on their positioning.
Brand positioning is not your purpose, your tag line or strategy.
Brand Positioning Statement Template
Who: Target Consumer Persona
Who want: Hierarchy of needs, definition of problem and category as defined by consumer
Our Brand offers: Solution set including features and benefits
USP: Unique benefit
Reason to believe: The secret ingredient that helps us deliver
For example: Tata Harper Skin Care
Who: Target consumer persona: Women, who felt helpless and are fed up of seeing luxury skin care manufactured and sold under the guise of extreme clinically tested performance but contains toxic and untraceable ingredients. Have dollars, visit spas, seem methodical and like to have all bases covered.
Who want: Full transparency and a way to see through all the mumbo jumbo for the money they are ready to shell out.
Our Brand offers (USP) : Farm to Face with “100% traceability & transparency” skin care.
Reason to believe: The secret ingredient: Come and see our farm and the full process! Trace your bottle.
Tata Harper came up with a process innovation/infrastructure scope of “farm to face” and is less competition prone till someone else comes up with a better farm to face process. Mind you, it is still prone to competition, as the benefit is tangible and comparable.
Brand Positioning Dimension
The dimension is a continuum, stretching in opposite directions, from rational to emotional, with emotional being harder to organize and deliver than rational.
COMPETITION PRONE BRAND POSITIONING ZONE
This zone is prone to competing claims by competition along with the threat of competition imitating and getting “better” at the positioning.
A competitor or a new entrant can do “better” at any of the below three and steal your consumers.
1. Infrastructure: What you possess
This is usually the domain of mass and not craft or disruptive brands. RX Bar now claims to be available at almost any store near you, Tata Harper owns their lab and farm and does leverage a bit of infrastructure to position itself.
2. Your offering: What you offer
This is about focusing on USP of what you sell and offer. It could be your product or service, quality attributes of your product and service, source of your ingredients and transparency on your supply chain. RX Bar offers a NO BS energy bar with real food ingredients.
RX Bar started from a positioning of “Offering” and is seen moving left towards “Infrastructure”.
Infrastructure is a differentiated domain for health and beauty CPG as not many brands manage to reach the size and scale but it is not a very moving positioning. It will help in inducing trials for “laggards” who are hesitant to try a new brand but this positioning won’t build as much brand love.
3. Your Process: How you do it?
You could decide to sell only direct to consumer via online and /or your own brick and mortar stores like DECEIM or create personalized beauty products like Prose or create beauty products by collaborating with real people like Glossier. The positioning focuses on establishing this uniqueness in the minds of the consumer.
With machine learning and volume of data, you could refine your process to be ahead of any new comer who wants to play in the same mind space, but, there is a threat of competition nevertheless. For example, a new comer could arrive with a better technology for personalization.
UNCONTESTED BRAND POSITIONING ZONE
This zone virtually guarantees freedom from competition, and, if, another brand copies your story, the winner will still be you. For example, it is rumoured that Charlie Chaplin himself took part in an “Imitate Charlie Chaplin” contest and, was judged 4thby the jury.
But, the brand of Charlie Chaplin won at the end of the day and, his movies’ sales increased as a result of the event.
Being genuine ensures insulation from competition for the below positioning points on the dimension as a competitor can never be exactly you!
4. Personality: Real or Fictitious, Story: Self expressive, relationship or aspirational
This is a rarity in health and beauty brands. You could position your brand as a personality, which could be real, fictitious, a story, a place, myth etc.
Betty Crocker does not exist but Colonel Sanders did.
A brand’s personality could be an expression of consumer’s self, or they could develop a relationship with this personality or they could find it aspirational, meaning they could aspire to be like the brand’s personality.
Bite Beauty is an example of a rare, upstart beauty brand that has positioned itself in the emotional zone with an edgy brand personality without taking on a real or fictitious human, place, story, mythological identity.
Bite does a precise job of positioning emotionally using elements of personality like visuals of edgy youngsters and nomenclature of products after geographies and cities, which are more fashion advanced.
5. Purpose: Your why
A lot of brands, in health and beauty, do try to play in this perceptual space but the ones that do it most successfully are led by their purpose and don’t use it tactically.
Two great examples of purpose led brands are Ten Tree and TOMS Shoes.
Within health and beauty CPG, “This Bar Saves Lives” is a good example as it donates one food packet to a malnourished child for every bar bought. There is transparency around the program and information is regularly updated on the site. Are they doing a good job? Yes. Could they do a better job? Of course!
