Positioning 101:  Creating a Unique Brand Identity

Let's say you're in the market for a new pair of running shoes. You're considering two brands: Nike and Adidas. Both brands have similar features and price points but have different positioning strategies.

Nike has positioned itself as a premium, performance-driven brand. Their slogan, "Just Do It," emphasizes pushing yourself to your limits and achieving your goals. Nike's branding and advertising focus on elite athletes and high-intensity workouts, reinforcing its position as a top-tier athletic brand.

On the other hand, Adidas has positioned itself as a more accessible, lifestyle-oriented brand. They're known for their classic three-stripe logo and focus on streetwear and fashion. In addition, Adidas' branding and advertising feature a mix of professional athletes and everyday people, emphasizing its position as a brand for all levels of athleticism.

So, even though both brands sell running shoes, they've each positioned themselves differently in the minds of consumers. As a consumer, you might choose Nike if you're looking for top-of-the-line performance and a brand that emphasizes pushing yourself to be your best. Alternatively, you might select Adidas if you're looking for a brand more focused on style and everyday wear.

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In this example, the positioning strategies of Nike and Adidas play a crucial role in shaping how consumers perceive and ultimately choose between these two brands.

What is Positioning?

Positioning refers to how a company positions its products or services in the minds of consumers. It's about creating a unique identity that distinguishes a company from its competitors. The goal of positioning is to create a positive perception of a brand and to differentiate it from other similar products or services.

Importance of Product Positioning

Product positioning is critical for businesses because it helps them differentiate their products from their competitors and create a unique identity that resonates with consumers. Here are a few key reasons why product positioning is so important:

  1. Helps to create a strong brand identity: Effective product positioning can help firms generate a strong brand identity that connects with consumers and differentiates them from the competition. Businesses can promote brand loyalty by creating a distinct product identity and message
  2. Increases sales: Well-positioned products appeal to consumers and boost sales. Businesses can persuade customers to buy their goods by emphasizing their benefits.
  3. Enhances customer loyalty: Increases customer loyalty: Well-positioned products can connect with customers beyond their features and benefits. Businesses can build repeat customers by appealing to consumers' emotions and desires.
  4. Helps to justify pricing: Product positioning can help firms justify premium pricing by emphasizing their products' unique benefits and advantages. This can boost the company's profits.

Overall, product positioning is a critical component of marketing strategy that can help businesses stand out in the market, connect with consumers, and drive sales and growth over time.

Unique Selling Proposition

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that identifies the unique benefit or advantage that a product or service offers compared to those of its competitors. A compelling USP should be clear, concise, and memorable. In addition, it should highlight a specific benefit or advantage that is meaningful to the target audience and sets the product apart from its competitors.

Here are a few examples of effective USPs:

  • FedEx: "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."
  • Apple: "Think different."

These USPs clearly identify the unique benefit or advantage of the product and communicate it memorably and compellingly.

Perceptual Mapping

Perceptual mapping may sound like a fancy term, but it's just a way for businesses to peek inside their customers' brains. By plotting out how consumers perceive their products compared to competitors, businesses can strategically position themselves for success.

Determinant Attributes

Determinant attributes are critical to the success of perceptual mapping. They are the key product or service attributes that consumers use to differentiate between different brands or products. Determinant attributes are used to create the dimensions of the perceptual map and are typically the primary factors influencing consumers' perception of other products.

Identifying determinant attributes is essential for creating a practical perceptual map. By understanding the key factors that influence consumer perception, businesses can develop strategies to differentiate their products and better meet the needs of their target audience.

For example, a business may use a perceptual map to identify a gap in the market where consumers value certain determinant attributes not being met by existing products. This can allow the business to create a product that meets the unmet needs of consumers and differentiate itself from its competitors.

Joint Perceptual Mapping

Joint perceptual mapping is a statistical technique for analyzing consumer preferences for different products or brands. It involves collecting data from multiple consumers and creating a map that shows the relative positions of other products or brands based on their perceived attributes or dimensions.

To create a joint perceptual map, researchers first identify the key attributes or dimensions that consumers use to evaluate different products or brands. Then, they survey multiple consumers to collect data, asking them to rate other products or brands on each attribute. The data is then analyzed using statistical techniques such as multidimensional scaling to create a map that shows the relative positions of different products or brands.

