Examples of Strong Brand Positioning Strategies and Why they Work

Posted by Carolyn Crafts
Positioning Your Brand Ahead of Competitors | FullSurge

Al Ries and Jack Trout brought the term brand positioning to the forefront in their bestselling book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. In the book, the authors stated:

"Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect." – Ries & Trout, 2001

This means that people are constantly forming opinions on everything they interact with, consciously or otherwise. In other words, whether you cultivate a brand position or not, you will have one.

If you're not making a conscious effort to create a desired impression, you're likely to end up with unfavorable positioning.

An effective brand positioning requires conscious effort. This takes different strategies, including packaging, pricing, promotions, distribution, and competition.

The goal is to create a particular impression in customers' minds — they should associate something specific and desirable with your brand. Consider how Nike has positioned itself as a brand that cares about athletic performance and innovation.

Everything about their brand strategy — from their name (after the Greek Goddess of Victory) to their swoosh logo to their tagline ("Just Do It") — emphasizes their desired positioning. Nike's models aren't smiling in their ads as they jog leisurely. They are athletes with their serious game faces on.

Following are brand positioning examples and how some of the world's best brands position themselves ahead of the competition.

Solve a Market Problem: Dollar Shave Club

When you can solve a consumer problem, fill a market gap, and build a brand people want to rally, revenue growth becomes a great byproduct.

In 2016, Gillette was sitting on their lofty perch with 85% of the men's razor blade market when the Dollar Shave Club came along and told a frustrated market segment what they already knew and needed to hear.

They didn't need to pay inflated prices for overdeveloped razors to have a smooth shave. There was a better, cheaper, and easier way.

The Dollar Shave Club caught Gillette resting on its laurels and went on to steal over 50% of the online men's razor market before Unilever swooped in with a $1 billion takeover.

Differentiate — Provide Something Unique: Tesla Motors

The key to brand positioning is not being first — it's being unique and hard to copy. If you can't be unique, there's no reason for customers to purchase from you instead of your competitors. To be unique, you need to find a way to be different and better than everyone else. Differentiate — don't be commonplace. Tesla’s brand positioning is one of strength.

In 2008, when Elon Musk took over, he re-positioned Tesla as “the new technology for clean energy.” Today, Tesla Motors dominates the market for luxury, long-range electric automobiles. Tesla is unique because it doesn't just sell cars but offers new technologies, making it very different from the market for less expensive electric vehicles and luxury gas-powered vehicles.

Help People See Their Self-worth: Dove

All humans have fears and often experience self-criticism, lack of confidence or nerve, or modesty.

Dedicate your brand to inspiring customers to feel confident in themselves. By doing so, you can create strong brand loyalty and even make customers see themselves in your brand identity.

Dove has done a remarkable job branding itself as focused on helping women see their self-worth instead of just selling soap. Dove encourages women to embrace their looks rather than finding fault. And this strategy works. It empowers women with a sense of confidence, which they link to the brand, creating a powerful brand connection.

Offer an Unrivaled Guarantee: Cutco

Offering unmatchable guarantees is a strong brand positioning strategy. The guarantee means that purchasing your product doesn't pose risks to your customers. A guarantee demonstrates you are confident enough in your product, and you genuinely care about the customer's satisfaction.

Cutco sells high-priced cutlery with a remarkable promise – "Forever Guarantee." It means buying a set of knives today can save customers a tremendous amount of money by never needing to buy another set. This is an impressive guarantee.

Change the Game! Be The First: Uber

Being the first to market is one of the most powerful brand positioning strategies to gain a competitive advantage and ensure customer loyalty. Being first entails offering products that people have never heard of before. It means you must provide new valuable and beneficial products that improve people's lives in a way never seen before.

Typically, first movers have established significant market share with a solid customer base.

Launched in 2009, Uber is a great example. The rideshare app category didn't exist until Uber created it, and it has proved to be a highly convenient great alternative to taxis and poorly funded public transportation systems. Uber is often held up as a remarkable case study on the potential of growth hacking.

More than ever before, consumers have an extensive choice of brands to choose from. A unique brand positioning strategy can keep your target audience's attention and help you grow your business.

The success or failure of any brand hinges on the success or failure of its position in the market. A lack of strategic thinking or differentiation is the fastest way for a brand to blend into the sea of sameness and disappear without anyone ever knowing it existed.

What sets your brand apart from the competition? The biggest names in any industry, including Coca-Cola and Amazon, have one thing in common: a successful brand positioning. To win in the marketplace, brands must achieve competitive differentiation.

At FullSurge, our senior-only brand consultants help brands know who they are, what they stand for, and how their desired reputation shapes their business goals. By creating focused brands people are vested in, we help businesses grow. Contact us to learn more.

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