1. Know where your brand stands. Don’t confuse position with positioning. Consumers determine your market position, not you. You can try to influence their perceptions through marketing, but they’re still the ones who experience your brand and form opinions on it. That’s why surveys and focus groups are needed to establish a baseline to help you in planning your marketing strategy. But remember that your baseline will move as you market your business.
2. Positioning Follows Knowing Your Position. Once you know your brand’s position, you may want to change it. Knowing your goals helps get you started. You want prospective customers to associate your brand with something specific. If they do, you’ve positioned it well. There must be something you beat competitors at. If you have something that the competition doesn’t, that’s a strong foundation for brand positioning. But be sure your goals and visions match your desired brand position, because if they don’t, you’re headed for disaster.
3. Maintain Credibility. The exact methods you’ll use to market your brand depend on its current position versus how you want it positioned. Never make the serious mistake of trying to position your brand too far from how it’s currently perceived. Even loyal customers won’t believe you, and you’ll likely waste a lot of time and money in your marketing effort. McDonald’s has struggled to convince consumers that its restaurants serve healthy food. It has for decades meant hamburgers and french fries to people all over the world—food traditionally high in fats and salt, and trying to alter that perception is probably asking too much. Look at how many people visit your website. If the bounce rate is too high, that could mean your brand positioning isn’t credible.
4. Stay Focused. All the big brands have focus. Remember that consumers are bombarded every day by a lot of messages from many different companies through all sorts of media and don’t have the time to sort through confusing or unclear messages.
Consumers should have no doubt on what your brand stands for. What you want consumers to associate your brand with should be the first thing that comes to mind when they see it.