Brand Positioning: What Is It and How Can It Help Your Business

Brand positioning is critical to business success and should be a big part of a business marketing strategy. Effective brand positioning differentiates companies from their competitors and shows their unique value which goes a long way towards attracting and retaining customers. What is brand positioning and how can it help a business? In this chat for USA Manufacturing Hour on Twitter, Rebecca Prox from DSI/Dynamic in Wisconsin led a discussion about brand positioning.

Defining Brand Positioning

The discussion began with participants sharing their thoughts on what the definition of Brand Positioning is. Everyone had varied thoughts on how they defined this concept.

Ruby Rusine of Social Success Marketing in California said, “Brand positioning is the strategy that a company uses to create a unique identity in the minds of its customers.” She added, “It’s your audience’s perception of you.”

Dave Meyer of BizzyWeb in Minnesota said, “It's what people think of when they hear your company's name, and check you out. You hear a lot about branding from the big names - but you don't need to have a Coca-Cola budget to have a brand positioning with the audiences that matter to you.”

Gina Tabasso of MAGNET in Ohio said, “How your brand is perceived in the marketplace. “

Nigel Packer of PelaTis Online in Wales, UK said, “Whatever you want it to be... but is it what your customers appreciate? Whatever you set your brand position to be, you have to maintain it.”

Mike Womack from NJMEP in New Jersey said, “Ensuring your brand reaches its targeted audience and at the same time, having your brand received by that target audience in its intended manner.”

Manufacturers News, Inc in Illinois said, “Brand positioning is a way to foster a customer's connection with and identity more closely with your brand.”

Womack said, “Such an important point! That connection between a customer and brand is difficult to manage but it's absolutely essential to creating a strong, and effective, brand identity.”

Pavel Stepanov from VirtuDesk said, “Brand positioning is putting your brand in the mind of your customers.”

Dan Bigger of Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “To me, it would be setting your status in the market against your competition on your industry.”

FreightPOP in California said, “Brand positioning is how your brand is seen and thought about by your customers and the outside world.”

THIAM MÉKÀ de GOGUENHEIM from TMG-NATEXO.Orion in Cameroon said, “It’s how your brand’s vision, product & identity are strategically positioned in a market saturated w/other companies. More importantly, it’s what you’re known for in your customer’s mind; where you sit compared to your competitors.”

Megan from Space Guard Products in Indiana said, “Brand positioning is your silent voice. “

Erin Courtenay from Earthling Interactive in Wisconsin said, “It is the best way to both set your brand apart from the competition AND connect the dots to your ideal customer's needs. In a world of information overload you need to make it as easy as possible for customers to know exactly what to expect from your brand.”

Chase Bodor from Plastics Plus Technology, Inc in California said, “Brand positioning and reputation go hand-in-hand. It's the perception that your customers and the overall market have of your business. Some elements are created by the business itself, others are created organically by how the market experiences your business.”

Adam Baker from Schooley Mitchell in Pennsylvania said, “It is about getting your brand out there and in people's minds the way you want to be viewed.”

Phil Pond from Scarlet Opus in the UK said, “Brand positioning is how you position your brand's vision, product, and identity in a market saturated with other companies. more importantly, it's what you're known for in your customer's mind.”

Sue Nordman from Obsidian Manufacturing in Illinois said, “The act of positioning your brand in it's market. And the actual position your brand takes in their market.”

VirtuDesk said, “For us, it is creating a lasting impression about your brand in your customers' minds.”

John Buglino of Optessa Inc in New Jersey said, “How you hope the masses think/feel about you when you are not there.”

Host Prox said, “Lasting impressions... definitely.”

She said, “You all had excellent answers - Brand Positioning is everything you've mentioned!”

She added, “Brand positioning is an articulation of what you want your brand to be to your customers.”



Participants continued the discussion with some of the goals of brand positioning. The goals varied from person to person but there were some common denominators.

Tabasso said, “Subject matter expert and thought leadership, trust, value proposition.”

Rusine said, “Some goals of brand positioning are to create a unique identity for a product in the consumer’s mind, to make the product stand out from its competitors, and to increase consumer loyalty.”

Manufacturers' News, Inc. said, “1-To build trust 2-To stand out from competitors 3-To clarify how we can help specific segments 4-to stay relevant.”

Stepanov said, “Finding a place to put your brand in the marketplace and be distinguished among your competitors.”

Meyer said, “For most manufacturers, it's being top-of-mind when their product or service is needed. Other goals - ranking well in related search, gaining trust and perceived leadership with key markets. The better the brand, the cheaper/more effective marketing becomes.”

Womack said, “We are always working to strengthen our brand positioning so New Jersey manufacturers understand we're not an association, but instead we're trainers and consultants. This is always a branding goal of ours.”

Meyer answered, “Manufacturing is, by nature, high-trust. When you "know" someone you're more likely to trust them. If you don't have control of your brand, you're in trouble.”

