Brand positioning is the way you differentiate yourself from your competitors and how consumers identify and connect with your brand. It’s comprised of the key qualities and values that are synonymous with your company.
Brand positioning can be conveyed through a variety of means including tone and voice, visual design and the way your company represents itself in person and on social media.
The positioning of your brand helps inform consumers why they should choose you over your competitors and is one of the few things you can completely own about your company. Competitors can have similar features and aspects to your product or service — for example, at New Breed, we don’t own inbound marketing. But we do own New Breed and how people connect with us. Our competitors might be able to offer similar services to us, but they can’t replicate our brand.
Here are seven examples of companies with prominent, effective brands:
Tesla is a luxury brand that’s more expensive than its competitors. Because of that, they leave price out of their branding and instead focus on the quality of their vehicles. Tesla cars are long-range, eco-friendly and electric — in addition to being luxury vehicles.
Tesla differs from other gas-powered luxury vehicles because their cars are electric. They differentiate themselves from the standard electric vehicles because their cars are of higher quality and have a longer range.
Tesla built out a niche market for themselves and a fun brand to match it. CEO Elon Musk has built himself up as a Tony Stark-like character, and the brand promotes its uniqueness through ads and quirky features, like “Ludicrous Mode.”
Apple builds beautiful, innovative computers that are different than anything else you’ve experienced and markets them to resonate with their consumers.
Apple’s message highlights the same qualities in their consumers that they do in their products: if you are an Apple person, you are also innovative, imaginative and creative.
Like Tesla, Apple leaves price out of their branding and instead focuses on the value their products offer and the connection formed with their consumers.
3. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s have differentiated themselves from their competitors by positioning themselves as a “national chain of neighborhood grocery stores.” They offer a more tight-knit corner store shopping experience than similar premium food competitors like Whole Foods.
They have a wide variety of high-quality food at a low price and try to make shopping fun. Their nautical theme is reflected across their assets from in-store signage to the Hawaiian shirts their employees wear to the language they use on their website.
As they say on their website, “if an item doesn’t pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.” That single sentence exemplifies their commitment to offering value through quality products at reasonable prices in a fun atmosphere.
4. Dollar Shave Club
Their name alone demonstrates one of the main aspects of Dollar Shave Club’s value proposition: their low cost. Dollar Shave Club has focused its positioning on affordability and convenience, creating a brand that’s relatable for the average consumer.
Whereas their competitor Gillette is more expensive and has a very masculine tone to their messaging and branding, Dollar Shave Club is more cheeky and casual. Gillette has a very sleek look and features guys who look like actors and models. Dollar Shave Club features average looking people across a wide age range who are more relatable to consumers.
Dollar Shave Club’s brand is cheaper, cheekier and more convenient than their competitors.
Nike started their product with a focus on performance and innovation. They invented the waffle shoe and built their brand targeting serious athletes. Their product offerings have now moved beyond shoes, and they offer athletic attire that enhances performance.
Their branding and messaging focuses on empowerment, from their tagline “Just Do It” to their namesake, the Greek Goddess of Victory. Their models and athletes aren’t smiling and happy, they’re doing physical activities with their game faces on.
Nike’s brand is focused on the concept of innovation for serious athletes to help you perform at your best every single time.
HubSpot coined the term “Inbound Marketing” and built their business from that. They created their platform around the concept of providing helpful content that brings people to your website.
Their platform is efficient, user-friendly and customer-centric. Competing platforms are powerful marketing automation tools — but they’re not nearly as easy to use.
HubSpot started as an email marketing automation tool and has evolved into an all-in-one platform including marketing automation, CRM, sales and service. They’ve grown to meet their customer’s needs espousing the customer-focused approach that they preach through their flywheel.
Drift coined the term “Conversational Marketing” and built a tool focusing on a different aspect of marketing than every other technology entering the market.
Unlike other tools entering the space that are focused on automation, efficiency and scalability, Drift focuses on the human-to-human interactions of sales. People buy from other people, and Drift’s brand is built on the belief that human interaction is the most important part of sales today.
They wrote a book about their ideology entitled “This Won’t Scale” and showed how they achieved success through prioritizing people over efficiency.
Drift is trying to redefine the B2B buying experience because automation makes it easier for marketers to sell to a larger audience, but doesn’t make that interaction any quicker for customers. Conversational marketing might not scale as easily, but it improves the customer experience.
These companies all have brand positioning representative of the value they offer their customers and most of them are customer-centric. They’ve all differentiated themselves from competitors using their brand positioning, but that doesn’t mean their competitors have poor brand positions.
For example, Tesla has effectively differentiated themselves from other luxury vehicle brands like Mercedes Benz or eco-friendly cars like the Toyota Prius, but Toyota and Mercedes Benz still have effective brand positioning that resonates with their consumers.
Strong brands succeed because they resonate with a portion of their market better than anyone else, but they don’t have to be the only player in their market doing so.