The Case for Positioning Versus Branding – Online Marketing

How do Brand and Position co-exist? Have you ever considered the difference in the two words and their impact on the success of your company and its product offerings? These and other online business ideas support these articles.

Marketing campaigns that don’t have the expected impact can be traced to a misunderstanding of market dynamics focused on branding, when the primary focus required should be Positioning. Brand and Position can be considered different sides of the same coin or like the old cliché’; “One hand washes the other.” Without placing Positioning first, brand value is not long-term, because the position is where a brand’s fundamental difference lies. Think of positioning as the purpose or the reason for being in business.

A branded campaign without a positioning strategy is like throwing your money to the wind. Said another way; most companies wouldn’t launch products without utilizing market intelligence and data, yet it’s surprising how many manufacturers fly blind folded with their brands, not taking into account that their market value will ultimately be placed at risk.

A basic mentality to understanding the difference between Position and Brand is the example: Brand is the “sizzle”, and Position is the “steak.”

Branding done solely on its own merit creates awareness, where the objective is for the market to get to know you. The simplest approach of Branding is to trigger an emotional response from the consuming audience trying to choose amongst thousands of product comparisons. For commodity products where the price is the most obvious differentiating feature in a saturated competitive field, too many marketers choose the easy way out with heavy promotion and price reductions to win sales volume. Sadly it is not usually the most profitable strategy as price has its day, but the consumer is still left with inherent questions and these will affect long-term decisions that eventually erode the brand’s value and longevity in the market place.

The quadruple threat facing those marketing in today’s world is:

• Saturated Competition

• Hyper options in choices

• Communication overload – white noise

• Price

Countless marketers, all with their own set of propositions, are competing for the same resources, Time, Attention and Money, the typical consumer has available.

In any category, the glut of choices offered is paralyzing. Recall the last time you stood staring at the many options available at the shampoo aisle. Is it any wonder we now have evolved into a condition called Choice Anxiety?

We are bombarded daily with over 4,000 messages and over 400,000 message units (individual pieces of information) thrown at the average American consumer. With so much “white” noise, the risk of your advertising not being seen is exceedingly high.

That is the key reason Positioning has to be defined and utilized, which is the carving out of a sharp focal point around your most competitive difference and planting that Difference firmly in the minds of your prospects. Dare to be different, as it counts for so much, but truly define why you are different then everyone else in the same category.

Don’t try to create a place in the world. Do not obsess about your competitors and differentiating from them. Instead, start with the question – Why? “Why do we exist?” “Why does anybody need us?” “Why are we useful?” “Why would consumers pay their hard-earned time or money?” “Why is it valuable?” Bottom line, defining a sense of purpose is going to separate you from your competitors and give you the value needed from this simple tactic.

Look at how powerful Apple’s sense of purpose and delivery of highly anticipated product launches has been in creating their growth. Or how Facebook’s greatest inventions have come from its commitment and encouragement of experimental behavior among its employees. The high-growth businesses of the future will all be, defined by their purpose.

Positioning is becoming the single most powerful concept in marketing today! To stake a position means an organization, product, or service stands for one thing in the minds of the prospect consumers. What is it you stand for? and how will it drive your market?

If you remember the sales analogy used many times over the years about steak and its sizzle. Positioning is all about the steak. Branding is about the sizzle.

Positioning is about establishing the inherent value offered by the company or product, while creating a mindset that inferentially implies the inherent weakness of your competitors in comparison. Positioning aims to define that essential point of difference you can own, to ensure consumers really know why they want your products or services over others. As the prerequisite tactic for strategic branding, positioning becomes the foundation for all brand communication.

When your Branding automatically follows your defined Position, the result of the branding effect is so much clearer in attaching the difference of your market position to your brand name, so that the name and the idea become basically one and the same.

Examples: Wal-Mart = Cheap prices. Porsche = Performance. Kenmore = Dependability.

