Evolving consumer preferences are forcing businesses to reassess their brand positioning
Not long ago, the main priority of a business selling consumer goods and services was to simply move product and make sales. But times have since changed as many brands desire to meaningfully integrate into people’s life patterns and routines.
Now, consumers have higher expectations when it comes to the products and services they purchase. Specifically, they are choosing brands that can provide value long after the initial purchase.
Buyers are now considering four different areas during the buying process: what does this brand stand for, what are their promises to the customer, are they delivering on these promises, and most importantly, how are they different from the other guys?
The essence behind the value that each brand provides is established in their positioning statement, which effectively outlines the benefits of their product or service, who they are appealing to and what differentiates them from the competition. The problem is, many brands do not put enough stock into their positioning and often lack alignment and focus among supporting company functions. This leads to inconsistencies in messaging, lack of clarity that confuses consumers on why they are a better option than their competition and diminished return on investment of precious company resources.
“If you look at the marketplace today, you’ll see a discrepancy between newer startups and more established brands,” said David Bilicic, Senior Vice President at Magid, a consulting firm with a large market research practice headquartered in Minneapolis with offices in New York and Los Angeles. “Startups have identified that in order to be successful and break through the clutter, they need an effective brand positioning statement. Often older brands can benefit from refreshing their positioning statements to more effectively differentiate themselves to create long-term value.”
The rise of the digital age has benefited startups, who are able to immediately build their operations around convenience and efficiency by taking their operations online. The classic case study to emphasize this is Warby Parker, an online retailer for prescription glasses. The startup was able to position themselves in a crowded marketplace by doing what no one had done before (selling online) and doing so at a discounted price (by creating their own glasses), while still doing good in the world (through donating one pair of glasses for every one sold).
“In the case of Warby Parker, you can see how a strong, detailed, and up-to-date brand positioning statement can effectively create a consistent operational foundation throughout an organization,” continued Bilicic. “At Magid, we help our clients in a consultative nature to define and then install brand positions into their operations, marketing, and product offerings to create more unified, contemporary and consumer-driven propositions. We do this through research rooted in human-centered design thinking.”
As it stands, many brands are challenged to find their new identity, and now, they are scrambling to undergo brand validation and brand repositioning exercises to maintain and improve their standing in a crowded marketplace. Progressive CMOs are sponsoring brand re-positioning and validation initiatives to ensure evolving consumer needs are addressed and company resources are aligned to generate desired outcomes. As we get further into 2019, look for more companies to start reassessing their place in the world.