How Product Positioning Grows Brands (Top Strategies & Examples) (2023)

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So, you have an excellent new product that you want to share with the market and your target audience.

But before you think about elaborate product launches, you need to define where your product sits in relation to other products on the market.

What makes it different from other products on the market?

Why should customers care about your product?

What is unique about your product?

Why should they choose you over them?

Answering these questions is at the core of product positioning.

What Is Product Positioning?

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Product positioning is the process of clearly defining your product’s place in the market.

It’s all about differentiation.

You need to state how your product offers an alternative solution to anything else that’s on the market for your target customers. It’s this differentiation that will make potential customers take notice of your product.

Effective product positioning helps you manage customer perceptions in your market segment.

Your product marketing strategy then communicates how you want users to think and feel about your product.

Your marketing plan will share the product benefits, how it solves the customers’ pain points, and how it offers an alternative to competitors’ products.

Informed by your clearly defined product positioning strategy and overarching brand strategy, your product marketing can then create a solid image of the product in your customers’ minds.

Why Is Product Positioning Important?

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You can’t rely on product quality for it to be a success.

A solid product or service is simply table stakes. Positioning is where the real battle for the mind begins.

As Al Ries once famously said:

“Positioning is not what you do to a product, it’s what you do to the mind of the prospect”

Excellent product positioning can be the difference between a thriving product loved by a loyal group of customers and an excellent product that falls flat with no significant impact in the market.

Many a superior product has come and gone with little impact because of positioning failure.

Your product performance relies on a strong product position. That’s because all product storytelling, messaging and marketing is built on the foundation of your product position.

Build Brands Like A Pro Brand Strategist

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  • How to avoid the expensive amateur mistakes that 95% of brand builders make to fast-track profit growth

(Video) How Today's Top Brands Approach Product Positioning - Daniel Murphy

How Product Positioning Grows Brands (Top Strategies & Examples) (5)

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Build Brands Like A Pro Brand Strategist

How Product Positioning Grows Brands (Top Strategies & Examples) (6)

  • The exact step-by-step process 7-Figure agencies use to bag big clients through brand strategy

  • How to build brands that command premium fees and stop competing for cheap clients

  • How to avoid the expensive amateur mistakes that 95% of brand builders make to fast-track profit growth

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How Product Positioning Grows Brands (Top Strategies & Examples) (7)

How Product Positioning Grows Brands (Top Strategies & Examples) (8)

Gain A Competitive Advantage

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If you have a clearly defined product position, you present a clear value proposition to potential customers and a reason to buy your product.

If this reason resonates, you gain a competitive advantage over your competitors in the product category.

Puts Your Brand Top-Of-Mind

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Product positioning isn’t just about outlining your product’s key benefits or functionality.

An excellent product positioning strategy will ensure your product and brand stays top-of-mind.

Producing positioning might aim to position your product as number one in its category in the audience’s mind; a coveted spot that will lead to product success.

But it may also aim to be a unique alternative from the rest, rather than number one.

Where such brands gain traction, they invariably end up being number one for the niche segment that chooses them.

(Video) How Today’s Top Brands Approach Product Positioning

Product Positioning Guides Consistent Marketing Messaging

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Mixed messages confuse your target audience.

You can’t focus on one selling point in one marketing channel and then offer a contradictory selling point elsewhere.

As with anything in branding, clarity and consistency is the path to success.

Communicating the value of your product in a consistent manner from message to tone will help to forge a consistent picture of value in the prospect’s mind.

Customers will only understand your unique value if you communicate it consistently across all marketing channels.

Marketing messaging based on solid product positioning should leave the consumer with no doubt as to what your product stands for and how it’s different to similar products on the market.

How To Define Product Positioning

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Your product positioning strategy does not exist in a vacuum and should be closely aligned with your broader brand positioning strategy.

For example, if your brand strategy aims to own the position of “Timeless Style”, then any new product position must support the brand position.

Your positioning strategy should consider several elements

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#1.Brand Strategy

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To help us visualize what this looks like in practice, let’s take inspiration from some brands with comprehensive brand guidelines.

What makes these great is that they signpost elements of the broader brand strategy into the brand guidelines.

#2. Mission And Vision

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How do you envisage the future of your product?

What is the potential for your product’s growth and evolution?

Your brand strategy defines your mission, which should inform an element of your vision for the future.

It should be relatively easy to define why your product exists now, but it’s challenging to picture what role your product may play five or ten years down the line.

Considering this potential future should help you define your product’s immediate value and imagine what the future could hold for the product.

#3. The Market Category

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Are you moving into a new market, creating a new market entirely, or introducing a new product to a market you already have a stake in?

Each path will inform your product positioning strategy.

The market category is your competition zone, so you’ll need to take time to do market research to thoroughly understand your competitors and their products.

