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SMU 101 - Session 05: Intro to Brand Positioning

image showing chess pieces being movedPurpose/Aim of this session

In this session you will develop an understanding of brand positioning. So far, we've covered how branding is the art of telling audience-focused strategic stories. From this, you've developed an understanding of how brand strategy identifies your key strategic storytelling elements - framing the story delivery for an audience's perspective.

Brand position is the next import follow-on step from brand strategy.  Positioning your brand takes the benefits about your business / organization / product / service that you've outlined and makes those benefits meaningful to your audience. In its simplest of form, positioning is the mental space you want to occupy in your customer's mind. It's the first thing you want your customer to think about when they hear your brand name.

This is an intensive session. We suggest allowing yourself two to three weeks to work your way through the various course materials and reading provided for this session. This is also a very reflective session. Give yourself regular breaks and the space to contemplate the theory and concepts that you will be exploring.

Learning Aims for this session:

  • You will develop an understanding of brand positioning
  • You will understand the importance of branding statements
  • You will explore the concept of framing 'difference' in branding messages

Learning Outcomes for this session:

At the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Define what brand positioning is
  • Identify the effective methods to position a brand
  • Create your own brand statement
  • Frame the benefits of your brand

How this Session Works:

  1. Read through the Overview that accompanies this session. This provides an overall context for the session.
  2. Work your way through the items on the Preparatory section that accompanies this session.
  3. Listen to the Lecture that accompanies this session.
  4. Work your way the scenarios in the "Scenario" tab. The scenario is a practical exercise activity to develop your initial understanding of the branding concepts covered in this session. The activities in this section include: An Empathy Map, A Value Proposition Canvas and a Brand Model Canvas for you to complete.
  5. We have not provided a Template for this session. The last Scenario we have provided doubles as a template for this session.
  6. You can browse through some carefully selected material in the "Reading Room" tab. These materials will build upon your initial Brand concepts.

SMU 101 Session 5 Study Activities

  • Overview
  • Preparatory Activities
  • Lecture
  • Scenarios
  • Reading Room

brand strategy image via www.sortedweb.com

In our professional consulting practice, our clients initially approach us with the same problem framed by one simple question: "Why aren't we getting sales?" The twin of this question would be: "why aren't people buying from us?" We flip this question on its head and ask a simple question in return: "Why should people buy your product/service?" This is a question that everyone engaged in strategic brand building should ask (notice we didn't say 'sales' or 'marketing'). Our question is our starting point for discussing brand positioning with clients.

Previous sessions have covered the importance of establishing an emotional connection with your audience. Establishing this emotional connection is the key to being a brand. This emotional bond has to be reflected in what's referred to as the "positioning statement" for the business. Positioning is more about emotions and less about the facts.

The single biggest mistake marketers make is thinking a claim about their product or service is a positioning statement. This approach really misses the boat. The same goes for simply describing a type of business. There's no emotion in that and it's emotions that differentiate a brand.

Once you secure it, your brand's positioning becomes the basis for building the brand experience across your entire marketing plan. The key is to make sure the actual brand experience delivers on what was intended in the positioning. In other words, what your brand claims and what it delivers must be congruent.

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  1. There is a basic element of branding which we've implied in the previous sessions of this course. It is psychology. A sense of connection, a sense of emotion a sense of belonging and relations - these are powerful psychological factors that influence a person's decision to favor one brand over another rival brand. The ethical inclusion of this in our strategic storytelling (in other words, not using manipulation or coercion) enables powerful connections with an audience. A fundamental aspect of this storytelling is the art of persuasive strategic storytelling.

    In order to persuade an audience to listen to our stories, we have to understand what elements of our story we want to tell.
    The clearer, the more specific, those elements are - the better stories we tell. The allow us to establish a position in an audience's mind.

    The video below outlines the six short cuts that guides an audience's decision making. Understanding these six short cuts enables the framing of ethical, persuasive strategic branding. Understanding this introductory element will enable you to start framing the positioning of a brand.

  2. This presentation helps you determine how your business or products/services are perceived by your customers in relation to your competition. The practical exercise the speaker introduces is useful for any size businesses trying to find new niches - or determine where customers will perceive them to be in the marketplace. Think about the 6 audience decision making shortcuts outlined in the first video. Apply them to the exercise provided in the video below. Well be making use this exercise in the template that accompanies this session.