Womack said, “Staying on top-of-mind is always critical! When clients come to you for your products or services, the sales process always runs smoother. Great input, Dave!”

Bodor added, “You make a great point, Dave. There are many risks in manufacturing and your brand needs to have the reputation of taking care of its customers in order to ease any doubts. This is where referrals and testimonials are huge.”

Meyer added, “Not to mention PR and the media effects from coverage: I was featured on the front page of the business section of my local (Minneapolis) paper a couple years ago, and I JUST had a prospect call and say he remembered my article, and that was why he was choosing us!”

Host Prox said, “Yes, that is a great strengthen your brand positioning at all times. It's a fluid motion.”

Baker said, “Differentiate yourself in the marketplace, establish why your audience needs / wants you.”

Brash Inc in Canada said, “Establishing competitive advantage /what makes you memorable -creating a cohesive experience across channels to set your company apart, and strengthen marketing/sales efforts. -communicates the kind of company/culture.”

Dana Engelbert, a Marketer in Mississippi said, “Brand positioning is what differentiates you from your competitors.”

Manufacturing Talk Radio said, “To make sure you're hitting your target demographic and to increase brand awareness.”

Courtenay said, “Customer loyalty - competitive advantage - shorter sales cycle - marketing budget goes toward nurturing instead of capturing.”

Bigger said, “I don't know yet, I will ask our marketing manger. What John Buglino says.”

Buglino said, “For individuals to remember you when there is a need for your product/service.”

Bodor said, “You can rate these goals in terms of capability (ie fastest delivery/ lowest price), identity (connecting with a hyper-niche persona), leadership (being a thought-leader and resource) personalization (having close relations with customers).

He added, “For us, we position ourselves using a mantra of "what we do counts" - which means we align ourselves with other companies that are making a difference in people's lives with their products. One great example is making parts for NICU applications.”

Megan from Space Guard said, “To be the first thought when there is a need for your product. And, how that's done is by being consistent in the quality and communication of your brand.”

Kelly Plats from North American Coating Company in Ohio said, “To align the messaging of your product and services to the customers and potential customers!”

Host Prox said, “Goals include beliefs such as you are the premium brand, you are a good value, you are the market leader and you are viewed favorably.” She added, “When you're thinking about what you want the goals of your brand to be, you should also consider that they may change from time to time. Strengthening your brand positioning should be ongoing.”


fingers-blocks-spelling-brandWhy It’s Important

The discussion then moved on to why brand positioning is important. Participants had many thoughts on this topic and freely shared them.

Tabasso said, “It’s important because we are mission based and want to ensure the stability of manufacturing in Ohio, grow the economy, and create jobs.”

VirtuDesk said, “It guides us on how to achieve our goals for our brand.”

Rusine said, “Positioning is important because it can help a company to define who they are, what they do, and how they are different from their competitors.”

Meyer said, “Brand positioning leads to visibility and recognition. Recognition leads to Trust. Trust leads to deals. More deals leads to revenue. And then you can pay your marketing team more ;-) It's a domino effect.”

FreightPOP said, “It helps us provide our customers with a clear idea of how we will help them, no matter what! When it comes to large shipments, having peace of mind is key.”

Baker said, “Brand positioning is important to my company because not a lot of business know that companies like mine exist. There is an opportunity for me to get out in front and be the company people think about when it comes to cost reduction.”

Velavu Tech in Canada said, “Lots of good answers already! For us, it also aligns how we do a lot of things. What kind of company we want to be is our brand positioning. Having that high level compass - causes us to stop and think: ok is this action helping or detracting from that position?”

Whitney Koch from Welker Inc in Texas said, “That’s a great point! Gotta make sure people know you’re out there and what you have to offer.”

Nordman said, “ It helps establish your brand's reputation in their market.”

Engelbert said, “Brand positioning is important so that you align with your customers. If it is off, your marketing and sales efforts will be ineffective at worst or inefficient at least.”

Host, Prox said, “An excellent point, Dana!”

Bigger said, “It is the start of how people and your target audience get to know and like you. The start of a beautiful relationship. Build the bridge.”

Manufacturing Talk Radio said, “It is important to us because we always want to be seen as a trusted and legitimate source of news and information for the manufacturing industry.”

Host Prox said, “This is SO important in this day and age. Trust and legitimacy are at the forefront for any news right now. How do you let people know that you ARE trustworthy and legit?”

Kirsten Austin from DCSC Inc in Missouri said, “Length of time in business, accomplishments, references, capabilities, expertise, skill-sets, reputation, customer base and good communications.”

Womack said, “Without strong brand positioning, your company will either not connect with the right audience, it won't be understood, or a combination of both. Propper brand positioning is absolutely key!”

Megan from Space Guard Products said, “By doing the same thing over and over you get the same results. It's important to look at what's going on around you and adapt.”

Koch said, “The definition of insanity! Also really important during times like this when so much is changing globally—you have to adapt.”

