We live in an era of mass information and with that comes mass confusion. The world of marketing is no stranger to the concepts of confusion, conflation of ideas, and even outright misdirection.
But as the world gets smaller through channels of mass communication, and as categories become over-saturated with competitors, the difference between related concepts can have a devastating impact on how brands, companies and agencies expend their marketing dollars and resources.
Chasing what is perceived to be an ideal approach could very well end up costing dearly. …
The explosion of digital marketing over the past decade has created the most complex challenge of all for brand owners, marketers, consultants and agencies: the ‘Empowered Consumer’.
The Empowered Consumer demands more, needs more, expects more than ever before. And when the Empowered Consumer makes a decision about their preferred brand or service, they spend more, stay longer and act more frequently.
The Empowered Consumer formulates beliefs based on perceptions they discovered across multiple marketing channels and messages. Consumers behave based on their beliefs. But beliefs are not created overnight. …
Positioning. Because Every Drop Matters.
In my prior article on this subject I explained the difference between ‘competitors’ and ‘competition’. While they sound the same, and in today’s marketing lexicon they have become almost synonymous, the difference is important on several levels.
First a quick recap from my prior article:
COMPETITORS are other businesses who offer the SAME KIND of service or product that you offer, or something very similar. You are competitors with each other. You’re Coke, and they are Pepsi and RC Cola, and all those other colas.
COMPETITION is an ALTERNATIVE to the services (or products) that you offer that takes business away from you but that can’t or don’t provide the same service that you do. This is competition. Say you’re an SEO provider; the competition would be ad agencies who offer paid advertising services. Since these ad agencies provide a service which might be an alternative option for brands looking to increase traffic to their sites, they are your competition. …
Indeed So. Competitors Are NOT The Competition.
WTF? No, it’s not just another example of semantics or conflation of language, it’s another example of misuse of terminology that got swept up into the lexicon of marketing language and is now — unfortunately — used interchangeably. And while you might think that they are interchangeable terms, or that ‘everyone’ knows what you mean when you use either one, understanding the difference can make a significant difference when you’re crafting your brand positioning, and the messages you use to convey that positioning when you’re out looking for new business, and when you’re strapping on to take on the competition… er, or is that your competitors? …
The Relative Aspect of Competitive Advantage Positioning
If brand positioning is the science and art of creating and deploying messages that create perceptions in the minds of your target markets, and if we accept that it’s the sum of all the perceptions your market has about your company or brand that creates and cements your brand positioning, then, by definition, the opposite would be the science of de-positioning.
But it’s not.
De-positioning and positioning are NOT opposite sides of a coin; they are simultaneous components in a true brand positioning platform. They work together. Positioning addresses what your market believes about your brand, products or services (and thus positioning controls your targets’ behaviors towards your brand), and de-positioning addresses how your market believes and behaves towards your competitors. Horse and carriage. Love and marriage. They work together, since brand positioning is NOT just about compelling positive perceptions and behaviors towards your brand, but also about how you shift consumer allegiance AWAY from the competition. …
Why marketers need to understand the difference.
As a practitioner and teacher of brand positioning for more than 35 years, it was just a matter of time before the question “What’s the difference between branding and positioning?” was posed. I was asked this today by a longtime associate who himself is a brilliant strategist and marketing master. So now, allow me please to clarify this from my perspective of more than 3 decades of creating both branding AND positioning and managing digital marketing for really big agencies and even bigger brands.
Sorry in advance for the long post, but this is a really important question, and it deserves a full answer. …
THE ESSENCE OF BRAND POSITIONING
You want consumers to buy your brand, product or service, and not those of your competitors. Your competitors feel the same way about you. So who gets to catch the fish?
While the decision-making process is complex, and comprises a lot of variables, at its core it’s very simple.
Consumers behave based on their beliefs. If they believe that your brand, product or service will do a better job fulfilling their needs and desires, they’ll pick you. If not, the trophy goes to one of your competitors.
In this article, the first in a series about how to influence and control the consumer decision-making process, I’ll set the foundation about achieving the ultimate goal: getting more consumers to decide in favor of your brand than they do of your competitors. …
In The Positioning Matrix™, I talk a lot about the critical tactic of ‘de-positioning’ which is meant to influence the way your target consumers (or for agencies and consultants, your target client prospects) make their ‘purchasing decision’ about whether to buy or use your brand, product or service.
The essence of all Positioning Science is to influence consumers (I’ll use this term to mean all potential end-users, be they individuals or companies you are vying for to get their business) AWAY from your competitors and TO your brand.
Thus, a more refined understanding of the concept of competition is essential. It’s the key to success of any business, and absolutely essential to craft a Positioning Platform. After all, the whole point of creating a Positioning Platform is to crush your competition. …
The Positioning Matrix™ — The Four Environments: Part 3
In prior stories, I’ve presented the FIRST (Introductory) and the SECOND (Offensive) of the 4 Marketing Environments that a brand could be playing in that can affect how the brand constructs its Positioning Matrix. The Positioning Matrix is the key to crafting a winning Positioning Platform to explode revenue generation and overtake competition in a brand’s niche. In this story, I’ll present an overview of the THIRD of the 4 Marketing Environments: The DEFENSIVE Marketing Environment.
As previously summarized, each one of the 4 Essential Elements of The Positioning Matrix DO NOT GET EQUAL WEIGHTING in every Positioning Matrix. Depending on which of the 4 Marketing Environments each brand is facing, one of the 4 Essential Elements becomes the most important to focus on. Getting these right enables a brand to bullseye a winning Positioning Matrix, and then craft a truly winning Positioning Platform. …
The Positioning Matrix™ — The Four Environments: Part 2
In the prior story, I presented an overview of first of the 4 Essential Elements that are needed to complete crafting a winning Positioning Matrix — which is the key step to help brands craft a Positioning Platform that will explode their revenue and dominate their competition. In this story, I’ll present an overview of the SECOND of the 4 Marketing Environments: The OFFENSIVE Marketing Environment.
As previously described, each of these 4 Essential Elements of The Positioning Matrix do not carry equal weighting in every Positioning Matrix. Depending on which of the 4 Marketing Environment each brand is facing, one of the 4 Essential Elements becomes the most important to focus on. …