BMW is positioned in the market as “sheer driving pleasure”. This tells us how BMW wants to be perceived and how they want their brand to be positioned in our minds. This also differentiates BMW from their competitors in our minds.

To have a well-developed brand positioning is a powerful tool for business owners and entrepreneurs to differentiate their products, services or organisations from competitors.

A strong brand positioning strategy is essential to any marketing strategy to make a strong brand promise that resonates with potential customers.

Source: Facebook: BMW

In this article, we examine the fundamentals of brand positioning so that you can position your business successfully.


Table of Contents

What is brand positioning?

Brand positioning seeks to create a distinct brand identity and perception in consumers’ minds of your brand.

Note: I make a point to underline that there are two types of brand identity: brand strategic identity is different from brand visual identity, which seems to be the first thing people think of when they hear brand identity or even branding.

Brand positioning is a process that involves developing a unique set of associations that differentiate your brand from your competitors and communicating it to stand for something specific in the market. To underscore, brand positioning is always relative to that of competitors.

Notably, a strong brand positioning strategy helps businesses connect emotionally with their target audience by communicating what makes the brand unique and memorable.

The benefits of effective brand positioning include the following:

  • Increased visibility.
  • Customer loyalty.
  • Improved sales.
  • Higher profits.

Having a clearly defined brand identity can assist in acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones by conveying an understanding of your business’ purpose and values.

It also allows you to focus your marketing efforts on specific segments more likely to be interested in your products or services.

Messages should be tailored as part of your positioning strategy by segmenting potential buyers into distinct groups based on their:

  • needs
  • wants
  • attitudes towards products/services, etc.

Different types of positioning strategies:

Niche positioning strategy: Nike’s positioning is an option that requires specialised knowledge but can be highly lucrative if done right – i.e. focusing exclusively on one particular segment instead of trying to appeal across multiple segments at once.

Differentiation positioning strategy

Differentiation positioning focuses on making your offering stand out from competitors’ offerings so that customers perceive greater value when choosing yours.

Repositioning positioning strategy

Repositioning positioning involves changing how people view a product, service or brand communicated through advertising campaigns or other tactics.

Repositioning goes beyond superficial tweaks, such as adding features or improving quality standards, to changing the positioning dimensions 9core brand associations) all together – i.e. changing BMW’s positioning from “sheer driving pleasure” to quality and luxury. If successful, BMW would no longer occupy the driving pleasure position in people’s minds but rather a quality and luxury position.

Effective brand positioning yields increased visibility, customer loyalty, improved sales and higher profits for businesses looking to create an emotional connection with their target audience by communicating what makes them unique and memorable.

Positioning a brand effectively allows businesses to differentiate themselves and make a lasting impression. However, devising a successful positioning strategy necessitates meticulous preparation, examination, and implementation – all of which will be further elaborated.

Turning your strategy into a strong brand positioning statement helps communicate your brand’s positioning to your team. Note: a brand positioning statement is used for internal purposes.

Forming an emotional bond with customers and distinguishing oneself from rivals are essential elements of successful brand positioning.

An icon with a smiley face and a star, indicating brand positioning.

How to develop a brand positioning strategy?

A brand positioning strategy aims to use brand positioning as a tool to differentiate your brand from your competitors. So:

  1. Develop a successful brand positioning strategy by carefully considering your external target audience and competitors and your internal unique selling proposition. This is very much influenced by which branding school of thought you support.
  2. Identify the intended recipients of your brand message to devise an effective approach; recognise their desires, beliefs, values and practices to shape how you position your brand to draw your customers in.
  3. Analyse competitors’ strategies to help determine what makes your company’s offering stand out.

Unique selling proposition

Once you understand your competitors, it is essential to define your unique selling proposition (USP) that sets your product, service or brand apart from its main competitors. This could include customer service levels, price points, quality, innovation or delivery timescales.

Mission statement and values

Create a mission statement and core values for your business to ensure everyone within the organisation understands what it stands for and provides direction when making decisions about marketing activities.

