The Pitfalls of Brand Positioning

We talk a lot about how the utilization of digital printing services can help establish a brand. But not much is mentioned about related issues and how companies struggle with their brand. While "brand" appears to be a popular word, many people are unaware of how a brand is built, positioned and maintained.

I pulled this information from an article titled "Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand," from the Harvard Business Review:

The Pitfalls of Brand Positioning

  1. Companies sometimes try to build brand awareness before establishing a clear brand position. You have to know who you are before you can convince anyone of it. Many dot-coms know this pitfall well. A number of them spent heaviliy on expensive television advertising without first being clear about what they were selling.

  2. Companies often promote attributes that consumers don't care about. The classic example: For years, companies that sold analgesics claimed their brands were longer lasting than others. Eventually, they noticed that consumers wanted faster relief more than sustained relief.

  3. Companies often invest too heavily in points of difference that can easily be copied. Positioning needs to keep competitors out, not draw them in. A brand that claims to be the cheapest or the hippest is likely to be leapfrogged.

  4. Certain companies become so intent on responding to competition that they walk away from their established positions. General Mills used the insight that consumers viewed honey as more nutritious than sugar to successfully introduce the Honey Nut Cheerios product-line extension. A key competitor, Post, decided to respond by repositioning its Sugar Crisp brand, changing the name to Golden Crisp and dropping the Sugar Bear character as spokesman. But the repositioned brand didn't attract enough new customers, and its market share was severely diminished.

  5. Companies may think they can reposition a brand, but this is nearly always difficult and sometimes impossible. Although Pepsi-Cola's fresh, youthful appeal has been a key branding difference in its battle against Coca-Cola, the brand has strayed from this focus several times in the past two decades, perhaps contributing to some of its market share woes. Every attempt to reposition the brand has been followed by a retreat to the former successful positioning. Brand positioning is a tough task. Once you've found one that works, you may need to find a modern way to convey the position, but think hard before you alter it.

Just a few points to consider when you're working on your next wave of marking communication.