What makes Positioning a long-term marketing advantage, is that it focuses on the most advantageous competitive difference you offer the market. Example: Redken Labs established its difference in the shampoo market, as the company supporting beauty through science in a category where everything else was just bubbles in a bottle.

Hallmarks of Positioning

o Uses core truths and competitive landscape to set the long-term direction for your brand.

o Recognizes all the P’s of marketing: Product, Price, People, Priorities, and Place, organizing them within the context of a single pervasive strategy.

o Builds trust and loyalty among your consumer base.

o Improves cost efficiencies for optimal return on investment.

o Solidifies what to do, and what not to do.

o Builds on itself by Building brand equity and establish-ing goodwill.

o Goes to the heart of the purpose. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.

o Establishes a clear set point for the continued develop- ment and evaluation of all marketing strategies.

In closing, a marketer has to be completely vested in what their understanding of current market dynamics are and utilize information that supports the difference between their Branding and Positioning strategies to impact their bottom line long-term. To initially misjudge the strategy to use in effective marketing campaigns, can and will have long-term impact to their brand in particular. People today want to know what you stand for philosophically and what you are willing to do to meet their needs. Without a strong positioning strategy, ultimately the brand will be hurt and with today’s countless choices offered to the consuming public, can be the catalyst to the demise of the brand.

Banners, Online Advertising, and Branding

Banner advertising can be controversial. For some time now we have been told that banners are a thing of the past. Well, fortunately there are plenty to be seen around wherever you go on the net. It would be a dull place without them.

What Are They Doing To Banners?

From time to time we have been told that traditional pictorial banners are passé, that nobody clicks on them anymore, that people regard them as money-grabbing, blatant, “advertising hype”. We’re told that by far the best banner ads are the wolves in sheep’s clothing – the banners that cunningly disguise themselves to look like a piece of text or a drop-down box, and not like a banner at all. The story is that everyone who is anyone is churning these out by the ton and making an absolute fortune from using them in their advertising.

Well – surprise – it doesn’t take too long to recognise these banners for what they are. This is not to say that they may not be very effective used in the appropriate place – but that’s not everywhere.

Recently, I read an article about the use of banners as advertising inserted within text, and the great click-through rates they generated. These were “banners” only in the sense of being gifs or jpegs. They were not pictorial in any way. They were designed to fit totally seamlessly into a page of text, with a couple of lines of text and a link on them. They were advertising that was trying not to look like advertising. With respect, calling these “banners” is simply playing games. Because they look exactly like text, they are getting the click-through rate of any piece of text in a page. Comparing their results to pictorial banners is like comparing oranges with apples.

Why Pictorial Banners Top The List

There are two factors that the anti-traditional-banner argument doesn’t take account of:

Firstly, the pictorial banner is brilliant for promoting the advertiser’s own branding. No word banner can come even close to evoking whatever ambience the advertiser desires, let alone make a unique statement about who the advertiser is. If you doubt me, take a quick look at some of the beautiful artwork created for the Casinos – ambience by the gallon. Would a two-line text ad do the job as well?

Secondly, there are people on the net, and not a few of them, who are actually looking for things – dare I say it, even looking to spend money. For these folk the right graphic may be no less than a godsend. Would a text banner catch the eye and jog the memory as well as a graphic? Would it evoke that “Oh, that’s the people I’m looking for!” response? You bet not!

Here’s another thing – does the text banner give you any concept of the quality of the business that lies behind it? Hardly!

The fact is that online advertising is really not all that different in principle from advertising in the rest of the world, as some of the truly successful Internet marketing gurus have pointed out. So it stands to reason that the same precepts of good advertising still apply. It comes down to branding – creating a presence that can be instantly recognised by the customer. When all’s said and done the first step of that process is very often visual.

Making the Most of Banners

With Internet advertising, we have in our hands the most brilliant promotion medium ever, in terms of both quantity and quality – something very special happens to images and colors when shown on the screen with the light behind them. We need to make the most of that.