Brand promise

Then, develop a strong brand promise which communicates why customers should choose your brand over others clearly and concisely. Use this in all marketing efforts, such as advertising campaigns or website copywriting.

Finally, an appropriate logo and visual identity system will help establish recognition with consumers while ensuring consistency across all platforms; this could include fonts, colours and imagery associated with your brand.

Developing a brand positioning strategy and wording it as a brand positioning statement (a single paragraph) is essential for any business to stay competitive and thrive in the market. In addition, assessing the efficacy of your approach can give insight into whether it has been productive and if any modifications should be made.

Next, we’ll explore ways to measure the success of your brand positioning efforts.

Developing an effective brand positioning strategy involves understanding the target audience, analysing competitors and creating a unique selling proposition.
Crafting a mission statement and core values and designing appropriate visuals are essential steps to building customer recognition.

How to measure the success of your brand positioning strategy?

Measuring the success of your brand positioning strategy is critical to understanding whether you’re achieving your goals. Three main metrics can help you determine how successful your positioning strategy has been:

  • Monitor market share and customer acquisition rates.
  • Track changes in customer perception and loyalty.
  • Analyse social media engagement levels.

Monitor market share and customer acquisition rates

Tracking the portion of market share you possess relative to other brands can offer insight into your brand’s position. You should also follow any new customers acquired over time, as this will tell you if more people are drawn to your company’s offers due to its strong position.

Track changes in customer perception and loyalty

Tracking changes in customer perception and loyalty: To measure whether or not consumers understand what makes your brand unique from its competitors, track changes in consumer perceptions over time by conducting surveys or focus groups with target audiences.

Additionally, it’s essential to monitor loyalty metrics such as repeat purchases or referrals for further insight into your brand’s position among existing customers.

Analyse social media engagement levels

For brands seeking online visibility, social media is an ideal platform to be utilised correctly. First, track how posts fare in terms of likes, shares and comments; this will help to customise future material, so followers know the type of communication they’ll experience when interacting with your brand.

By keeping your finger on these measures, you can measure the success of your brand positioning strategy.

Additionally, leveraging influencers to reach new audiences while keeping your message consistent across platforms are vital tips for effective brand positioning.

Measuring the success of your brand positioning strategy is crucial in knowing if you’re hitting the mark; tracking changes in customer perception and loyalty, monitoring market share and customer acquisition rates, and analysing social media engagement levels can all help you gauge how effective implementing your position statement has been. If need be, act quickly to ensure your strategy remains successful.

Tips for effective brand positioning

Creating an effective brand positioning strategy is essential to ensure that your business strategy is successful. It’s critical to ensure that your message resonates with the right people and drives them to take action. Here are some tips for creating an effective brand positioning strategy:

Focus on quality over quantity

When crafting your messaging, quality should always be prioritised over quantity. Craft concise, meaningful messages that will capture the attention of your target audience and encourage further engagement.

Rather than cluttering consumers’ minds with a mass of data, only communicate the 1  to 3 max core brand associations referred to above so that your audience can comprehend who you are without feeling perplexed or overwhelmed.

Keep your message consistent across platforms.

Maintaining consistency across all platforms is essential when branding your business (or yourself).

If possible, try using the same tagline and slogan across multiple channels – this helps build recognition and trust among potential customers as they become familiar with your messaging no matter where they encounter it online.

Additionally, use consistent colours and imagery so customers can quickly recognise who you are without having to read anything else about you first. Your brand style guide should define this – i.e. you may decide to primarily use black and white or greyscale images like I do, etc. By the way, I predominately use greyscale images across all platforms because I do not want to compete with my clients positioning, so I tone the Brand for Success image down. Also, it supports the expert positioning of Brand for Success.

One way of expanding reach is by leveraging influencer marketing within relevant industries or niches to gain exposure from their followers while also building credibility through association with well-known figures in those spaces.

This can help boost visibility among new audiences who may not have been aware of you. Ensure the influencer aligns well with your values and mission statement for their endorsement to feel genuine rather than forced or transactional.