You want to occupy a space that nobody has claimed or at least outperform another competitor in the audience’s mind. If the market is over-saturated, then why does your product offer a better solution than somebody else’s?

#4. Pain Points

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What are your target market’s pain points?

Understand the audience’s challenges and how you can frame your product as a solution to the customers’ needs.

What problem or problems does your product solve for the audience?

Product teams often create customer journey maps to explore the specific frustrations of their buyer personas.

By exploring these frustrations, you can gain valuable insights that inform your positioning strategy.

#5. Benefits

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It can be quite tempting to get caught up in the promotion features (especially when those features are innovative) but the benefit is where brands make connections.

In 2001, the Creative Zen was a popular MP3 player. Their promotions and ads went into great detail about the long list of features it boasted without ever really translating to the consumer the overarching benefit.

That year, Steve Jobs announced the launch of the iPod. Rather than focusing on the innovative click wheel features and navigation system, Apple and Jobs communicated a simplistic benefit.

“1,000 songs in your pocket”

(Video) Strategic Brand Management Framework I Brand Positioning with examples

#6. Product Positioning Statement

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After contemplating the brand strategy, market category, your audience’s pain points, and the benefits for your product, you should have enough context to write a purposeful product positioning statement.

The positioning statement is critical to all future strategies.

In it, you give a concrete description of your product and outline its value proposition to the audience.

Here’s a positioning statement template:

(Product name) is a (product category) that helps (target audience) achieve (differentiating benefit(s)your product offers) to avoid or solve (users’ challenges, needs, or problems).

This statement evolves into a positioning document that clarifies how your company should view your product and how exactly to present it.

The document outlines how to communicate the product to customers to build a solid product image in their minds and informs all further product messaging and marketing.

Powerful Examples Of Product Positioning

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Let’s take inspiration from some excellent brands from different industries that nail their product positioning strategies.

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Apple – iPhone

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The Apple iPhone claims over 50% of the smartphone market in the US.

Apple has established its brand reputation as a premium provider of innovative and advanced yet user-friendly products and has created a product in the iPhone, that has become a cult brand in-and-of-itself.

The iPhone differentiates itself from competitors with its exclusive, sleek, luxurious elegance and the ever-present Apple brand experience from packaging to customer support.

The closed iOS operating software has created a walled garden for Apple throughout their entire product line, but no product has benefited more than the iPhone.

As always, simplicity is front and centre from phone design to interface, making a move away from iPhone’s differentiation no easy task.

Levi’s – 501’s

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Levi’s is a brand with over 150 years of history with a reputation for quality, durable, yet fashionable denim wear.

The brand leans into its all-American heritage and has built considerable brand salience and customer loyalty through its long history.

Within Levi’s products, one pair of denim jeans stands above the rest in consumers’ minds, the 501’s.

Levi’s 501’s have almost become the gold standard for jeans worldwide.

While other styles come and go, with variations like taper, skinny, and boot-cut, all with their own three-number allocation, the straight-leg standard 501’s are an ever-present icon.

For many buyers, it’s not enough to have a pair of Levi’s.

(Video) How To Write A Positioning Statement (Brand Template + Example)

You need to get the iconic 501’s with their immediately recognizable sewn-in patch bearing the Levi’s logo.

Levi’s product positioning strategy for the 501’s is to play off this reputation for quality and iconic status.

Nike – Air Max

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Nike has a vast product range covering footwear, athleisure, hats, soccer equipment, and various other apparel categories.

Many of Nike’s product categories have obtained a cult following in and of themselves.

The Air Max footwear range has a dedicated customer base that is fully aware of the product’s evolution.

They are “fans” of the sneakers in the truest sense of the word.

They’ll track the release dates of new editions, search for older versions of the product online, and queue up at launch events to get their hands on the sneakers.

Nike’s product strategy is to nurture this cult following.

Releases of the Air Max sneakers always come with considerable fanfare with various limited editions and staggered release dates to allow loyal customers early access.

They play on the idea of the product as a collector’s item on top of its functionality as comfortable, high-quality, cool sneakers.

Common Product Positioning Strategies

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While your product’s value should be unique, that doesn’t mean your product positioning strategy has to be original.

You’ll find that most product positioning strategies fall into one of the following categories.

Price – Position your product so it undercuts competitors, making it the most affordable option on the market.

Quality – Demonstrate that your product has superior quality to competitors, taking the luxury or premium angle. This positioning strategy can be useful to counteract rivals who undercut you on price.

User – Target a very specific demographic that you think nobody else caters to.

Competitor – Take a competitor head-on and position your product as directly better than theirs.

Differentiation – Demonstrate that there’s simply nothing else like your product on the market; that it’s truly unique.

Over To You

The ideal positioning approach for your product will depend on your target market’s needs, your market research findings, and your brand’s objectives.

