What You Need to Know About Emotions in Branding
Ask for a Kleenex.
Cut your finger?
Reach for a Band-aid.
These brands have become so well known they're now part of our everyday language. This brand recognition wasn't just by accident—a unique brand positioning strategy helped these brands successfully differentiate themselves from the competition and become household names.
But brand positioning isn't just for big players. Both start-ups and well-established brands rely on a unique brand position to help them stand out in their industry. In this article, we'll touch on some key elements to consider as part of a brand positioning strategy and how major brands have been audacious in curating brand recognition.
Whether you realize it or not, your brand has a reputation. Brand positioning is how you control and cultivate your brand's reputation in the market. However, it's more than a fancy logo or catchy slogan. It's how you position your brand in the eyes of current and potential customers, setting you apart from competitors.
What goes into a brand positioning strategy?
It's a mix of a research, strategy, and, of course, branding — that crafts a brand identity that touches on your company's values and resonates with customers.
Take a brand like Zappos. It's positioned itself as an online shoe retailer known for its customer service. It's in everything they do. Their dedication to customers is in their core values, their messaging, and through their deliverables. They showcase their brand position by responding to customer service emails quickly, offering two-way free shipping services, and having a 365-day return policy. Their unique brand positioning as a "customer service" defined brand has led them to become a leader in the eCommerce space.
Brand positioning lays the groundwork for all business activities and touchpoints. It cements what your company represents in the eyes of your customers. But why do companies need a brand positioning strategy?
Let's face it, it's a crowded marketplace, and brand recognition is critical to standing out. Simply put—having a unique brand position helps clearly differentiate why you're the best option.
Whether you're moving to a new market, expanding products and services, or defending against market disruptors, brand positioning can help you craft messaging to showcase your unique value and create an emotional connection with customers.
Not sure how it works in practice?
Let's take a look at some audacious brands that have a knack for brand positioning.
Some of the most successful brand positions have been both unique and memorable. Here are a few examples of brand positioning statements done right, as well as insight into why they were successful.
There are tons of brands that offer coffee and pastries, but Dunkin's branding focuses on the convenience of its products. Its slogan, "America runs on Dunkin'," suggests that the brand is essential for everyday life, and its brand positioning implies that it's easy and fast to get your coffee fix from them. That's what Dunkin' wants to be known for—convenience and reliability.
And it works for Dunkin'. Their focus on wide-ranging availability and convenience-based brand positioning strategy led them to become the world's leading baked goods and coffee chain, servicing more than 3 million customers a day.
Apple has always been on the cutting edge of technology and design, so it stands to reason that they'd brand themselves with the same attitude. It's a brand positioning statement that implies exclusivity and innovation, which is precisely what Apple stands for. It's why they can command high prices for their products and why customers are drawn to them. Apple isn't in the market to compete for low prices but to provide high-end products with premium features. Their messaging of "Think different" reinforces their brand positioning.
If your market is full of similar products, it can be hard to see how a brand positioning strategy can differentiate against competitors. But brand positioning statements are more than just words—they're what make a brand unique. Take, for example, Popeyes and Chik-Fil-A.
On the surface, it would appear these restaurant competitors offer almost identical products—fast-food fried chicken. But, the brand positioning strategy of each company delivers a different message.
Chik-Fil-A focuses on being a family brand that offers wholesome food in a comfortable setting that you can bring home every day (except Sunday). On the other hand, Popeyes is all about bold flavors and Southern-inspired recipes for the adventurous foodie.
Popeyes relies on a differentiation positioning strategy to highlight its unique flavors and brand personality—one that's all about boldness and adventure. Chik-Fil-A, meanwhile, focuses on its more subtle brand positioning strategy—a brand that is all about comfort customer service, and some hilarious cows to keep things light.
Each brand has found success in differentiating itself in the fast-food industry, thanks to brand positioning that clearly communicates what each one stands for.
The takeaway? Markets are saturated with similar products, but brand positioning is key to finding your unique place.
Crafting your brand positioning strategy requires you to dive deep into the nuances of your business and figure out what makes you better than your competitors. Here are a few elements to focus on.
Start by studying your target customer and defining who they are. Consider all elements that go into evaluating your target customer—age, demographics, behaviors, and attitudes. Your brand positioning strategy should speak to them and be tailored to their needs. Here are a few ways to connect with your customer:
Research and find what consumer trends are on the rise in your industry. Knowing where the market is headed and how to either leverage the trend or sidestep a fad that provides no value—is important to creating a scalable brand positioning.
What tangible goals does your brand have? Are you looking for increased revenue or brand awareness? Are you launching new products and breaking into new markets? Clearly identify what you want to achieve and prioritize those goals with your messaging.
After doing a brand audit, it's time to check out the competition. Competitive research can show you what you're up against and how to position your brand to stand out. You're looking for ways that your competitors are alike, how they are different, and where the gaps in the market exist. An in-depthcompetitive analysis can help highlight where your brand stands relative to your toughest competition.
This is where all your brand positioning strategy elements come together. This statement is a concise yet descriptive phrase that tells customers what your brand represents and your core values.
Example—Rebel's Positioning Statement
The success or failure of a brand depends on how well it can connect with customers.
Does its messaging compel action? Is this brand memorable? Does its brand identity stand out?
Brand positioning leads audacious brands to capture the attention and curiosity of their target customer. It's what defines your brand and gives customers a reason to choose it.
If you're wondering how you can differentiate and get ahead of market forces, it may be time for a brand positioning strategy. At Rebel, we work with you to establish a strategic brand ecosystem that builds trust within your audiences. And that ultimately moves the needle today and thereafter. Let's work together.