  3. The video below builds upon the initial concept of brand positioning. It also explains what a brand's positioning statement is and how you use it for strategic brand planning. Think about the 6 decision making shortcuts and the positioning exercise from the first two videos. Connecting what you've learned so far to the points raised in the video below.

  4. Now we're going to delve a bit more deeply into the subject of brand positioning. The video below covers how positioning a brand can be a means to establish and/or build your brand to achieve a desired audience action or outcome (what we refer to as "conversion").

 

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The video below provides an excellent overview of brand positioning - both the reasons and the process itself.

The video lecture below discusses the topic of brand positioning in more depth. In the video, the lecturer uses traditional marketing lingo, which we have already touched on in previous lectures. One that we haven't is referred to as STP, which has to do with segmentation - a topic we will cover in session 8. in short, it is the process by which we identify the tribes that make up our audience. The point she is making is regarding the importance of understanding who a brand's audience is.

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Before you begin the scenarios for this session, please read the short paper below, reflect and think about how the points raised apply to your brand:

Keller, K.L. Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity, Part 15
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48990601/Strategic-Brand-Management-Keller-BI-Other-Gurus-0015

Scenario: Empathy Map

The first scenario is what's called an Empathy Map. The Empathy Map is applicable to any business, as it provides insight into key players who are necessary for your company’s success. You can learn how to provide a better audience experience by understanding the perspective of your audience members. We achieve this understanding by identifying how to improve what they see, hear, think and gain from our business, service or organisation. And yes, even through how they are are challenged by our brand.

Through the extensive visual organization involved, you will be able to form a deeper understanding about what your audience and tribe members - as well as business partners - truly want from your brand.

The video above outlines the value of the exercise. We've  changed the design of the traditional empathy map in order to make this an interactive online activity.

Like the other interactive tools used in this course, this App can be used on PCs, MACs, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

The instructions for this scenario are as follows:

  1. Please read Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y. 2009. Business Model Generation. Pages 1 - 29; Pages 34 - 39; and Pages 50 - 51. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/businessmodelgeneration_preview.pdf
  2. Visit Business Model Fiddle https://bmfiddle.com and open a free account (click the "Fiddle Now!" button). 

  3. Return to this page and click the following link to open up our Branding Model Canvas in a new window: https://bmfiddle.com/f/#/dbVK3
  4. Click the black widget icon in the upper left hand corner of the canvas. You can rename this canvas and add any information you feel appropriate.  Then click the Green arrow which will appear in the upper right hand corner of the canvas. This will save a copy to your account.
    business fiddle save icon

  5. Read the Business Fiddle help / guidance notes via: https://bmfiddle.com/tour.html  This will show you how to enter text, move the colored blocks around, add more blocks, delete blocks, etc.

Scenario: Value Proposition Canvas

The second scenario is what's called a Value proposition Canvas. The Value Proposition Canvas makes explicit how you are creating value for your customers. It helps you to design products and services your customers want. In terms of developing brand messages, it helps you identify the unique benefits of your brand. And it doesn't stop there. It enables you to understand your audience's pain points - a critical consideration when developing any effective brand message, not matter the format that message is delivered in (video, tweet, Facebook post, blog posts,email, infografic, etc).

The video above outlines the value of the exercise. We've  changed the design of the traditional value proposition canvas in order to make this an interactive online activity.

Like the other interactive tools used in this course, this App can be used on PCs, MACs, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

The instructions for this scenario are as follows:

  1. Please read Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y. 2009. Business Model Generation. Pages 1 - 29; Pages 34 - 39; and Pages 50 - 51. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/businessmodelgeneration_preview.pdf
  2. Visit Business Model Fiddle https://bmfiddle.com 

  3. Return to this page and click the following link to open up our Branding Model Canvas in a new window: https://bmfiddle.com/f/#/Dt3N5
  4. Click the black widget icon in the upper left hand corner of the canvas. You can rename this canvas and add any information you feel appropriate.  Then click the Green arrow which will appear in the upper right hand corner of the canvas. This will save a copy to your account.
    business fiddle save icon

  5. Read the Business Fiddle help / guidance notes via: https://bmfiddle.com/tour.html  This will show you how to enter text, move the colored blocks around, add more blocks, delete blocks, etc.