Yet, regardless of your chosen strategy, having a clearly defined product position will help you understand your product’s value.

Knowing your product’s value is vital to effectively communicating this value to your audience.

Remember that your product positioning strategy is all about building the desired perception of the product in the audience’s mind. Do this well and you can carve out your place in the market and lay the groundwork for a successful product.

However, brands evolve. Markets evolve as competitors come and go in prominence. Audience interests change, too.

You’ll need to revisit your product positioning strategies regularly to ensure your products consistently resonate with the target audience and maintain that pride of place in their minds.

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FAQs

What is the best strategy in product positioning? ›

Your positioning strategy should succinctly capture who your customers are and what they need. Describe the attributes of your target customers, including demographic, behavioral, psychographic, and geographic details. You will also want to provide insights into the main problems the customer is trying to solve.

What is an example of strategic positioning? ›

A great positioning strategy example would be a computer company that focuses on providing cutting edge technology at premium costs before their competitors. Another example of positioning strategy would be a large chain store that focuses on providing popular goods to many people at a low cost.

What is Apple's positioning statement? ›

Apple Positioning Statement:

Apple emphasizes technological research and advancement and takes an innovative approach to business best practices — it considers the impact our products and processes have on its customers and the planet.

What are the 7 positioning strategies? ›

The seven basic types of positioning strategies are:
  • Product characteristics or consumer benefits. In using this strategy for positioning, the focus is on quality. ...
  • Pricing. ...
  • Use or application. ...
  • Product process. ...
  • Product class. ...
  • Cultural symbols. ...
  • Competitors (relation to)

What is an example of a positioning statement? ›

Brand positioning statement template:

[Your brand] provides [your offering/benefit that makes you better than competitors] for [your customers] who [customer needs] because [the reason why your customers should believe you are better than competitors].

What is the importance of product positioning? ›

Product positioning is a very important tool for an effective marketing strategic planning. Product positioning creates an image of the company's products in the mind of consumers, highlighting the most important benefits that differentiate the product from similar products in the market.

What is Coca Cola positioning statement? ›

Unlike other beverage options, Coca-Cola products inspire happiness and make a positive difference in customers' lives, and the brand is intensely focused on the needs of consumers and customers.”

What is a product strategy example? ›

The product strategy should bridge your product vision and the tactical steps to fulfill that mission. First, your team will develop the vision for the product. For example: “We will help businesses unlock valuable information by making their data more accessible and useful.”

What are the different types of positioning strategies? ›

There are four main types of positioning strategies: competitive positioning, product positioning, situational positioning, and perceptual positioning.

What are the 3 product positioning strategies? ›

There are three standard types of product positioning strategies brands should consider: comparative, differentiation, and segmentation. Through these strategies, brands can help their product stand out by targeting the right audiences with the best message.

What are the six common bases for positioning? ›

The major positioning categories include:
  • positioning by product attribute (product feature and/or benefit),
  • positioning by user,
  • positioning by product class,
  • positioning versus competition,
  • positioning by use/application, and.
  • positioning by quality or value.

How do you build brand positioning? ›

7 Steps to creating a brand positioning strategy
  1. Assess your current brand positioning.
  2. Identify and research your competitors.
  3. Compare your positioning to your competition.
  4. Pinpoint what makes your brand unique.
  5. Create a brand positioning statement.
  6. Implement your new brand positioning.
23 Sept 2021

What are the 6 types of product positioning? ›

There are 8 types of product positioning based on different aspects of the product. These can be based upon; quality, variety, performance, efficiency, aesthetic, reliability, sustainability, and DIY.

Is an example of product positioning strategy by user category? ›

In user-based positioning, businesses focus on a specific type of user or customer to make their product more appealing. For example, a company might position its product as ideal for students. An example of such user-based positioning is how Microsoft positions its Surface Pro tablet as ideal for students.

What is Nike's positioning statement? ›

That's Nike's brand essence, and it's been their positioning since their inception. It's the reason the famous tagline "Just Do It." holds so much weight, and why the brand promise, "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” is still as true today as it ever has been for the brand.

What is Starbucks positioning statement? ›

So, Starbucks' positioning strategy was 'Authentic Coffee, Great Experience and Quicker Delivery'.

What is Amazon's positioning statement? ›

For example, take a look at Amazon's positioning statement: "Our vision is to be the earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."

What is product positioning process? ›

Product positioning is the process of deciding and communicating how you want your market to think and feel about your product. Successful product positioning requires your team to articulate: How your product can solve your customer's problem.

What is benefit positioning strategy? ›

Benefit based positioning focuses in on a specific benefit to the unique solution of the brand. Although this positioning approach can be advantageous to product positioning, this approach is less beneficial to brand positioning as it imposes a tight restriction on the direction the brand can go.

