Brand Positioning and Values

Brand Positioning and Values
The Customer Base Brand Equity (CBBE) models lays out a series of steps for buildings strong brand.
Establish the proper brand identity;
Create the appropriate brand meaning;
Elicit positive brand response; and
Forge strong brand relationships with customers. 
Identifying and Establishing Brand Positioning:
            In order to operate the customer-base brand equity (CBBE) models, several strategic decisions must be made about the specific nature of the brand building blocks involved:
Brand salience;
Brand performance;
Brand imagery;
Brand judgment;
Brand feelings; and
Brand resonance. 
To have guidance in those decisions it is necessary to define brand positioning. As a marketer need to determine desired brand meaning or positioning. Also need to determine the desired knowledge structure that involves positioning a brand. 
“Brand Positioning lies in the heart of marketing strategy”
Positioning is all about identifying the optimal location of a brand and its competitors in the minds of consumers to maximize potential benefit to the firm.
According to the customer-base brand equity (CBBE) model, deciding on a positioning requires the determination of:
Who the target consumers are?
Who the main competitors are?
How the brand is similar to these competitors?
How the brand is different from these competitors?  

Guide Marketing Strategy by

What  a brand is all about

Why customer should purchase and use this brand

Figure: Identifying and Establishing Brand Positioning           
Target Market:

Identifying the consumer target is important because different consumers may have different knowledge structure and thus different perceptions and preferences for the brand. A number of considerations like defining and segmenting a market and choosing target segments is important in this context.
A market is the set of all actual and potential consumers of a product who have the sufficient interest, income and access to a product. Market segmentation involves driving a market into distinct groups of homogeneous buyers according to some characteristics.
Segmentation Base:
In general segmentation bases can be classified as descriptive or customer oriented versus behavior or product oriented. Behavioral segmentation bases are often most valuable in understanding branding issues because they have clearer strategic implications.
User status
Usage rate
Usage occasion
Brand loyalty
Benefit sought.
Income, Age, Sex, Race, and Family.
Values, opinion, and attitudes
Activities and lifestyle
                     Figure: Consumer Segmentation Bases.
Nature of Goods:
Where used
Type of buy.
Buying Condition:
Purchase location
Who buys
Type of buy.
SIC code
Number of employees
Number of production workers
Annual sales volume
Number of establishments.
                            Figure: Business to business Segmentation Bases.
A number of criteria have been offered to guide segmentation and target market decision, such as the following:
                  ► Identifiability:→ Can segment identification be easily determined?
                  ►Size:→ Is there adequate sales potential in the segment?
                  ►Accessibility:→ Are specialized distribution outlets and
                      communication media available to reach the segments?
                  ►Responsiveness:→ How favorable will the segment respond to
                       tailored marketing program?      
The model segments users of a brand into four groups
Convertible:→ On the threshold of change, highly likely to switch brands;
Shallow:→ Not ready to switch, but may be considering alternative;
Average:→ Comfortable with their choice;
Enriched: →Loyal, unlikely to change. 
Non-users of a brand into four other groups.
Strong unavailability:→ Strongly prefer their current brand;
Weak unavailability:→ Preference lies but not strongly;
Ambivalent:→ As attracter of other brand;
Available:→ Prefer the other brand. 
Nature of Competition:
Deciding to target a certain type of consumers often, at least implicitly, defines the nature of competition because certain firms have also decided to target that segment in the past or because consumers in that segments already may look to certain brands in their purchase decisions. Therefore Competitor Analysis should be done in this regard. 
Points-of-difference association:
Pont-of-Difference (POD) are strong, favorable, and unique brand associations for a brand. They may be based on virtually any type of attribute or benefit associations. All that ultimately matters for an attribute or benefit association to become a point of difference is that it becomes a strong, favorable, and unique association in the minds of consumers. That is, PODs are attributes or benefits that consumer strongly associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find to the same extent with a competitive brand.
Points-of-Parity associations:
Point-of-Parity (POPs) are those associations that are not necessarily unique to the brand but may in fact be shared with other brands. These types of associations come in two basic forms: category and competitive   
Category: category point-of-parity (POP) are those associations that consumer view as being necessary to be a legitimate and credible offering within a certain product or service category. Point-of-parity are critical when launches a brand extension into a new category.
Competitive: Competitive point-of-parity associations are those associations designed to negative competitors` point-of-difference. A brand can “break even” in those areas where their competitors are trying to find an advantage and can achieved advantages in some other areas.
Positioning Guideline:
A number of considerations come into play in conducting positioning analysis and deciding on the desired PODs and POPs and the resulting brand image. Two key issues are arriving at the optimal competitive brand positioning are:
            1. Defining and communicating the competitive frame of reference.
            2. Choosing and establishing PODs and POPs.
 Defining and communicating the competitive frame of reference:
 A starting point in defining competitive frame of reference for a brand positioning is to determine category membership indicates the products or sets of products with which a brand competes. Related issues to consider:
For highly established products and service category membership is not a focal issue
Situation like during the introduction of new product category membership is important.
Situations also exist in which consumers know a brands category membership but may not be convinced that the brand is true, valid member of the category.
The preferred approach to positioning is to inform consumers of a brand membership before starting its points-of-difference in relation to the category members.
In order to do this brands with limited resources need to develop a marketing strategy that establishes category membership prior to one that states a points-of-difference.
Brands with greater resources can develop concurrent marketing programs in which one features category membership and the other points of difference.
There are three main ways to convey a brands category membership. 
communicating category benefits (supportive rational) should be provided so that consumers believe that the brand has the benefits that imply membership in a category, performance and imagery associations can be used in this purpose.
Comparing to exemplars, exemplars are well known, noteworthy brands in a category can also be used to specify a brands category membership. For example when Tommy Hilfiger was an unknown designer, advertising announced his membership as a great American designer by associating him with Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis etc, who were recognized members of that category.
Relying on the product descriptor – the product descriptor that follows the brand name is often convey a very compact means of conveying category origins.- the product descriptor is often critical with new technology products.
Although it is important to establish a brands category membership, it isusually not sufficient for effective brand positioning.
A sound positioning strategy requires the specification not only the category in which a brand holds membership, but also how a brand dominates other members of its category.
 Developing compelling points-of-difference is thus critical to effective brand positioning.    
Choosing points-of-parity and points-of-difference:
Points-of-parity are driven by the needs of category membership (to create category pops) and the necessary of negating competitors PODs (to create competitive pops ).
In terms of choosing points-of-difference, broadly the two most important consideration are that consumers find the POD. Desirable and believable that the firm has the capabilities to deliver on it
Both of these broad considerations have a number of specific criteria.
Desirability criteria:
There are three key desirability criteria:
            ►Relevance:→ Target consumers must find the POD personally relevant
               and important. Relevance considerations can be easily overlooked.
            ►Distinctiveness:→ Target consumers must find the POD distinctive and
   superior. When entering a category in which there are established brands,
    the challenge is to find a viable basis for differentiation.
            ►Believability:→ Target consumers must find the POD believable and
                credible. A brand must offer a compelling reason for choosing it over the
    other options that might be considered.
Deliverability Criteria:
There are three key deliverability criteria:
            ►Feasibility:→ The first factor affecting deliverability is performance
   potential in terms of the actual or potential ability of the product to
   perform at the level stated. In other words, it must be feasible for the firm
   –in term of affordability, resource necessary, time horizon involved, and
   so forth –to actually create the POD.
            ►Communicability:→ The second factor affecting deliverability is the
    current or future prospects of communicating information to create or
    strengthen the desired association.
            ►Sustainability:→ The final factor affecting deliverability of a brand
     association is the sustainability of the actual and communicated
     performance over time.
Establishing points-of-parity and points-of-difference:
Creating a strong, competitive brand positioning requires establishing the points-of-parity and points-of-difference. The difficulty in doing this is that many of the attributes or benefits that make up the points-of-parity or points-of-difference are negatively correlated. Some of the examples of negatively correlated attributes and benefits are:
Low price vs. high quality
Taste vs. low calories
Nutritious vs. good tasting
Efficacious vs. mild
Powerful vs. safe
Strong vs. refine
Ubiquitous vs. exclusive
Varied vs. simple