Scenario: Branding Model Canvas

Branding Model Canvas
Brand positioning requires an understanding of our business, service, organization or products - or those of our client(s). We've previously mentioned that in order to be successful, brand management must fit into an overall business model. The focus of this session's two scenarios will address both business strategy and strategic brand management.

To do this, we've developed something we refer to as an online. interactive Branding Model Canvas.  It's based on the famous Business Model Canvas developed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. I's a tool that's widely used by some of the best known multinational corporations and MBA Programs.

As you start to explore this canvas, you will see how the Empathy Map and the Value Proposition Canvas link to it.

We like it because it's a highly reflective exercise - and it's interactive...so it's a bit different from downloading one of our scenario documents.

The instructions for this scenario are as follows:

  1. Please read Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y. 2009. Business Model Generation. Pages 1 - 29; Pages 34 - 39; and Pages 50 - 51. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/businessmodelgeneration_preview.pdf
  2. Visit Business Model Fiddle https://bmfiddle.com

  3. Return to this page and click the following link to open up our Branding Model Canvas in a new window: https://bmfiddle.com/f/#/xzks9
  4. Click the black widget icon in the upper left hand corner of the canvas. You can rename this canvas and add any information you feel appropriate.  Then click the Green arrow which will appear in the upper right hand corner of the canvas. This will save a copy to your account.
    business fiddle save icon

  5. Read the Business Fiddle help / guidance notes via: https://bmfiddle.com/tour.html  This will show you how to enter text, move the colored blocks around, add more blocks, delete blocks, etc.

This really is an excellent tool to use. We appreciate that sometimes learners need confidence when approaching something entirely foreign. So we advise taking some time and familiarizing with how Business Fiddle works and its functionality.

 If, however, you find the technology too challenging, we've provided a backup copy in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format which is available via: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1MGbZVOVqeg7VtNxnCLWwU1cg0NzHFnVnMrGZ8FKzsx0/edit?usp=sharing

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The Reading Room for this session provides carefully selected resources for you to further explore the basic components of brands.

Branding Strategy Insider. This is an excellent website covering branding strategy and brand positioning articles. http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/brand-positioning

Biel, A.L. 1991.  The Brandscape: Converting brand image into equity, NTC Publications Ltd.
http://www.warc.com/fulltext/admap/259.htm

Ghosh, A.K. and Chakraborty, G. 2004. Using positioning models to measure and manage brand uncertainty, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Volume 13 · Number 5 · 2004 · 294–302.
http://www.csuohio.edu/business/academics/mkt/documents/ghosh_04_JPBM_UsingPositioningModels.pdf

Keller, K. L. Building Strong Brands: Three Models for
Developing and Implementing Brand Plans, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/assets/75894.pdf

Keller, K.L., Sternthal, B. and Tybout, A. 2002.  Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand,
Harvard Business Review, September, 80 (9), 80-89.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./fov1-00098617/FOV1-0009D4C0/KEVIN-~1.PDF" target="_blank" title="Keller, K.L., Sternthal, B. and Tybout, A. 2002. Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand, Harvard Business Review, September, 80 (9), 80-89.">http://fcis.vdu.lt/~This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./fov1-00098617/FOV1-0009D4C0/KEVIN-~1.PDF

Keller, K.L. and Lehmann, D. 2003. How Do Brands Create Value?, Marketing Management, May/June, 26-31.
https://archive.ama.org/archive/ResourceLibrary/MarketingManagement/documents/10600463.pdf

Product and Brand Positioning, University of Dayton.
http://campus.udayton.edu/~jrs/promo/notes/Brand%20Positioning.pdf

Ries, A. and J.Trout (1971), Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill
http://www.slideshare.net/ProfessorMathur/positioning-the-battle-for-your-mind-al-ries-and-jack-trout

(The has been provided online in the form of a SlideShare presentation, you will find below):

van der Heijden, K. 2005. Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation (CHAPTER 11 ONLY, pp 193 - 209),  2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons. http://www.untag-smd.ac.id/files/Perpustakaan_Digital_1/CREATIVE%20THINKING%20Scenarios,%20The%20art%20of%20strategic%20conversation.pdf

 

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