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What causes a brand’s ability to convert more than its competitors? A question of brand positioning and brand awareness and …

Have you ever wondered what is the “secret ingredient” that allows a brand to sell more and have a greater appeal than a competitor who sells products and/or services of the same level? There is no shortage of examples. But we’ll come back to this shortly …

Brand positioning

Positioning your brand correctly is essential. This is an activity that is usually included in all business plans, however, defining it once is not enough.

It is not uncommon, in fact, that the changes of the market and of competitors in a sector push an entrepreneur to gradually assume a position different from the one chosen. Sometimes it is a conscious choice, other times it is not.

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If you want it is a bit like observing a person standing still. It will hardly remain perfectly still for more than a few seconds, but it will make small gestures that will shift its center of gravity and point of balance, most of the time making it assume a wrong posture.

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Don’t worry, I don’t want to talk to you about physiotherapy, I just want you to understand well how the brand positioning is not something “crystallized” but a process to be followed constantly. The point is that many see positioning as a brand’s ability to compete with its peers in a defined range. It is not so. Not only…

The evolution of the brand positioning over time

The notion of positioning was used for the first time in 1969 by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their text: “ Positioning is a game people play in today’s me-too marketplace”. Over time, however, its significance in terms of brand management has evolved. Originally, the term was used in the context of the multitude of market information aimed at the public. However, too much information has triggered a tendency to omit or delete all those that fail to create instant and powerful associations.

Basically to lose sight of the important ones.

In this context, the concept of positioning has evolved as that set of actions and strategies to “conquer” the mind of the consumer and take a unique position in the mind of the public.

Positioning is not only the identification of one’s own market segment and reference competitors but is the set of actions taken to achieve and maintain that positioning over time. Positioning is how a company wants customers to perceive it. We can define it as the knowledge of what consumers think and feel about a particular brand compared to the competition.

This is not new. What is perhaps more surprising is that, when asked about the reasons for their choice, they tend to explain their decisions as rational and logical behaviors. This is why the most established brands have learned to speak to people’s hearts , even before their heads. Or better than your target audience.

Because as we have seen other times, there is no marketing or digital marketing strategy that works if you have not first clearly identified a target audience to communicate with.

Brand awareness

As we saw earlier, the concept of positioning is increasingly similar to that of awareness. Or rather, we can say that awareness is part of the positioning process.

Academically, brand awareness can be defined as the degree of consumer recognition of a product based on its name. Creating brand awareness is a key step in promoting a new product or relaunching a brand. Ideally, awareness can include the qualities that set the product apart from the competition.

But the point is that with the wide range of product options available today across different sales channels (physical stores, e-commerce, and marketplaces), it’s essential to differentiate yourself and be instantly recognizable from your competitors. This is not only important but can spell the difference between success and failure for a company.

The Coca-Cola (and Pepsi) case

The case of Coca-Cola is emblematic for many reasons in the analysis of brand awareness and positioning. Think about it for a moment, you just need to abbreviate it with the term “Coca” to recognize it immediately.

Likewise, if I tell you the name of the drink, that is “cola”, the first brand that will come to your mind is Coca-Cola.

According to research, the Coca-Cola brand has the highest brand awareness ever. “About 7.1 billion people would recognize the Coca-Cola logo if I showed it to them. This is 94% of the population of the Earth, which is astounding considering that only half of the earth recognizes the cross as a symbol of Christianity ” (quoted by Colin Finkle).

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Is this enough to establish the winner in the never-ending trade war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

In reality, we need to analyze a few other aspects: Coca-Cola is present practically all over the world with the exception of Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar, and Sudan.

Mexico represents the second-best market after the domestic one, while on a continental level it is Latin America with the largest market share (29% of The Coca-Cola Company’s sales). Pepsi, on the other hand, excels in many countries of Asia and the Middle East and has a more competitive price on its side.

For this reason, it currently has an important market share not only for soft drinks but also for snacks. Faced with the impressive numbers of a giant like Coca-Cola, Pepsi is a brand that has managed to take an important slice of the market alongside a similar giant, differentiating itself more and moreover the years.

Who won this war? Both, in their own way. To the sound of billions of dollars, of course, most of which invested in brand awareness and brand positioning.

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