Fluid Intelligence

Product Positioning vs Brand Positioning: A Potent Mix!

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? An age-old question for 2 things that are different forms of the same thing. A similar question is often asked about product or service positioning and brand positioning.
A group of professionals engaged in lively discussion.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the nuances of brand and service/product positioning, explore their similarities and distinctions, and ponder the perennial question of their sequence and necessity.

What is Product Positioning?

Product positioning, a cornerstone in marketing strategy, is the deliberate art of creating a unique identity for a specific product within the vast landscape of choices. It involves identifying and accentuating the distinctive attributes (capabilities or features) and mapping the benefits that set the product or service apart from its competitors.

Essentially, product positioning seeks to answer the pivotal question: “Why should I choose this particular solution over others?”

From a B2B buyer’s point of view, effective product or service positioning simplifies decision-making. It provides a clear narrative about what a solution offers and how it stands out. Whether it’s emphasising quality, innovation, or expertise, product positioning helps to shape the perception that a buying committee develops and tells them — this is why it makes sense for your business.

What is Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning takes a broader perspective. It is a strategic endeavour to carve out a unique and memorable space for the entire brand in the minds of your ideal customers.

Brand positioning is not merely about the features of a product but encompasses the brand’s personality, values, and overarching essence. It defines the perception, identity, and reputation of the company. It seeks to answer the question: “What makes our brand relevant, trustworthy, and memorable to consumers?”

The secret sauce is to inspire using aspirational attributes that resonate with your ICP.

Brand positioning establishes the emotional connection between the brand and its audience. It goes beyond the functional aspects and business benefits of particular services or products, tapping into the deeper, more subjective realm of an individual’s perception.

Strong brand positioning ensures that prospects don’t just become clients; they buy into a brand’s story, values, and identity.

How are Product Positioning and Brand Positioning Similar?

Despite operating on different levels of value delivery, product and brand positioning share a common goal: differentiation. Both strategies aim to create a distinct identity that resonates with the target audience.

While product positioning hones in on the specifics of individual offerings, brand positioning crafts a narrative that ties these offerings together into a cohesive and compelling whole.

Both strategies require a deep understanding of the target market, competitors, and the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) a brand brings to the table. They are not isolated tactics but interconnected threads in the rich tapestry of a brand’s overall positioning strategy.

What Sets Product Positioning and Brand Positioning Apart?

But, while they share common ground, the key distinction lies in the scope of their influence.

Product positioning is like a microcosm within the brand universe, focusing on the details of individual products. It’s about showcasing what makes a specific item stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Brand positioning, in contrast, takes a holistic view. It’s about creating an overarching narrative that defines the brand’s identity. This narrative serves as a guiding force that influences how individual products are perceived. Think of product positioning as the puzzle pieces that contribute to the larger brand narrative.

Do You Really Need Both Product Positioning and Brand Positioning?

The synergy between product and brand positioning is the secret sauce of marketing success. While effective product positioning can drive sales for a particular item, robust brand positioning ensures sustained client loyalty and trust.

Imagine a consumer choosing a product because of its unique features (product positioning) and then becoming a loyal customer because of the consistent brand experience (brand positioning). Apple are one prominent company that does this extremely well.

Together, product and brand positioning form a dynamic duo that fortifies a brand’s presence in the market. Product positioning may lure prospects in, but it’s brand positioning helps reduce churn and increase retention.

Which Comes First, Product Positioning or Brand Positioning?

The question of sequence often sparks debates among marketers. Is it more effective to establish a strong brand foundation first, asserting that a well-defined brand can lend credibility and coherence to individual product messages? Or is it wiser to focus on successful product positioning, which can subsequently contribute to a stronger brand identity?

The answer is nuanced and depends on various factors, including the brand’s stage of development, market dynamics, and overarching objectives. For some, starting with a well-defined brand identity may provide a solid platform for introducing and promoting individual products. For others, successful product positioning may organically contribute to a stronger brand identity over time.

Ultimately you need both, so if time and resources are a limiting factor consider making a first-pass light touch of both your brand and most prominent product or service.

Key Takeaways

Woven into the complexity of marketing strategy, both product and brand positioning play pivotal parts. Product positioning speaks to the uniqueness of individual offerings, while brand positioning establishes the broader identity that resonates with consumers.

Here are some key takeaways to guide your journey through the world of positioning:

  • Differentiation is Key: Whether at the product or brand level, differentiation is crucial. Identify what makes your product or brand unique and build your positioning strategy around it.
  • Harmony in Diversity: Product and brand positioning are not mutually exclusive; they complement each other. The synergy between the two creates a harmonious narrative that resonates with consumers on different levels.
  • Consumer-Centric Approach: Both strategies require a deep understanding of your target audience. Listen to their needs, preferences, and aspirations to tailor your positioning strategies accordingly.
  • Adaptability is Vital: The marketing landscape is dynamic. Be ready to adapt your positioning strategies based on market trends, consumer feedback, and shifts in your industry.
  • Experiment and Learn: The optimal sequence of product and brand positioning may vary for each brand. Don’t be afraid to experiment, learn from your experiences, and refine your approach accordingly.

In conclusion, striking the right balance between product and brand positioning is the secret sauce for a brand that not only survives but thrives in the ever-evolving marketplace. It’s not just about selling products; it’s about telling a compelling brand story that captivates and endures.

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Dr Julian Hooper

Julian is the driving force behind Fluidic, a cutting-edge growth agency specialising in elevating B2B tech companies to new heights.Under Julian’s leadership, Fluidic has become synonymous with excellence, delivering bespoke solutions that go beyond conventional marketing approaches.Known for having innovative approach to growth, he has successfully guided numerous clients through transformative journeys, helping them navigate the complexities of digital marketing, client acquisition, and brand positioning. He has a track record of turning challenges into opportunities, showcasing Fluidic as a trusted partner in the industry.

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