There is ample opportunity to create a much bigger, strategic program than just sending packets to third world countries, which is a job deserving of thanks, but, to take the brand to the next level, a strategic initiative is needed.
e.g. What is the cause of malnourishment in these countries and how the source can be attacked? How has malnourishment reduced as a result of sending these packets to those countries/regions/cities/ etc. Pick smaller regions and report by city and kid locality and by kid.
Design a tribe program that lets you buy online and develop a one on one relationship with kids who are being benefitted.
Purpose-led brands should aim at having an impact 10X their own contribution. Look at Ten Tree and see how the brand lives for their purpose.
6. Immersive Experience: How do they feel?
Immersive experience is the hardest to deliver and used to be the domain of the service brands but with digital channels, and direct to consumer brands, not to mention the advent of virtual and augmented reality, it is possible to offer immersive story experience to CPG brands that don’t offer any physical service or own brick and mortar stores.
Story transforming your brand emotionally to an extreme, what I call cultify, is the way to do it for health and beauty CPG brands that do not have their own stores. A cult speaks to you in a way that it lends voice and imagery to the pent up desire for belonging and uncommon experience.
That is an immersion.
Sephora has done a great job of providing an immersive experience to consumers within their stores: staff is very friendly and educated, beauty boutiques look welcoming, ample testers and a fresh assortment, beyond clinically tested brands found in drugstore beauty boutiques, all lend for a great immersion.
Consumers, at Sephora, can try out multiple looks and products and choose the ones they truly like and think is a find.
Saje Wellness stores appeal to all the senses especially the olfactory, along with great wooden visual merchandising, and a soft spa like music to provide a recluse from not just the world but also the hustle and bustle of the rest of the mall.
Claimed to be “New York’s coolest concept store”, STORY has done the outrageous. It reinvents the store every three to eight weeks, offering community-focused, immersive retail experiences.
Converging retail and media into a conceptual arena, it tells stories through merchandise and events and then sells retail space to sponsors or advertisers, much in the same way as a magazine.
For example, the store ran Beauty STORY in collaboration with Coty, which featured mass-market brands, such as Covergirl, Clairol, Rimmel and Sally Hansen, alongside prestige brands, including ByRedo and Diptyque, all under one roof.
How Are Brand Positioning Statement And Brand Positioning Dimension Related?
For each of the 6 types of brand positioning on the continuum, a brand needs to create a brand positioning statement to focus on what matters most whether for communication or for delivery.
Brand Positioning Dimension: Way Forward For HABA CPG
Health and Beauty CPG brands have long been the harbinger of innovation to the category and, unique processes and products are where the innovation would default-lie on the positioning dimension.
In order to reduce the cost of consumer acquisition, increase consumer loyalty and brand love and grow organically and profitably and not worry about competing with other brands for the consumer, it makes most sense to move right on the continuum towards the emotional zone.
For health and beauty brands that have grown bigger than the rest, like RX BAR, It is very tempting to move far left towards infrastructure since you have such a lead over the others, but anything that can be quantified can be compared much easily as versus emotions and feelings, which are immeasurable.
Brand Positioning is occupying a perceptual space in the minds of consumer.
It helps guide the storytelling to the target consumer and also helps an organization focus on “what truly matters” to deliver.
Great brand positioning stands the test of the time.
A standard template for brand positioning statement is:
Who: Your target consumer persona
Who want: The need, problem as defined by the target consumer
Our Brand offers: Solution set including features
USP: Unique benefit
Reason to believe-What helps us deliver
Brand Positioning dimension is a continuum with rational on far left and emotional on far right. There are 6 points a brand can choose to be placed on the continuum. Further, the continuum could be divided into two zones.
Infrastructure ( what you possess), Offering( what you sell) and Process( how you do it) fall under Competition Prone Zone.
Personality( who you are), Purpose(your why) and Immersive experience( how they feel) come under Uncontested Zone, which is the way forward for health and beauty brands.
Need more clarity or want to know if you are positioned right? Comment below!
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ROHIT BANOTA, FOUNDER of STORYSAVES, has created, transformed and grown dozens of health food and beauty CPG companies brands across North America using proprietary Brand Story and Brand Diffussion processes.
He has over 15 years of marketing and business experience growing consumer packaged brands including startups and MNCs like P&G and AB InBev.