The Value of (Brand) Positioning In A Competitive Environment

Paper Presented By Uche Nworah At The APCON Branding Workshop, April 8, 2010, Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja

• • • • • Business or Brand strategy Brands & Branding Brand Positioning The Values of Brand Positioning What Brand Positioning Does


Business (or) Brand Strategy First?
• The branding error of „jumping the gun‟ • Head-start vs False – start (motives & punishment) • It is the task of brand management to translate the business strategy into a brand expression

Personal Brand

Educational Brand

Country/Nation Brand

Brandscape Charity Brand Product/Service Brand

Sports Brand

Destination/City Region/Place Brand

Can you think of others?


Brand Value Propositions
Will You Marry Me Customer?


Brand Value Propositions & Promise
• All Brand value propositions should simply let the consumer know: What is in it for him/her? • To propose to a customer, you‟ve got to decide what you stand for, what you think people think you stand for, what you can actually offer over the long time. • Anything else is „positioning to fail‟

What Are We Positioning As?
• • • • • • • • • • The biggest… The first… The better… The best… The oldest… The most customer friendly… The cheapest… The most cost effective…. The most convenient… Favourite destination for trade, tourism, investment… (recall the Heart of Africa and now the new Nigerian Rebranding campaign)

Big Question: • What ever happened to Niche-ing - being the best in your category and at what you do?


Brand Positioning (Case Study)
• Claims and counter claims from Visafone Nigeria over Starcomms Plc Nigeria‟s claim to be the first Open Market Handsets (OMH) compliant network in Africa, barely two months after Visafone Nigeria claimed to be the first for the same network. • “The firm (Starcomms) never claimed to be the first OMH compliant network in Africa. We only said Starcomms is the first 1900 MHz CDMA operator OMH compliant network in Africa.” …staff of TPT PR

Brand Positioning (Case Study)
• MTN & Glo got their 3G network licence the same time, Globacom introduced it first and then MTN Nigeria went ahead to announce being the first to launch a 3.5G network. • “There is nothing wrong in taking credit for any innovation, but I think it is fraudulent for an operator to claim to be what they are not. Any operator that makes a claim to be the first must be sure that it is the first.” …NCC official

FC Barcelona And The Beautiful Game


Positioning FC Barcelona
“Our philosophy is spectacular and attacking. It is a kind of love between Barca and the team and the ball. We play a maximum of two touches per player…If we are loyal to this philosophy we will always be the best. We used to say that we prefer to be the best than to be the first, but normally the best is also the first”… Joan Laporta, President of FC Barcelona
Courtesy: The Observer 04/04/10 Page 9

FC Barca: Testimonials
• “How Barcelona play is what everyone should be aspiring to, honestly. I‟m not saying every single football club has Messi or Xavi to call upon, but it‟s lovely, really really great. It‟s inspiring”…Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa Manager • “The manner in which we play is a demonstration of the respect we have for the people who pay for a ticket or pay money to watch matches on television”…Pep Guardiola, FC Barcelona Manager
Courtesy: The Observer 04/04/10 Page 9

FC Barca: Testimonials
• “People see Barcelona not as an industry, not as business, more as a feeling. As a human being you prefer to be involved with a feeling or an emotion than a business. How do you describe a feeling? How do you describe love?”… Sandro Rosell, Aspiring candidate for the post of President, FC Barcelona
Courtesy: The Observer 04/04/10 Page 9

The Competitive Business Environment
• Nigeria is the World‟s best kept secret… Alhaji Aliko Dangote • Everybody is making money in Nigeria…Mckinsey & Co Senior Consultant • The Nigerian CBE is peculiar and this has implications for the way we do business • Knowledge of the PESTLE Factors is key to survival: • Political factors… • Economic factors… • Social factors… • Technological factors… • Legal factors… • Environmental…

The Brand Environment
Internal • Business strategy • Quality of human capital (branding, mgt, sales etc) • Manufacturing capacity • Cash flow & resourcing • Marketing mix • Corporate culture • Organisational structure/hierarchy • „Ownership‟ (a key factor) External • PESTLE Factors • Michael Porter‟s 5 Forces


Positioning: An Agency Perspective
• “Identification of the true uniqueness and relevance of our clients' brands and enterprises in order to create strong differentiation, clear strategic focus, and outstanding business performance” • “Positioning succinctly defines the target, the category in which the brand competes, their differentiated benefits, and what the company must do to „prove‟ those differentiated benefits to the customer”

Steps in Brand Positioning
• • • • • • 1. Articulate Brand Attributes What the brand delivers through features and benefits to consumers. 2. Promise to Consumers What consumers expect to receive from the brand. 3. Be Better Than Competitor attributes What the other brands in the market offer through features and benefits to consumers. 4. Pricing An easily quantifiable factor – Your prices vs. your competitors‟ prices. 5. Deliver Consumer perceptions The perceived quality and value of your brand in consumer‟s minds (i.e., does your brand offer the cheap solution, the good value for the money solution, the high-end, high-price tag solution, etc.?). Take some time to create a thorough picture of the current market and how your brand fits in that market to determine your brand‟s current position. If that‟s not the position you want for your brand, take the necessary steps to change it based on the gaps defined when you analyzed the five factors above. You must know that brands are better built by substance and publicity, and then maintained by substance still, and advertising

• • • • •

Components of a Positioning Statement
• There are four elements or components of a positioning statement: • Target Audience - the attitudinal and demographic description of the core prospect to whom the brand is intended to appeal; the group of customers that most closely represents the brand‟s most fervent users. • Frame of Reference - the category in which the brand competes; the context that gives the brand relevance to the customer. • Benefit/Point of Difference - the most compelling and motivating benefit that the brand can own in the hearts and minds of its target audience relative to the competition. • Reason to Believe - the most convincing proof that the brand delivers what it promises.


Criteria for Evaluating a Positioning Statement

• Is it memorable, motivating and focused to the core prospect? • Does it provide a clear, distinctive and meaningful picture of the brand that differentiates it from the competition? • Can the brand own it? • Is it credible and believable? • Does it enable growth? • Does it serve as a filter for brand decisionmaking?

• The definition of a Lovemark is „a product, service or entity that inspires Loyalty Beyond Reason‟… Saatchi & Saatchi


The New Branding Paradigm

Courtesy: Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi


Will You Wear Me?


Notable Quote
• "Consumers who make decisions based purely on facts represent a very small minority of the world‟s population (...) even for these people, there is always some product or service they buy based on impulse or emotion." –Maurice Levy, Chairman, Publicis Groupe, Paris

Brand Positioning Mix
Core Product






These variables are internal, within the control of the firm. 24 External factors will also impact the mix.

Clarifying Key Branding Terms


What Brand Positioning Does
• Helps in Pre-Selling • Influences purchasing behaviour • Encourages Brand Buys as against Commodity Purchases (Al Ries & Laura Ries) • Helps the marketing process in an internet age where customers shopping on the net are more brand conscious. • Differentiation from competing offerings • Successful brand positioning backed up by brand awareness, image, trust and reputation are best guarantees for present and future earnings. • The true value of a brand is its ability to generate positive cash flows and profits • Can you think of others from your personal and professional experiences?

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