            Figure:             Examples of negatively correlated attributes and benefits.
There are some ways exist to address the problem of negatively correlated POPs and PODs. The following three approaches can be used in increasing the level of effectiveness-but this also increases the level of difficulty.
a. Separate the attributes (launch two different marketing campaigns, each
               one devoted to different brand attribute or benefits).
            b. Leverage equity of another entity (the two brand can borrow or leverage
    the equity of well-known and well-linked celebrities to lend credibility to
    one of the negatively correlated benefits.)
c. Redefine the relationship (convince the customer that the relationship is
    Positive, but this is pretty difficult.)
Updating Positioning Over Time:
With establish brands, competitive forces often dictate shifts (update) in positioning strategy over time. Updating positioning involves two main issues. That is:
Laddering: Laddering involves a progression from attributes to benefits to more abstract values or motivations.
Reacting:  Competitive actions are often directed towards eliminating POD to make them POP or to strengthen or establish new POD or attempts to overcome a POP. There are three main options:

Do nothing:→ If the competitive actions seem unlikely to recapture a POD or create a new POD, then the best reaction is probably to just stay the course and continue brand building efforts.  
Go on the defensive:→ If the competitive actions appear to have the potential to disrupt the markets some, then it may be necessary to take a defensive stance.
Go on the offensive:→ If the competitive actions seem potentially quite damaging, then it might be necessary to take a more aggressive stance and reposition the brand to address the threat. 
Defining and Establishing Brand Values:
Brand positioning basically describes how a brand can effectively compete against a specified set of competitors in a particular market. As brands evolve and expand across categories, it is often useful to define a set of core brand values to capture the important dimensions of the brand meaning and what the brand represents. Certain things should be kept in mind in this regard.
Core brand values:
Band mantras. 
Core brand value:    
Core brand values are those set of abstract associations that characterize the 5 to 10 most important aspects of a brand.
Core brand values can be identified through to create a detailed mental map of the brand. Mental maps must reflect the reality of how the brand is actually perceived by consumers in terms of their beliefs, attitudes, opinions, feeling, images and experiences.    
Band mantras:
A band mantra is highly related to branding concepts such as “brand essence” or “core brand promise.” A brand mantra is an articulation of the “heart and soul” of the brand.
Case Study of Nike- Brand Mantra.
American popular shoe company, Nike is facing a mixed situation at the moment. Nice surrounding its band mantra to become the brand essence” or “core brand promise.” Its brand mantra is an articulation of the “heart and soul number one on the market. The company’s band mantra is running shoes to athletic shoes to athletic shoes and apparel including equipment

1.   Killer brand.
2.   Corporate giant.
3.   Less dependent on the US market.
4.   Popular among the young.
5.   Strong corporate image.
6.   Huge range of quality product at affordable price.
7.   Entering new markets like woman sports and snow boarding.
8.   Top sports celebrities like Ronaldo, Tiger woods.
9.   World wide business.
10. High profile management.


Positioning involves identifying and establishing points-of-parity and points-of-difference to establish the right brand identity and to create proper brand image. Specific marketing actions that the firm can take based on this brand strategy to build brand equity.