Marketing and Positioning Fundamentals for Better Customer Perception

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For a brand, positioning is important and cannot be overlooked. And an effective positioning cannot be achieved without the right messaging strategy.

So, positioning and messaging work hand-in-hand to influence how your brand is perceived. Positioning refers to how you want your brand to be viewed compared to competitors.

Messaging encompasses both the written and visual language used to convey your brand’s positioning. It includes your brand slogan, taglines, value proposition, product benefits, and overall style.

Together, positioning and messaging influence how your audience perceives you and guide marketing decisions. Let’s explore how to work with these two concepts and clarify your brand image to your customers.

What is Positioning?

Positioning is all about how your brand is perceived by your target audience. It’s how people think and feel about your brand.

Through positioning, you establish the identity and image of a brand in the marketplace. The goal of positioning is to convey the unique value proposition of your brand in a compelling way that resonates with customers. At its core, positioning is about differentiation – giving customers a reason to choose your brand over alternatives.

Effective positioning shapes customer perceptions of your product or service.

Positioning is strategic and influences marketing decisions from product development to promotion. It guides branding efforts across channels to convey a consistent image.

Types of Positioning

There are a few main types of positioning that brands use:

Attribute-Based Positioning

This type of positioning focuses on specific attributes or features of a product or service. The messaging highlights things like price, quality, speed, design, or technology.

For example, a budget airline might position itself based on low fares, while a tech company might focus its positioning on innovation and cutting-edge features.

Benefit-Based Positioning

With benefit-based positioning, brands position their offering based on the benefits they provide to customers. Rather than focusing on product attributes, they emphasize the positive outcomes or experiences customers can expect.

Some examples include positioning based on convenience, reliability, or luxury. Benefit-based positioning connects more emotionally with customers.

Competitor-Based Positioning

Here, a brand defines its position in direct comparison to competitors. This often involves positioning as the superior option to alternative brands in some way.

For instance, a new smartphone brand might position itself as offering the longest battery life compared to other popular brands, highlighting its superior performance in this key area. The messaging would emphasize this advantage and contrast it with competitors’ offerings.

What is Messaging?

To put it simply, messaging involves the specific language, words, phrases, and themes that a brand uses to communicate with its target audience. It covers all the verbal and written language in all brand communications across channels like advertising, websites, social media, email, packaging, and more.

Messaging is one of the key marketing efforts that leads to effective positioning. It articulates what the brand stands for and aims to convey about its personality, strengths, differentiators, and benefits to consumers.

Effective messaging is consistent across touchpoints and memorable. It persuades customers with compelling reasons to settle for your brand and stick with it.

Link Between Positioning and Messaging

Positioning and messaging go hand in hand. Your brand’s positioning determines how you want it perceived in the marketplace. For that to happen, your messaging strategy should align with and reinforce that desired perception.

Suppose, a company wants to be positioned as a “luxury brand”, then their messaging should reflect themes of indulgence, prestige, exclusivity, and high quality. Everything from the tagline, logo, advertisements, website content, social media posts, etc. should stay scream ‘Luxury vibes’.

But keep in mind that this linkage also flows in the reverse direction. Messaging that is off-brand or inconsistent with positioning will dilute and damage that positioning over time. Customers will become confused about what a brand stands for.

Strong brands ensure tight integration between positioning and messaging. The two components reinforce each other to create a cohesive brand image in the minds of customers.

Tips for Developing Positioning

Positioning is a strategic process that requires thoughtful planning and research. So here are some tried and tested tips to help develop an effective positioning strategy:

Conduct Research

Conduct market research to understand your industry, competitors, and target customers. Look at market trends, growth opportunities, and how competitors position themselves. This will help you find an open positioning opportunity to stand out.

Identify Your Core Target Audience

Clearly define your core target audience. Be specific about their demographics, psychographics, needs, behaviors, and values. This will allow you to develop messaging that resonates with them.

Determine Points of Parity and Difference

Identify points of parity—ways your offering is similar to competitors’. Then, determine points of difference—unique benefits and advantages only you provide. Reinforce points of difference in your messaging while acknowledging points of parity.

Map Your Positioning Territory

Map your desired positioning relative to competitors’ key attributes. This visualization allows you to carve out a unique positioning territory and guide messaging.

Develop a Positioning Statement

Synthesize your research into a positioning statement or slogan. This succinctly captures your target audience, frame of reference, point of difference, and reason to believe. It serves as an internal compass for messaging.

Test and Iterate

Conduct market research by surveying target customers on your draft positioning. Be prepared to iterate based on feedback. Fine-tune messaging that resonates most with your audience.

Developing a strong, differentiated brand positioning takes time and strategic thinking. Following these tips will help guide you through the positioning process.

Tips for Crafting Messaging

You can forget about standing out in the crowd without well-crafted, strong, consistent messages aligned with your positioning. Hence, your messaging game needs to be on point.

  • Make sure your messaging is consistent with and supports your positioning. Every message should ladder up to your brand positioning.
  • Focus messaging on meeting customer needs and communicating benefits. Feature-focused messaging often fails to resonate.
  • Highlight how you solve pain points and improve lives. Customers care most about how you can help them.
  • Convey your key messages across all brand touchpoints. Consistency builds recognition and trust.
  • Lead with your hero message or key differentiator. What’s your one big idea?
  • Keep language clear, simple, and benefit-driven. Avoid overly clever or complex messaging.
  • Leverage messaging that creates an emotional connection. Tap into customer aspirations.
  • Test messages with your target audience for resonance. Don’t assume you know how they’ll respond.
  • Monitor messaging performance and refine based on results. Be ready to evolve your messaging over time.
  • Train employees to convey consistent messaging in all interactions. Everyone represents your brand.

With thoughtful development and disciplined consistency, your messaging can become a powerful asset in conveying your brand story and vision to the marketplace.

Conclusion

By now, it’s clear that positioning and messaging are integral parts of your marketing strategy. Ignoring or neglecting even one can lead to the dilution of your brand identity.

Without a strong and consistent positioning and messaging strategy, your brand risks being overlooked or misunderstood by your target audience. That’s why investing time and effort into developing a clear, cohesive positioning and messaging strategy that aligns with your brand values and resonates with your target audience is essential.

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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