What is Positioning?

What is Positioning

Positioning is the concept of associating and developing a mental position in the public consciousness about your brand and its products and services. Since minds are so stuffed with information it becomes important in choosing a unique position in the mind. Let’s see how this works.

The mind works and understands things by comparing them to other things. So, in order to fix something in the mind it is often effective to inject a mental comparison between two things. Since the mind already knows one of the things, it can more easily understand the new thing.

Let’s take a look at some examples: Apple computers. What is the idea you have about Apple? A progressive technology company that delivers aesthetic high-tech products that are very cool? That’s their position in relation to computers (an already understood concept) and that’s effective PR.

Positioning Examples

Let’s get another example: Volvo automobiles. What position does this carmaker have in your mind? Is it a position of safety? Exactly. Remember those car crash commercials? Their position is safety; the brand Volvo elicits the idea of safety — they’ve positioned themselves within the concept of automobiles as the safest. That’s effective PR.

Let’s take another brand: Listerine. What you think? In the realm of mouthwash, Listerine is the one that kills germs? That’s their position in the known territory of mouthwashes. That’s effective PR.

Many businesses who have been around a local community for a long period of time develop a mental “position” with the consumers in that area. They’re “reliable”, “cheap”, “good”, “trustworthy”, etc. These kinds of positions develop over a long period of time and this kind of PR happens almost incidentally. Their PR position developed without an active PR campaign. Their PR was established by their persistence in their community over a very long period of time. Every community has such business mainstays. The question is, is it really necessary to take 20 years to develop this kind of a mental position? The answer is “no”.

Why not proactively develop your own position and image? What position do you wish to occupy in the mind of your prospects? How does this position relate to your competitors? What idea distinguishes you from the others and which will communicate to your audience?

Remember the Cola commercials? Remember 7-Up’s campaign — the un-cola? That’s positioning. Instead of going head-to-head with the leading cola companies, 7-Up established a unique position as the un-cola which gave them a distinct advantage and virtually no competition. This also made it easy for them to be memorable in the minds of their audience. They occupy a distinct position.

Create Your Own Positioning

Start thinking about your own position and what it should be. Sort that out. And work to establish a very simple, concise image. The simpler the position the more memorable.

Once established promote that position. Take a zone and get that message out broadly and prior to any direct marketing. Get your idea firmly implanted into the minds of your audience. Try to use free channels to get your message out on: newspapers, press releases, social media, blogs, etc. and get that message out.

Now you can move in with your direct marketing message since you already have a position in the minds of the audience you’re trying to reach. You should have achieved some recognition already by a carefully crafted campaign. This makes promotion and marketing much more effective.

Step By Step

  • Create a unique, memorable position for your company in the mind of your public.
  • Get that message out on all fronts: press releases, charity work, newspapers, third party endorsements, etc.
  • Repeat the message frequently and actively build that mental association
  • Your direct marketing & advertising should promote your offering while also flanking that position.
  • Measure your results and survey your public as needed to correct and/or adjust your position over time.
  • Achieve in several years what would otherwise take 20 years to do without an active PR campaign.

Buy, read and use “Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind” and “The New Positioning” by Jack Trout. Here’s to your success!