Competitive brand positioning is crucial to any large business – it’s what differentiates you from your competitors and makes you stand out to any potential customers. A powerful, competitive brand is more than just an ethos that you try to impose downwards onto your company – a successful brand comes from a deep understanding of the market you’re operating in, and how exactly it is your company fits into that space. It should be a reflection of the material reality of your performance in the market. To be effective in creating a brand that reflects this, you have to have a good understanding of what exactly it is that makes you different from the pack. The below questions should help you determine what exactly these currently-existing qualities are;
- Are you the industry leader, or occupying a niche?
And as a follow on question, is this where you want to be and does your current branding reflect that? If you’re a small, local business with no aspiration of expansion to other cities then you’re not going to want your brand looking like a multinational Pharma-company. Similarly, if your company is experiencing a lot of growth, with the trajectory having no signs of slowing you may want to think about how to re-align your image.
- Do you have a technological edge?
Having a particular patented-technology that helps you work better than your competitors can be key. Food and drink businesses bank on this all the time – think the Colonel’s secret spices, or the recipe for Coca-Cola. That’s successful branding at the highest level.
- What kind of reach do you have?
This means how you get your products out to people, how quick and how much. If you’re a leader in quick delivery, or reaching all the little nooks and crannies, this can make all the difference and you should recognise the appeal of this for your customer-base.
- How does your customer service differ from your competitors?
This is something where the culture of your particular company is really important. How do you train your customer-facing staff? What kind of impression do they have of the company? This sort of thing is really visible to consumers, now more than ever – think Apple Genius’s, or pick any random companies social media presence.
Now looking at the above, you might be thinking that you might be strong one area, and not in another – maybe your reach is great, but your technology isn’t anything special. Maybe your customer service is top-notch, but there’s another area where you fall down. This is to be expected, as in a marketplace there will never be a ‘perfect-product’, one that satisfies all needs. What you need to do is find what your niche is, what your demographic is and do your very best to satisfy them. Different people have different expectations, and the better you understand this, the more competitive your branding edge will be. As the old proverb goes, “You can please some people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Strategic branding means understanding this and creatively acting on it.