Using the guidance provided, you can create a successful brand positioning plan to differentiate your brand from your rivals. However, to guarantee success, you must avoid regular missteps while implementing your brand positioning strategy. This takes insight, expert strategy and careful implementation.

Brand positioning is essential to any successful business strategy and is communicated via carefully crafted messages that resonate with the right people. Quality should be prioritised over quantity when creating messaging while keeping it consistent across all platforms to build recognition and trust among potential customers. In addition, leveraging influencers in relevant industries can help expand your reach by exposing you to new audiences.

Common mistakes to avoid when developing a brand positioning strategy

Not doing enough market research

Skipping market research is one of businesses’ biggest mistakes when developing a brand positioning strategy. Without researching your target audience, competitors, and industry trends, you won’t be able to create an effective system that connects with your customers. To accurately capture the needs and wants of potential customers, it’s essential to conduct comprehensive customer segmentation research into demographics and psychographics such as age group, income level, location, values and interests.

To be successful, it is critical to understand the desired customer base and how they interact with other companies in that same field.

Failing to differentiate yourself from competitors

To be differentiated from competition in consumers’ minds is what any successful brand positioning strategy is about.

Suppose you lack anything remarkable or beneficial to present that distinguishes your company from other businesses in the same field. Then, consumers may have difficulty deciding/recalling why they should pick your product or service over an alternative.

As discussed above, it’s essential to identify what makes your business different and use this to craft a robust messaging platform that speaks directly to potential buyers. Understanding your target audience is critical to crafting a successful brand positioning strategy.

By utilising the gathered information to craft specifically targeted communications that reach the desired individuals at appropriate moments, your strategy will be optimised for achievement.

Not having clear goals or objectives.

As with any other undertaking, a clear set of goals helps keep everyone on track during the branding process by providing focus points for all team members involved in creating content or designing visuals associated with the project.

Without setting measurable objectives upfront, there’s no way of knowing if efforts are paying off down the line – so make sure these are established before moving forward.

For example, a goal may be to improve ideal consumer core brand associations recall by 10% (if you have a benchmark) by the end of the next 12 months. This goal also focuses the entire team on the specific core brand associations to focus on.

Branding isn’t static; it needs constant tweaking based on customer feedback and market changes.

An adaptable approach allows businesses to stay ahead of trends while maintaining core elements like logos, taglines, colours, etc., which help establish consumer recognition.

Make sure any strategies developed take this into account by including methods for testing performance regularly and adjusting plans where necessary.

When developing a brand positioning strategy, avoiding common mistakes such as not doing enough market research or failing to differentiate yourself from competitors with specific and relevant core associations is essential.

Clear goals and objectives with an adaptable strategy are what’s needed. In addition to BMW, examples of successful brand positioning strategies can be seen in Apple’s “Think Different”, Nike’s “Just Do It” and McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” campaigns.

Market research is necessary for effective brand positioning. Businesses should differentiate themselves from competitors based on their relevant core brand associations. Additionally, clear goals are essential to focus the entire team, and feedback needs regular testing with an adaptable approach to stay ahead of the competition.

Examples of successful brand positioning strategies

The examples I include here are examples I use in the classes I teach at university and during workshops.


Source: LinkedIn: Harris Kyriakides

Apple’s “Think Different” campaign is one of the most iconic examples of successful brand positioning. The 1997 launch of the “Think Different” slogan has become a hallmark of Apple’s identity, symbolising its dedication to ingenuity and imagination.

The tagline encourages customers to break away from the status quo and think differently about their technology needs. By connecting this message to its products, Apple created a strong emotional connection with consumers that still resonates today.

Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan is another example of effective brand positioning. In just three words, this tagline communicates Nike’s core values – determination, perseverance, and self-empowerment. It motivates customers to take action and embrace an active lifestyle without fear or hesitation. Since its debut in 1988, this tagline has been featured prominently in many of Nike’s brand advertisements.

McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan is another excellent example of a successful brand positioning strategy. This slogan perfectly encapsulates McDonald’s mission statement: making people happy through food experiences they love daily at an affordable price while providing convenience and value for money spent.

