Product positioning involves a series of decisions and operations that target the generation and maintaining of a certain image of the product in consumer’s mind, related to the competitor brands.
A product’s position includes the perceptions, opinions and feelings the customers have regarding the product, comparing it to the similar products on the market. Therefore, from different points of view, a product can have a lower or higher position compared to other competitor products.
- Identifying the key features of the product – the features that are most useful for the customer must be highlighted.
- Designing a perceptual map – by comparing the key features to the key features of competitor brands.
- Assigning the differentiation criteria for the product – the product’s strong points can be used as competitive advantages.
- Designing the product image – conducting advertising activities, focused on the product’s strong points in order to generate a positive perception from the customers. Promotional activities are crucial because they create positive positions in customer’s mind.
- Maintaining the image – is done also through promotional activities, based on previously mentioned strategies, meant to enhance the image and the positive position it has in the consumer’s perception.
The positioning factors are considered for differentiation criteria roles as well as for positioning and they have to meet the following requirements:
- They must be important for the customer
- They must be specific, unique – the competition doesn’t have the same features.
- Noticeable and can be disclosed
- Consumer accessible
- Profitable for the company
- Must be real.
Depending on the product’s features and company’s objectives, there are various positioning strategies along with appropriate promotion techniques:
- Positioning related to the competition
- Equal or higher performance – the promotional activities focus on comparing the product with the competition. This must be done carefully not to break the law regarding comparative advertising.
- Avoiding the competition – the promotional messages are focused on product’s key features.
- Positioning related to product’s features
- Positioning related to value-for-money – this method is suitable for products that don’t have many features, launders for example, that promote high quality cleansing at a low price.
- Positioning related to usage method
- Certain moments of the day: food
- After physical effort: energy drinks.
- Positioning by associating the product to a certain user group – suitable for cosmetics, drinks, tobacco. In this case, the message is delivered by actors, tv stars, sports people, musicians.
- Positioning by product class – the advertising messages are comparing the product with substitutable products( shower gel and soap).
- Positioning related to origin place – for example, French wine and fragrances, Belgian chocolate, German beer, Scotch whiskey. The messages are focused on the good reputation of some products originating from certain areas.
Sometimes during its existence, a company may notice that its products’ image is outdated, or can be improved. Then the company starts re-positioning its products in customer’s perception.
Re-positioning consists in identifying a new, unoccupied market position and promoting the product based on the new criteria.
Re-positioning is suitable for minimizing company’s own products’ competition. The business is trying to make a difference in the way the consumers perceive the similar products they furnish.
Re-positioning requires a sustained promotional campaign and bring forward many risks.