Ferrari isn’t sold out of Bunky Brothers Inc.
And there’s a good reason for that.
Positioning your brand is beyond important. It is without a doubt the most critical element of your brand strategy. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s the payoff for all your hard work. You’ve immersed yourself in your customer’s world, listened hard to their voices, transformed your observations into breakthrough insights and tweaked your offering. You’re pretty sure you’ve nailed it. Your ready to tell the world.
Now, this is a really good time to take a reflective pause and think really hard about the message you want to imprint on your customers? How do you want them to think and feel about your brand? You will get one opportunity, and one only, to make a great first impression. Do a great job and you’re in the running to score yourself a premium as a bonus.
And…this is where it so often goes horribly wrong. I was doing the shopping the other day (can’t believe I fessed up to that) and as I headed towards the checkout I made my customary stop at the wine section (can’t believed I fessed up to that either). As I was making my selection I suddenly noticed a particular bottle of wine. This wine I had recently and reliably been informed (by the wine company’s CEO) was part of a portfolio of “premium” brands. Really, so what is it doing there on the floor with all the cheap weekday guzzling plonk covered in dust? Nothing premium about that.
Thinking a bit deeper it appears that brand strategy, of which positioning is the key element is a bit of throwaway line in this case. If you wanted to be a distributor for Ferrari you would have to meet some very stringent criteria. I remember visiting the Museo Ferrari in Modena and I can recall asking for a factory visit. The stylishly dressed Italian gentleman nonchalantly looked me up and down and suggested if I had enough money to buy one he would organise to show me around. I didn’t see the factory on that day. My Fezza dream is still alive and well though! What was very clear here is Ferrari know exactly where their brand is positioned and why. Absolutely nothing is left to chance. No detail is too small.
So, back to wine. I bet you wouldn’t see a bottle of Chateau Margaux rolling around on the floor unloved and covered in dust. They know where their wine is positioned too…and why. Most would agree that positioning’s primary purpose is creating a distinct place for your brand in the mind of the consumer. Further, most would also agree that your distinct place in the consumers’ mind should be different from your competitors. Put simply, positioning is, “what you want to be known for.” So think carefully… who are you trying to attract? Brands are positioned in the mind of the consumer and, therefore you need to know, “Which consumer?”
Back to the supermarket floor. I’m gutted about this wine brand now. What’s happened here? The ‘premium’ picture imprinted in my mind by the CEO isn’t the one I’m confronted with. The brand’s credibility crumbles before my eyes and I buy something else.
Working on developing your brand strategy and brand position is challenging, and expensive so once you’ve set up camp, hold, hold, hold the line and make sure your brand delivers the experience your customers crave and make sure you deliver the experience you promised.
By Jim Wilkes