Through this simple yet powerful phrase, McDonald’s shifted customer perception from unhealthy fast food into something enjoyable that can be shared with family or friends anytime throughout the day or night – regardless of budget constraints.

By studying the successful brand positioning strategies of Apple, Nike and McDonald’s, we can see how powerful a well-crafted message can be.

Moving on to the next section, let us explore what conclusion we may draw from these examples about effective brand positioning.

Create a brand positioning strategy for better results

In this article, we discussed how to create a strong brand positioning strategy, documented as a strong brand positioning statement. We discussed methods to understand your target audience (grasp their requirements and desires) and craft a unique value proposition that they can relate to.

Additionally, we explored various tactics for communicating your message effectively through multiple channels, such as advertising campaigns, social media posts, website content, etc.

In summary

Identify who you are targeting – know their demographics and psychographics.

Understand what they need/want from your product or service – research competitors’ offerings to differentiate yourself.

Create your strategic brand identity – the 1 to 3 max core brand associations you want your brand to ideally stand for in consumers’ minds.

Communicate the core brand associations consistently across appropriate channels – tailor it appropriately for each channel to maximise impact.

Remember that successful branding requires ongoing effort; continually assess customer feedback to stay ahead of the competition.

A well-thought-out brand positioning plan and consistent execution efforts early in the process can help ensure long-term success for any business looking to build its reputation among customers today and into tomorrow’s unknown marketplace.

Brand strategy blueprint

Brand positioning is all about identifying your brand’s 1, 2 or max 3 core associations and communicating this to occupy a specific position in your ideal audience’s minds relative to competitors. Brand positioning is crucial to create a brand strategy blueprint.

FAQs about Brand Positioning Strategy

Q: What is brand positioning, and why is it important?

A: Brand positioning refers to the way a brand is perceived in the market and how it differentiates itself from competitors. It is important because it helps a brand stand out, connect with its target audience, and create a unique brand identity.

Q: How can I improve my brand’s positioning?

A: You can improve your brand’s positioning by identifying and understanding your target market, defining your unique value proposition, and creating a positioning statement that communicates your brand’s benefits and differentiation.

Q: What are some key strategies for creating a strong brand positioning statement?

A: Some key strategies for creating a strong brand positioning statement include identifying your target customer, understanding your brand’s unique value, and using positioning statement templates as a guide to craft a clear and compelling statement.

Q: Why is a strong brand positioning statement important for a brand’s success?

A: A strong brand positioning statement is important for a brand’s success because it helps shape and guide its marketing efforts, communicate its unique value to consumers, and differentiate it from competitors.

Q: Can you provide some examples of strong brand positioning in the market?

A: Sure, some examples of strong brand positioning include Apple’s focus on innovation and simplicity, Nike’s emphasis on empowerment and performance, and Coca-Cola’s messaging around happiness and togetherness.

Q: How can brand positioning contribute to the success of a brand strategy?

A: Brand positioning is integral to a brand strategy as it helps to define the brand’s identity, target audience, and competitive differentiation. It guides all aspects of the brand’s marketing and communication efforts.

Q: What are some factors to consider when evaluating a brand’s positioning?

A: When evaluating a brand’s positioning, factors to consider include brand awareness, brand loyalty, market perception, and how well the brand’s positioning aligns with its target customer’s needs and desires.

Q: How can I build a great brand through effective brand positioning?

A: You can build a great brand through effective brand positioning by understanding your target market, creating a compelling brand story and identity, and consistently delivering on your brand promise to build brand loyalty and trust.

Q: What role does brand positioning play in creating a unique brand voice?

A: Brand positioning helps to create a unique brand voice by shaping how the brand communicates its values, personality, and messaging to resonate with its target audience and differentiate itself from competitors.

Q: How can a brand positioning strategy help with improving brand awareness?

A: A well-defined brand positioning strategy can help improve brand awareness by clarifying the brand’s unique value and differentiators, making it more memorable and relevant in the minds of consumers, and guiding effective marketing and communications efforts.