Brands must continually grow to thrive and maintain relevance, however, achieving and sustaining profitable growth is a challenge. One of the most common ways for an established brand to achieve meaningful growth is through brand extensions, but many brand leaders struggle with how far they can (or should) stretch their brands’ boundaries. Play it too safe, and ho-hum line extensions will underwhelm customers; stray too far from the brand’s core positioning, and you risk diluting or causing irreversible damage to your brand’s valuable equity.
Brand positioning represents the actual foundation of brand strategy. According to Philip Kotler, known as the “Father of Modern Marketing,” brand positioning is “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.” Brand positioning is often defined as the promise a brand makes to its key stakeholders that informs every aspect of brand development, including:
In the last post, A Modern Approach to Identifying Your Target Market, I discussed that the first component considered when establishing a brand positioning should be the target audience—the “who,” (e.g., stakeholders) the brand is intended to serve. While the target audience remains an essential part of the brand positioning model, it needs to be considered more expansively. Traditional considerations of target audiences often fall prey to two potential shortcomings: