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How to Strengthen Product Positioning

Many small companies believe there is little they can do to really position their products and services because they spend little or no money to promote their products to their target buyers.

However, almost all products and services come "packaged" in one form or another. Even service businesses have uniforms, logos, slogans, types of vehicles, specialized greetings, service procedures, follow-up procedures, and a host of unique ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Packaging is an important way for you to get your positioning message across.

Positioning is ordinarily a very important factor in creating effective advertising and promotion. In fact, the less money spent on advertising and promotion, the more important correct and consistent positioning becomes for a small company's products. Small companies, like large ones, must:

  • Work at consciously identifying brand features and benefits that are unique to differentiate the company and its products from the competition.
  • Communicate and test which differences are most important to buyers and consumers in deciding to purchase your products rather than those of competitors.
  • Work at communicating the most unique and important differences to buyers and consumers to create "branded value" and a "brand personality."

Example

A top-quality lounging chair can be differentiated with an expensive price tag, expensive fabrics, a wooden crate for protection during delivery, and a celebrity spokesperson who is known for his good taste, appealing to high-income consumers.

A new competitor could enter the market with the same target buyer and decide to differentiate their new chair by adding a new extra electronic massage feature, provide similar fabrics, a foam-lined crate, a slightly lower price and celebrity spokespersons who promote value along with quality.

Qualitative research such as interviews with a small number of people, or more reliable (but expensive) quantitative research, can be done to determine how buyers and end-users understand and value your business differences with competitors. This research can help generate a unique selling proposition for the business and help create effective advertising and promotion.

Warning

Warning

A company must be careful not to "overposition," which can be defined as making promises about features and benefits that the product or business does not always deliver. Overpositioning can also mean making promises about product features and benefits that are not apparent to users/buyers.

You must also avoid "underpositioning," which can be defined as failing to describe all the features and benefits that the product or business delivers or has, or failing to describe distinctive product features and benefits that are apparent to users/buyers.

Also, it's important to avoid confusing people with product or service features and benefits. Features are the descriptors of a product (e.g., colors, smells, shapes, packaging, prices), while benefits are what the product does for its buyers (e.g., satisfaction, more confidence, more beauty, faster task completion). It's often better to single out a few key features, rather than overwhelming the customer with lengthy lists of details.