Have you ever wondered, “What do potential customers think of my brand?”, “What do they associate it with?”, or “Why should they choose my product/service over competitors’?” You can find the answers by defining the strategic positioning of your brand. This involves establishing how you want your target audience to perceive your business in relation to competitors. Let’s discover how to do it by evaluating the elements that can differentiate your brand from all others!

Strategic positioning: what is it?

The strategic positioning of a brand is the process through which you identify the unique and distinctive “position” your brand occupies in the minds of potential customers compared to competitors. It is the promise a business makes to its audience, the perception it wants to create, and the distinction it aims to achieve.

Brand positioning means identifying and then communicating the distinctive characteristics, values, and benefits that make your brand unique and preferable to competing brands or at least recognisable to the target audience. If people think of your brand when they have a specific need, it means your offering is perceived as a potential solution. And that’s no small feat!

At this very moment, could you say how your brand is perceived by customers? Or try thinking of a brand you know and, without much reflection, note what perception it evokes in you. For example, take a famous brand like Apple: its strategic positioning is based on technological innovation and design, with high-priced products justified by equally high quality. Apple is perceived as a premium, niche brand, and its entire communication strategy highlights its technological and aesthetic superiority over competitors.

Let’s look at other elements that can contribute to differentiating a brand and outlining its strategic positioning.

How to differentiate from competitors

To create a strong and distinctive positioning in the market, capable of reaching the “right” customers, very different factors can come into play.

At Flowerista, we particularly value the brand identity, which can become a strong differentiating element. Our approach based on collaboration and non-aggressive marketing allows us to position ourselves in people’s minds as “the brand of gentle marketing,” “the digital ecosystem with the Community at its center.”

A brand’s positioning can also be based on the quality of the product/service in terms of design, materials, durability, functionality, or performance. Do you use specific technologies compared to competitors? Is the performance better? For what reasons? Let’s also consider the logistics service and product distribution.

We should not forget about customer care, to which all brands should pay the utmost attention, but which for some could be the most differentiating element for specific reasons (high level of customisation, dedicated personal assistance, or conversely advanced self-service, etc.).

A company can also differentiate itself through communication and marketing strategies different from all others, perhaps using engaging storytelling, a unique tone of voice, impactful visual design. Once your positioning is defined, the communication must be aligned and consistent with the perception you want to evoke in people’s minds.

These are just a few elements that can differentiate you from competitors, but you don’t need to consider them all to define your positioning. After identifying them (we’ll soon see how to do it), you should focus on the most relevant characteristics that most differentiate you from the competition.

How to define the strategic positioning of a brand

If you’ve been following us for a while, this concept won’t be new: defining a brand’s business and marketing strategy is based on a deep knowledge of oneself, the brand’s internal dynamics, and external ones. Everything starts with an in-depth (and introspective in some aspects) analysis, and defining strategic positioning is no exception!

But how can we do brand positioning? What elements should we consider?

First, you need to understand the needs and preferences of the target customer, then you need to become aware of what you do better or differently to others and how. Finally, you need to find the union point of these aspects, enhance it, and communicate it, always keeping this question in mind: how do we want the customer to perceive us? There will be our positioning.

Target analysis

Do you know your target customer in depth? What are their needs and requirements that your value proposition needs to meet? Are there factors that guide their purchasing choices? And the opinions they express about competing brands to yours?

Remember that speaking to everyone is like speaking to no one: that’s why it’s crucial to identify a group of potential customers as homogeneous as possible to direct all your efforts. To define your typical customer and put yourself in their shoes, we recommend filling out the Empathy Map.

Analysis of your business model

Now that you know the needs of your target, you need to understand how you can meet them. To do this, you need to thoroughly analyse your business model and become aware of how your brand creates, distributes, and acquires value.

During Flowerista consultations, we complete the Business Model Canvas, a strategic tool that provides a visual representation of the business model. It consists of 9 sections, corresponding to the elements that make up a company: customers, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, key resources, key activities, partners, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Tip: don’t forget to reflect on your brand’s values, ideals, and aspirations because, as we mentioned, they are fundamental to differentiate and distinguish yourself from others!

Market analysis

What’s happening around us? Let’s try to analyse it while keeping the focus on both our brand and the market. The most useful thing you can do is a SWOT analysis, an acronym in English for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your business, so you can control, modify, and improve them over time. What within your brand can make a difference?

Opportunities and threats are external and, as you can imagine, are not controllable. What are the market trends, technological innovations, and growth dynamics of the sector? How do they affect your business? Which brands can compete with yours? And with this last question, we move to point 4.

Competitor analysis

Competitor analysis helps to identify the competitors of your business and understand everything surrounding their activities, from products/services offered to marketing strategies.

How to do it? Start with a list of your competitors, searching for them on Google or social media. Then analyse them in as much detail as possible regarding products/services offered, sales strategies, website UX, social media, visual identity, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Finally, put the data you found into a benchmarking table and compare it with your brand’s characteristics. What are the elements that distinguish you? The things you do better, do, or would like to do differently from others? How would you like customers to perceive your brand compared to the competition?

Best practices for positioning your brand

Sometimes the actual positioning of the brand is different from the defined/desirable one, and that’s normal. It depends on reasons that can be rational (the product, its characteristics, etc.) and irrational (feelings, impressions, word of mouth, etc.). It is up to us to communicate our positioning with a clear message so that people can perceive the brand in a specific way.

Everything in the brand must be in line with the positioning: the communication strategy, customer care, online and offline initiatives, etc. For example, if you have chosen to target an audience that is very attentive to environmental sustainability and make products with recyclable materials, you cannot use non-recyclable packaging!

Finally, remember that the market is dynamic and constantly evolving, so you will need to continually monitor your brand’s positioning and adapt it if necessary. Keep an eye on customer feedback, competitors’ positioning changes, and new market trends. Being ready to adapt your brand’s positioning is as important as defining it because it helps you maintain competitiveness in the long term!

Translated from the original article by Francesca Mari – read it here

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