Why A Strong Brand Positioning Strategy Is Key To Business Success
In today’s competitive economy it’s more important than ever to build a brand rather than settling for a product line or service.
The key to a lasting business, and growing your market share, is to offer more than something consumers can find lower price options for. With megastores like Sears closing 59 stores and laying off 2,900 employees in 2017, no company is impervious to the changes in consumer spending.
Brand positioning allows your business to show continuous value to your clients. With all the promising business opportunities in Canada, small business owners and entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to succeed. As long as they understand the importance of brand positioning.
Here’s what you need to know:
Study the Masters
One of the best exercises for companies starting a brand positioning strategy is to study the masters in business branding. What do they do well? How do they nurture and grow their brand over time?
Too many entrepreneurs and business owners mistake logo creation and name recognition for a brand. Scotia Bank, Roots, and Tim Hortons continue to dominate the hearts, minds, and wallets of Canadians because they deliver an overall value proposition to consumers.
Their logos and names are recognizable, but so are their products and services. Consumers know exactly what to expect from the top brands and keep coming back for more as a result.
Which companies do you associate with quality and overall value? Rolex is a great example of a company that works hard to dictate their brand positioning. Their watches actually hold resale value in the market.
This isn’t solely a function of a great name and winning logo. Rolex has worked over time to embed their name and logo with quality products and customer service to back them up.
Consumers are willing to pay more for a watch that takes a year to make, is associated with quality, and retains value. The masters know that every move a business makes can work to make or break their brand.
An Integrated Approach
Brand positioning cannot simply be a function of marketing.
If you rely on marketing alone to create a brand, consumers will eventually catch up. They will recognize empty promises and flash for what it is.
If your brand is focused on customer service, then great reviews, excellent processes for customer service, and internal training on relationship retention should be the core of your operations. In the digital marketplace, with social media and video taking over, it is too easy to let your brand slip if your company isn’t focused on core values.
Rather than creating a product or service and then letting marketing tell the story and attract clients, the new model needs to be an integrated approach. Marketing is as essential as operations as developing long term internal strategies and business plans for growth.
Define Yourself for Brand Positioning
Before consumers can know exactly what they will get from you, your business needs to define your identity internally.
This can often be more challenging for businesses than expected. “We sell X” or “We offer Y” seem to be the best answer. But getting to the core of what differentiates your business in the marketplace needs to be a part of creating your brand identity.
One of the best ways to start this exercise is to see yourself through the eyes of the consumer.
Who are your ideal customers? How do you help them?
Even if your company makes sweaters for cats. Your brand develops as you understand “we create high-quality cat sweaters for pet owners focused on luxury goods.”
Define yourself according to your current and potential customers and their needs.
Tell Your Story
A brand is a story. Defining yourself as a company is the start of understanding how to tell and manage that story.
The best brands have the best stories. Some of these are captured in a single photo or a logo– but most evolve with the needs of their customers over time.
The core principles of your story should rely on the origins of your goods and services, the personality of your brand, and the need you fulfill in the marketplace.
Define yourself internally and craft a larger story around those core principles.
Depend on Relationships
Oftentimes a brand needs to evolve to survive. And while you cannot control market fluctuations or unexpected events, you do need to embrace the outside world in order to grow your brand and succeed as a business.
Beyond internal definitions and integrating operations to your brand identity companies need to depend on the outside relationships you develop as a business.
Referrals and Branding
This can come from media relationships, corporate partnerships, testimonials, and social media. More than ever the growing pool of influencers is tied directly to social media and digital marketing.
If you encourage your business partners, consumers, and referrals to promote your business you will be growing your business exponentially.
92% of consumers prefer earned media– or referrals– as their decision making factor for purchasing goods and services. Make sure your relationships help you tell your story and the market will reward you.
What’s In A Name?
There is no doubt about it: your company name is part of the personality of your brand.
Your company name is something that your target market associates with your brand. Some companies even change their brand names in an effort to better position themselves in the market.
Microsoft recent changed Xbox Music to Groove and Microsoft Internet Explorer to Microsoft Edge.
When To Change
It isn’t always necessary for a business to change their name in order to succeed. But for businesses just starting out in brand positioning, it is worth spending some time thinking about your name.
What does it say to consumers? Are you helping or hurting your business strategy with your brand name?
Make sure your brand positioning strategy fits in with your growth milestones and integrates well with your marketing plans.
Timing Is Everything
When looking for brands that seem synonymous with success Target may lead the list of companies that have invested heavily in brand positioning. Between their name and logo, industry partnerships, and strong advertising campaigns, the superstore chain has achieved unparalleled growth.
Target has even been called the next digital media giant due to their savvy understanding of brand positioning and eCommerce. Even in a shifting economy Target has succeeded in retail sales.
None of this was enough for Target to succeed in Canada. Despite the familiarity Canadians had with the brand and the growth and brand positioning, Target abandoned their plans for Canadian expansion.
Experts chalk it up to Target waiting too long to position their brand in Canada. In today’s economy, even the largest success stories can be hampered by stalling when it comes to growth.
It was too late for Target to win Canadians back. Make sure you don’t wait too long to establish and position your brand.
You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Since a brand is the personality and character of your product or service it’s important that Canadian business owners create their brand positioning strategy right away.
People looking to register a new business in Canada need to make sure they have a strong foundation to grow their brand. And for small business owners and entrepreneurs who haven’t owned or registered a business before it’s even more important to make sure you are getting expert advice and direction.
At Opstart our goal is to make starting your business as easy as possible. We provide clear and straightforward pricing without any hidden fees, and you can use our Free NUANS Preliminary Search to check if your business name ideas are available for registration.