Buglino said, “To knock your competition down a peg.”

Manufacturers' News, Inc. said, “Because it not only positions your brand to the greater world, but it also reinforces and informs your goals within your organization.”

VirtuDesk said, “It guides us on how to achieve our goals for our brand.”

Bodor said, “Without positioning, specifically a strategy for it, you have to scattered efforts of reaching your ideal customers. Your marketing activities will seem like more of a shot from the hip, and customers will find it harder to see the value in working with you.”

Pond said, “If the process of positioning a brand isn't gone thro' prospects, customers & brand champions won't really know 'why you exist'. But, more importantly-neither will you!”

Meka de Goguenheim said, “It enables you to build a strong, compelling message around a specific area of expertise that will greatly appeal to a targeted audience in need of your particular services. Also it provides value to your prospects and ultimately convinces them to buy from you.”

Host Prox said, “Brand Positioning is important because it explains to your target audience who you are and what they’ll get if they choose you.” She added,You all may have differing viewpoints about why brand positioning is important. For DSI/Dynamatic, we are the only company in the U.S. that uses eddy current technology in our equipment. It's a unique, but important position.


Three Levels of Brand Positioning

There are 3 levels of Brand Positioning. The next part of the discussion was having participants name and describe the three levels. Chat participants weighed in with their thoughts.

Austin said, “I do not know the three levels.”

Rusine said, “The three levels of brand positioning are: product, perceptual, and strategic?”

FreightPOP said, “This sounds pretty good to me!”

Pond said, “I'm running to keep up with you people over there! You're good! How about Channel, customer and ... those against you also begins with a 'C' ... if I'm not right it's 'cos 2 storms in 2 days have me all in a fluster.”

Host Prox said, “A well-thought-out answer, Phil.”

Meyer said, “Comparative, differentiation, and segmentation?”

Courtenay said, “Bad. Good. and Amazing?”

Host, Prox said, “I feel like this is the best answer ever.”

Womack said, “This is fantastic. Regardless of the academic definition, this just makes sense!”

Koch said, “Good answer!”

Tabasso said, “Would it be the stages of the funnel? Awareness, consideration/evaluation, conversion?”

Bigger said, “I don’t know the three levels. I got my marketing degree at Dan Bigger U.”

Host Prox said, “I didn't want to leave you hanging too long on Q4. These are the 3 levels of brand positioning: Comparative, differentiation, and segmentation. They make sense, don't they? If you had a NEW brand to promote, think about all the things that go into positioning it in the market where it would exist.”

brand-clock-faceThe Standout Level of Brand Positioning

Participants were then asked to weigh in on which of the three levels of Brand Positioning they use the most. The answers were varied but interesting in their differences.

Meyer said, “Probably segmentation. Most of our clients have a few markets, and we need to target each properly to connect and engage. Of course, you need all three to really connect and build your brand.”

Host, Prox said, “That is very true. All three are necessary. Yet, they're used at varying degrees.”

Pond said, “We are using and are on, different levels in different client sectors and countries. We don't have the resource to move forward at the same pace everywhere for everyone.”

Courtenay said, “Differentiation but I think segmentation would be the most effective? That's hard to do though... requires discipline.”

Tabasso said, “Differentiation.

Megan from Space Guard Products said, “I don't have an answer, but this is definitely some food for thought.”

Buglino said, “Segmentation.”

He added, “We target select markets and respond to inquiries outside of the target market.”

Stepanov said, “I think we are using them all but to different extents and degrees. All of them are essential though.”

Koch said, “We focus more on differentiation. When we launch a new product, for example, we highlight what sets it apart and how our change helps the end-user.”

Womack said, “We use Differentiation most often. Our service and positioning as an MEP are unique which allows us to offer incredible value to manufacturers. That differentiator needs to be highlighted.”

Host Prox said, “The 3 levels of Brand Positioning should be used, but to different degrees. We use comparison and differentiation most. We are different than Variable Frequency Drives, though we can do the same things, but we are different because we use a different technology.”


Brands That Use Brand Positioning

The discussion concluded with participants naming a well-known brand and defining that brand’s positioning. How does that brand do a good job with positioning? Participants gave their thoughts.

Tabasso said, “Old Spice, just off-the-wall and memorable or Budweiser because of their Clydesdales, again memorable.”

Plats said, “Target is very good at brand positioning. They know who their customer is, what the want, and how they shop. They have full awareness of who they are and can effectively share branding with (pun intended).”

Meyer said, “I think Apple gets branding right. They know who they are, who their customers are, and what they solve for their customers. Look where it got 'em.”


Successful brand positioning is about differentiating your product or service in the marketplace. It isn’t just about competitors but about meeting your customers needs in the most effective way for your audience. Although your products and services are important, brand positioning gives those products and services a boost and reaches beyond them to create relevance and credibility for your brand with your target market. If you spend time defining your brand in an effective way, your business will remain in the minds of the people you want thinking about your brand.



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