What is the brand positioning of Nestle? ›

Nestlé's primary objective is "good food, good life." As time passed, the company began to manufacture various products such as chocolates, cereal grains, coffee, frozen food, mineral water, and cosmetics, among others.

What is product positioning statement? ›

A positioning statement is an expression of how a given product, service or brand fills a particular consumer need in a way that its competitors don't. Positioning is the process of identifying an appropriate market niche for a product (or service or brand) and getting it established in that area.

Why is product positioning so important factor for company success? ›

Brand positioning creates clarity around who you serve. It also explains to your target audience why you are the best company for them and what sets your products or services apart. It helps you justify your pricing strategy. The positioning of the brand can be used to justify a pricing strategy.

What are the most effective success measures of brand positioning? ›

The Most Successful Brand Positioning is Simple, Consistent and Strategically Sound. As you can see, a lot of listening, evaluation, thinking and fine-tuning goes into successful brand positioning.

Why is a brand strategy important? ›

An effective brand strategy helps you cultivate a strong brand. It defines who you are as a business, and focuses your long-term goals. It also sets a benchmark to measure progress against: Without a brand strategy, you have no way to judge whether your brand is moving in the right direction or not.

What are the 6 types of product positioning? ›

There are 8 types of product positioning based on different aspects of the product. These can be based upon; quality, variety, performance, efficiency, aesthetic, reliability, sustainability, and DIY.

What is an example of a positioning statement? ›

Brand positioning statement template:

[Your brand] provides [your offering/benefit that makes you better than competitors] for [your customers] who [customer needs] because [the reason why your customers should believe you are better than competitors].

What are the 7 key elements of product positioning? ›

Components of successful product positioning
  • Price.
  • Product application/use.
  • Target customers.
  • Competitive advantages.
  • Ethical values/policies.
  • Speak to your ideal customers.
  • Research the competition.
  • Determine the unique features and value of your product.

How does Nike position itself in the market? ›

Positioning of Nike

Positioning is all about placing the company's brand in the market with other competitors. Nike has strategically positioned its brand as a market leader for sports equipment that provides innovative and premium quality technology.

What are the 7 positioning strategies? ›

The seven basic types of positioning strategies are:
  • Product characteristics or consumer benefits. In using this strategy for positioning, the focus is on quality. ...
  • Pricing. ...
  • Use or application. ...
  • Product process. ...
  • Product class. ...
  • Cultural symbols. ...
  • Competitors (relation to)

What is the importance of positioning? ›

Brand positioning creates clarity around who you serve. It also explains to your target audience why you are the best company for them and what sets your products or services apart. It helps you justify your pricing strategy. The positioning of the brand can be used to justify a pricing strategy.

How do you develop product positioning? ›

6-step framework for effective product positioning
  1. Understand why your target audience uses your product. ...
  2. Analyze your competitors. ...
  3. Identify your unique selling proposition. ...
  4. Communicate your product positioning internally. ...
  5. Establish and implement a positioning strategy. ...
  6. Keep your product positioning up to date.
10 Dec 2021

What is Starbucks positioning statement? ›

So, Starbucks' positioning strategy was 'Authentic Coffee, Great Experience and Quicker Delivery'.

What is Amazon's positioning statement? ›

For example, take a look at Amazon's positioning statement: "Our vision is to be the earth's most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."

What is the brand positioning of Nestle? ›

Nestlé's primary objective is "good food, good life." As time passed, the company began to manufacture various products such as chocolates, cereal grains, coffee, frozen food, mineral water, and cosmetics, among others.

What are the six common bases for positioning? ›

The major positioning categories include:
  • positioning by product attribute (product feature and/or benefit),
  • positioning by user,
  • positioning by product class,
  • positioning versus competition,
  • positioning by use/application, and.
  • positioning by quality or value.

What are the objectives of product positioning? ›

The goal of product positioning is to present a product or service to the customer in a way that effectively communicates its value.

What is Nike's brand strategy? ›

However, there is one main ingredient in Nike's messaging: to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete.” Nike encourages anyone with a body, able or disabled, to maintain sports and an active lifestyle. The brand slogan says, “if you have a body, you're an athlete.”

What is Nike's strategy? ›

The idea is to target customers with unique needs. In applying this, the business strategy of Nike could involve focusing on markets with limited competition. Such markets are the basis of a competitive advantage. The firm could either charge a premium or keep the product price below the industry average.

What is the positioning of PUMA? ›

Positioning of the Puma marketing strategy

The Puma brand has used a combination of geographic, demographic, and psychographic targeting strategies for many years. In this way, you can more easily understand customers' needs that can change from day to day in the market.

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4. Mark Ritson on the power of Apple's brand positioning
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5. [Webinar Replay] Brand Positioning Strategies For Growth by Baptista
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6. Module 3 Brand Management Positioning Strategy Tutorial Video
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