People go around on hoverboards, Apple released a Pencil that functions as a virtual brush, and Microsoft HoloLens becomes a means of interacting with the help of Mixed Reality; nothing was the same anymore.
Over the years, we have seen how it all played out, with the Apple Pencil becoming more of a necessity for iPad users and the HoloLens becoming a benchmark for Augmented Reality. Inventions like these become defining moments in the brand journey and position the brand highly in the audiences’ minds, establishing a strong brand value proposition that provides a market edge for a significantly long time.
A Preface to Brand Positioning
The perspectives of a buyer about a particular product or brand are something that commands influence in the market today. There is an increased focus on shaping perceptions and enhancing the buyer’s experience with the brand. Consumers always like to keep their values and ethics intact, which is why they want to associate themselves with brands that represent certain qualities of customers, do not cause any harm to their ideals, and ultimately, come up with a wholesome experience. This leads to brands releasing multiple product lines, in order to reach out to a wider audience, creating a bigger appeal to the market.
Basically, Brand Positioning is all about bringing in a clear distinction between brands and effectively communicating the unique aspects of one brand over another. It tends to raise the customer's preference for one brand over another, attracting a large audience. It not only involves explaining the difference between certain brands but also serves as a form of justification for the product prices. This depends upon the message the brand wants to convey to its customers. Often, this is one of the most important parts of building a brand, as this goes on to define who the brand is functional for.
The period prior to the industrial revolution was one that promoted production, on a large scale, making products widely available, and inexpensive. This can also be referred to as the production concept. With the passage of time, the world has undergone a change from the production concept, to the societal marketing concept.
It is a concept where companies are responsible for the well-being of societies, besides providing products of immense value and satisfying customers. Aligned with this idea, brand houses have started to implement programs that make their products relevant and out of the ordinary in the minds of consumers. Such programs take into consideration the mannerisms of people, which helps them come up with ideas for marketing their products as essentials to their respective lifestyles, creating a demand for the same.
Believe it or not, customized solutions for needs and wants have attracted way more customers than one could imagine. Think of this: People who go to Starbucks see it as mandatory to get their names on their coffee cups, which is seen as a fresh approach, making it a personalized experience. Remember the time Coca-Cola brought out its ‘Share A Coke’ campaign where everyone was able to get a customized can or bottle? If you do, it is clearly a sign of how impactful the campaign was.
Automobile companies like Toyota have positioned themselves as readily available and comparatively inexpensive in terms of other automobile companies. But it's all good thanks to the value all these companies offer in the form of their products.
Significance of Brand Positioning
A huge chunk of the developments that have made an impact on Brand Positioning today can be attributed to the inception of the Internet. Contemporary generations value subtlety and infuse a certain concept or a group of concepts into one single product. Remember, too many messages communicated can always send out misinterpreted signals and raise high levels of confusion among consumers. The message that best conveys the ideologies of a company often performs well amongst consumers, creating a certain pull for the product.
Brand positioning has always been a crucial element to structure the brand’s communication and ultimately deliver the message. It is always important to create and follow a message that sticks. An incorrect implementation may often result in miscommunication and the closure of the brand as a whole perhaps. Whoops.
Brands like Gucci have made it necessary to shift their image in the minds of consumers from products exclusive to certain people to a spirit of inclusiveness by tapping into fads and trends, reimagining their products in unthinkable ways. Apple bringing forth the pencil brought an immediate need amongst other brands for similar products, in order to stay relevant and stay away from obsolescence. Sometimes, the right move may work out in millions of ways.
What lies ahead
With brand positioning becoming a highly dynamic concept, in today’s scenario, there is an ever-increasing need for differentiation and brands need to cut the clutter to stand out due to the plethora of options available to the end consumers.
Brands can achieve this through the introduction of new product features, modified brand campaigns, and an increased highlight on the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the product.
It can be noticed that the market today has loads of brands that claim a lot of fruitful benefits a customer may obtain. Standing out of the crowd is extremely essential to survive in the market. Research and Development (R&D) plays an important role in the consumer market today, due to the dynamic nature of tastes and preferences.
The world’s 40 strongest brands yielded almost twice the total return to shareholders (TRS) of an investment in a Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) World index certificate* over the course of the 20-year period ending in 2019 (exhibit).
It can be observed that R&D departments have become a point of significance in most brand houses, which makes them invest in it from time to time. Something that can be noticed during times of brisk changes is that most brands with a strong foundation in terms of their creativity, generation of insights, and the measurement of how well a brand has done so far do not falter during such times. Although at the same time, such brands could use modern methods and approaches for the same, in order to maintain their market share, and still be relevant in the market.
Differentiation has also become a touchy subject for brands, as it creates confusion and clashes between brands to gain higher ground. Creating a distinct meaning for the brand has always been significant, involving thorough research of the brand’s target market. This would contain efforts towards creating a simple, musing brand that can tailor products for its target market.
Overall, it can be said that consumers in the future will be looking for an immersive experience. Value addition is a process that never stops, but should be done with due care, not taking away the focus from what the brand is all about.
The bottom line for the successful brands and brands that are on the rise is to never stop. Like Yoda once said, ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’