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Constructing a Perceptual Mapping

Perceptual mapping is a valuable tool for businesses looking to understand how their brand or product is perceived by consumers relative to competitors. Here are the basic steps for constructing a perceptual map:

Constructing a  Perceptual Mapping

Overall, constructing a perceptual mapping can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to understand how their brand or product is perceived by consumers and identify opportunities to differentiate themselves in the market.

Perceptual Mapping Analysis

Perceptual mapping can be a useful tool for businesses looking to understand their position relative to their competitors in the market. Here are some steps for conducting a perceptual mapping analysis:

Perceptual Mapping Analysis

Overall, conducting a perceptual mapping analysis can help you gain valuable insights into how consumers perceive your brand or product relative to your competitors. By using this information to develop a strategic plan, you can improve your position in the market and better meet the needs of your target audience.

Umbrella Brands

An umbrella brand is a branding strategy in which a parent company markets and sells a range of related products or services under a common brand name. One example of an umbrella brand is the multinational corporation Samsung.

Samsung is a conglomerate that operates in various industries, including electronics, appliances, and telecommunications. The company markets a wide range of products under the Samsung brand, including smartphones, televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, and more.

By using the umbrella branding strategy, Samsung has been able to leverage the strength of its well-known brand across its diverse product portfolio. As a result, consumers familiar with the Samsung brand may be more likely to try new products the company offers because of the brand's reputation for quality and innovation.

Samsung's umbrella branding strategy has been a key factor in its success, helping it achieve greater brand recognition and customer loyalty across various industries.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Umbrella Brands

Benefits of Umbrella Brands

Benefits of umbrella brands

Drawbacks of Umbrella Brands

Drawbacks of umbrella brands

Improving Positioning

Here are some ways to improve product positioning:

  1. Research your target market: Understand your target market's needs, preferences, and behavior. This helps you determine their top benefits and characteristics.
  2. Identify your unique selling proposition (USP): Your USP: You're unique. It should clearly highlight your product's great benefits.
  3. Conduct a competitive analysis: Analyse competitors: Examine your competitors' strengths and weaknesses. This can help you find ways to differentiate and improve your placement.
  4. Refine your messaging: Refine your messaging using market research and competition analysis. Your marketing should convey your product's unique merits and resonate with your target demographic.
  5. Use visual elements: Create a visual identity for your brand using color, photography, and design.
  6. Monitor and adjust: Check and change your positioning plan. Track sales, customer feedback, and market share to evaluate your positioning strategy and make modifications.

By following these steps, you can improve your product positioning and better communicate the unique benefits of your product or service to your target audience.

Metrics to Track Positioning

Market Share

  • Definition: The percentage of total sales in a market that is generated by a particular brand or product.
  • What it tracks: It tracks a company's relative position in the market and how well it is competing against other companies.
Formula: Company sales / Total market sales x 100%.

Brand Awareness

  • Definition: The extent to which consumers are familiar with a particular brand or product.
  • What it tracks: It tracks the level of exposure and recognition a brand has among its target audience.
Formula: Number of people who recognize the brand / Total population surveyed x 100%.

Brand Loyalty

  • Definition: The degree to which consumers repeatedly purchase a particular brand or product over time.
  • What it tracks: It tracks customer satisfaction and attachment to a brand.
Formula: Number of repeat customers / Total number of customers x 100%.

Price Positioning

  • Definition: The perceived value of a brand or product in relation to its price point.
  • What it tracks: It tracks the perception of a brand's pricing strategy in the market.
Formula: Price of product / Average price of competitors' products x 100%.

Perceptual Mapping

  • Definition: A visual representation of how consumers perceive a brand or product in relation to its competitors based on key attributes and benefits.
  • What it tracks: It tracks the brand's position in the market and how it is perceived by consumers.
There is no single formula for perceptual mapping, as it is based on consumer perceptions gathered through market research surveys and analyzed using statistical software.

Key Points


In conclusion, product positioning is a crucial aspect of marketing that involves creating a unique identity and image for a product or brand in the target market's minds. Perceptual mapping, joint perceptual mapping, and determinant attributes are tools used in market research to better understand consumer perceptions and inform positioning strategies. Umbrella brands are a type of brand architecture that can leverage brand equity across multiple product lines or categories. Metrics such as market share, brand awareness, brand loyalty, price positioning, and perceptual mapping can be used to track and improve positioning efforts. Companies can improve their positioning and achieve tremendous success in the marketplace by conducting market research, differentiating their products, repositioning their brand, and implementing effective advertising and promotional efforts.