Positioning and differentiation are very closely related marketing strategies. Positioning is your strategy for conveying what makes your company or products bigger, different or better than those offered by competitors. Differentiation is essentially the way you carry out your positioning by promotion distinct attributes or benefits that you offer.
Your company philosophies and values and distinct attributes of your products or services provide the basis for positioning. The first component of positioning is to assess the company or product attributes or benefits that clearly separate you from competitors. Organics food providers emphasize superior nutritional value. Superior quality, durability, elite service, low prices and advanced technology are other possible benefits you could use to position your brand.
Positioning is relative to competitors but specific to a target customer group. The benefits and value one customer market appreciates may be different than those other customers desire. For instance, a frozen yogurt shop typically provides fresh, customized yogurt products to health-conscious, middle class or higher-income customers willing to pay more for better quality. Fast food shops such as McDonald’s and Burger King offer low-price ice cream cones and products for more budget-conscious buyers.
Positioning is a behind-the-scenes strategy that guides your advertising. In your ad messages, you differentiate yourself by promoting the benefits or company attributes that make your brand distinct. Internet service provide GoDaddy.com has differentiated itself greatly from competitors with sexually themed TV commercials not traditionally used by tech companies. Small businesses often have cost disadvantages relative to larger companies and therefore focus on personalized services, niche products and product knowledge in differentiation.
In your marketing, you can use a number of symbols and tools to establish your brand differentiation. A distinct name, such as Zappos for a shoe brand, helps. An effective brand logo and distinct packaging are visually driven methods to differentiate. Target emphasizes a strong quality-to-price relationship, or a top value-orientation. Aldi is a low-price grocer. Distribution is also a means of differentiating your brand. Amazon.com has an efficient and controlled system to ensure efficient delivery of third-party goods.