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To build successful and winning brands, a sound and relevant brand strategy is of utmost importance. While, your product or service may be very good, it may not do well in the market due to a weak brand strategy. One of the key and vital ingredients for an effective brand strategy is strategic positioning.

Strategic positioning is a weapon, which, if used well, could make your brand grow vibrantly and give it a strong foundation. Placing and positioning your brand in the minds and hearts of consumers is the way to positive brand building. Positioning helps to achieve that.

However, many a Brand Manager or Marketing Manager forgets to use this weapon and allows the brand to languish or drift or slip and become a commodity. This should not be allowed to happen, but incomplete knowledge or short term tactical thinking leads to ignoring positioning and further leads to creating a weak foundation for the brand.

A clear brand positioning strategy cuts through the clutter and enters the minds and hearts of the customers like an arrow and leads to great brand building, sales growth, market share enhancement and increase in profits.

There are five ingredients, which could help get a clear and strong brand positioning, to my mind. If you use these, they would be of immense help in building your brand.

Firstly, it is the brand name itself. Having a clear, clean digestible brand name is the starting point, which should be relevant to the current times. The clarity in this first step will go a long way in bringing about clear positioning.

The second ingredient is the clarity in identifying the product or service category in which we would be participating, so that there is no confusion.

The third ingredient is to clearly focus on the segment and target audience, so that a wrong audience is not being addressed.

The fourth ingredient is to highlight the benefits – both tangible and intangible, that the brand offers to consumers.

The fifth ingredients is to provide evidence for each and every benefit offered, so that credibility and trust is established.

I believe that strategic positioning, if used with the five ingredients I have recommended would definitely help build successful and winning brands.

The importance of these five ingredients which to my mind are essential cannot be underestimated. The sequence and the sufficient use of these elements helps create clear positions.

If the brand name is not distinct and easily acceptable the starting point itself could be wrong. For example, many years ago, cosmetic company launched a brand of lipsticks and nail polishes called KISS & TELL. The brand failed because no Indian woman, however modern, would go and ask the “kirana shop or the chemist” give me a KISS & Tell. Enough thought has to be given to the consumers sensitivity while choosing the right name.

Secondly, unless the product of service category is clearly defined the brand positioning could be ineffective. For example, if a brand just said that its service category is education it could be hazy. Rather a focused approach to either primary education or computer education would be better.

Thirdly, I have a strong Brand Mantra “Don’t sell the right product to the wrong audience”. Clear segmentation is a must for effective positioning. If the target audience is well defined. For example, rural housewives in Maharashtra with school going children the effectiveness goes up.

Fourthly, there must be a mix of tangible and intangible benefits highlighted. Thus though a simple lock may give you protection and security it could also give you peace of mind and freedom.

Fifthly and finally, it is important to measure up to the burden of proof and provide evidence for your benefit claims. This could be done through ingredients, facts or testimonials.

Strategic brand positioning built through the process I have recommended would help strong brand building.

The author is Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. Tel: 022 28477700/7701 Fax: 28477699 E-mail: jkapoor@samsika.com

Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd. No Part of this document may be modified, reproduced, stored, deleted or introduced in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (Electronic, Mechanical, Photocopying, Recording or Otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of the document.