For those who persist in talking derisively about “eye-candy” – let them eat dry cracker biscuits. I say they are missing a whole vast arena of appeal to the buyer via the senses. Most of us respond instantly in real life to “the look of things”. There may be some blessed mortals for whom the printed page means everything, but don’t count on them making up the bulk of the hordes you hope to have beating a path to your website.

Fortunately, as Internet technology advances, we can make the most of the visuals and, within reason, we should do just that. This is as competitive a world as the “real” one – maybe more so. The need is for very high-quality graphic and conceptual design in all areas of advertising and Internet marketing.

A business can cash in on this opportunity, primarily in its own website and emails, and secondarily on the Billboards of Cyberspace – with the quality of its banner advertising. People may not click on banners every time they see them, any more than they follow up every ad that catches their eye in a magazine or on television. But if the advertisement is visual and memorable, if it creates the right “feel”, and if the exposure is repeated and reinforced, when the time comes for them to buy, they will know exactly what and who they are looking for.

Will a two-line text ad or a drop-down box do that for you?

The Definition of Online Personal Branding and How it Can Help You

Personal Branding is the art of attracting and keeping more opportunities by actively shaping public perception. You can control the way you’re perceived by the community you serve. Oprah, Tiger, Madonna – they realized early that talent alone would not take them to the top of their fields. So they created and promoted unique Personal Brands. And now, you can too.

Personal Branding Works for Businesses, Professionals and Entrepreneurs Alike

You don’t have to be a celebrity to reap the rewards of Personal Branding. Whether you are a professional ready to catapult to the next level in your career or an entrepreneur embarking on your first business venture, we will work together to bring your goals into focus. We’ll begin by analyzing your unique strengths and differentiation, your competitive landscape and your target audience. Then we will develop a game plan to reach your objectives.

The Key to Personal Branding Success:

Define Yourself Instead of Letting Others Define You

You can shape your clients’ perception of you simply by defining your strengths, values, goals and personality and presenting yourself in a compelling, persuasive manner. Express yourself and what you stand for to everyone you meet – clients, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Do this constantly and consistently, and you will create an effective – and lucrative – Personal Brand.

The Eight Laws of Personal Branding

1. The Law of Specialization: A great Personal Brand must be precise, concentrated on a single core strength, talent or achievement. You can specialize in one of many ways: ability, behavior, lifestyle, mission, product, profession or service.

2. The Law of Leadership: Endowing a Online Personal Brand with authority and credibility demands that the source be perceived as a leader by the people in his/her domain or sphere of influence. Leadership stems from excellence, position or recognition.

3. The Law of Personality: A great Personal Brand must be built on a foundation of the source’s true personality, flaws and all. It is a law that removes some of the pressure laid on by the Law of Leadership: you’ve got to be good, but you don’t have to be perfect.

4. The Law of Distinctiveness: An effective Personal Brand needs to be expressed in a way that is different from the competition. Many marketers construct middle-of-the-road brands so as not to offend anyone. This is a route to failure because their brands will remain anonymous among the multitudes.

5. The Law of Visibility: To be successful, a Personal Brand must be seen over and over again, until it imprints itself on the consciousness of its domain or sphere of influence. Visibility creates the presumption of quality. People assume because they see a person all the time, he/she must be superior to others offering the same product or service.

6. The Law of Unity: The private person behind a Personal Brand must adhere to the moral and behavioral code set down by that brand. Private conduct must mirror the public brand.

7. The Law of Persistence: Any Personal Brand takes time to grow, and while you can accelerate the process, you can’t replace it with advertising or public relations. Stick with your Personal Brand, without changing it; be unwavering and be patient.

The Law of Goodwill: A Personal Brand will produce better results and endure longer if the person behind it is perceived in a positive way. He/she must be associated with a value or idea that is recognized universally as positive and worthwhile.