How to Position a Brand and Gain Market Share in 2023

You need a strong brand positioning strategy to stand out in a crowded market. Learn how to position a brand and make a lasting impression on customers.

June 27, 2023

How to Position a Brand


In today’s cutthroat business world, having a good product—or even a great one—isn’t enough. If you can't set your business apart, you won’t make the sale. It really is that simple.

That’s why you need a strong brand positioning strategy.

Brand positioning refers to how people think of your business compared to competitors. To stand out in the minds of consumers, companies must be seen and heard. Most of all, they must connect with their best customers on an emotional level.

But this process isn’t easy. It takes time.

To create strong brand positioning, you’ve got to be consistent, day in and day out. You must be bold, authentic, and willing to try new things.

Even though most business owners and company executives agree that successful brand positioning is critical, only a small percentage succeed.

In this post, we'll explore positioning and how it improves your marketing strategy and connections with the target market.

What Is Brand Positioning?

Competition is fierce in almost every market category. It’s getting tougher for brands to differentiate. Yet that’s exactly what they must do to increase market share and profit.

A brand positioning strategy helps an organization influence the consumer's perception of the company's offering and brand identity.

Having a positioning strategy doesn’t guarantee target customers will see your company the way you hope they do. But over time, a unique position will help your business become more competitive and improve ROI on marketing tactics.

Successful Brand Positioning Examples

An effective brand positioning strategy makes a lasting impression on the target audience that ultimately generates more sales.

Your target customers have expectations of specific brands they buy from. So, you must be sure your brand fits the market and aligns with the consumer's expectations.

For example, people who buy premium or luxury products expect the business or product to have the characteristics of a high-end brand.

I’ll use websites from two popular car manufacturers to illustrate.

First, let’s look at Mercedes-Benz:

Mercedes-Benz brand positioning
IMAGE: Mercedes-Benz Website

Right away, we can make the following observations:

  • The word “dream” is used in the headlines on the landing page. This word taps into the buyer’s emotions.
  • We don’t see any car images, just headlights and reflections. This adds an element of mystique.
  • Mercedes-Benz uses a minimalist color palette (i.e., blue, black, and white).

Premium and luxury brands often focus on building emotional connections rather than selling product features. That’s exactly what Mercedes is doing here.

Now, here’s a screenshot of Honda’s website:

Honda brand positioning
IMAGE: Honda's Website

Notice the headline focuses on fuel efficiency as a differentiator. Fuel efficiency is a product feature (and key benefit). We also see a few cars on display. Here, Honda is leveraging the product and its features to attract its best customers.

All of the components used by Mercedes-Benz and Honda successfully position their product (i.e., company name, the key benefit of each car, and target customer segments) work together to attract the right buyers.

But many businesses don't develop some of the components that are vital to their brand image. This is why many of them struggle to create real differentiation. But those that follow a process to develop effective brand positioning will outperform competitors and increase equity.

Now, let’s explore specific positioning strategies and the benefits of each.

Types of Brand Positioning Strategies

In this section, I’ll outline four of the most common positioning strategies.

Convenience-Based Positioning Strategy

Studies show that over 70 percent of consumers will pay more if a product or service is easy to purchase or readily available.

A convenience-based positioning strategy leverages the power of ease, accessibility, and usability to differentiate. The question to answer is, "How does the brand and product make the customer's life better?"

For example, your business’s return policy might be simple, with no complicated forms or restrictions. You may also offer free shipping and local delivery options. This might make finding, ordering, and receiving products easier than ever. These small but powerful incentives can attract lots of new customers.

The best way to identify how your ideal customers perceive convenience is to ask for feedback and conduct market research.

Price-Based Positioning Strategy

Price is a significant factor in the buying decision. To compete, many companies sell at low prices or offer discounts. But trying to be the cheapest on the market comes with drawbacks.

First, there will always be a competitor (especially a startup that is newer to the market) willing to sell for less. As a result, you may feel pressured to match their prices, which cuts into already narrow profit margins.

Even though most consumers want to save money, they’re often skeptical of low-priced products and services. Part of this stems from the relationship between price and quality. Studies show that the average consumer believes a higher price indicates better quality.

Niche Service Positioning

Niche marketing is the practice of targeting a smaller demographic and customizing offers and messages to the niche's specific needs and interests. Defining a buyer persona for each niche market segment makes it easier for businesses to zero-in on unique customer types and create marketing tactics for each.

To define a market segment, use details such as age, gender, geographic location, and lifestyle. Then, determine the media they use most (i.e., social media, television) and focus on those channels.

You can create content for each niche segment to get higher responses. For example, include stories about how your product or service helped someone else in a similar situation. Incorporate visuals as well.

By delivering tailored outreach, you become more credible and authoritative in the audience’s eyes because you can give them exactly what they need. This expands your brand’s reach and awareness within the smaller circle of potential customers you want.

Premium Brand Positioning

Premium brand positioning focuses on creating an emotional and practical connection with consumers. These connections must be strong enough to influence them to choose a higher-priced product over its lower-cost competitors.

By understanding the needs and aspirations of the customer, premium brands can position their products as something more than just another consumer item.

The challenge is to develop a narrative while avoiding the “same-ness” found in other offers. This means standing out with a unique value proposition, superior quality and design, or by providing customers with special, personalized experiences that go above-and-beyond the norm.

4 Types of Pricing Strategies
4 Types of Pricing Strategies

How to Create a Brand Positioning Strategy

To position your brand, you must analyze your ideal target customers, market niche, competition, and unique selling points.

In the sections that follow, I’ll break down each component in more detail.

Market Segmentation

Successful positioning starts by having a clear understanding who your ideal customer is, the problems they face, and how you can make their lives better.

After you’ve identified the target customer(s), create buyer personas that includes the unique characteristics of each. Categories for segmentation include:

  • Demographic factors such as age, gender, or occupation.
  • Geographic factors (i.e., location)
  • Socio-economic factors (i.e., income levels and consumption habits)
  • Psychographic factors (i.e., lifestyle or values)
  • Behavioral patterns, such as loyalty or shopping frequency

With the audience segmented into smaller groups, you can customize your messages and content to match the needs of each.

With accurate audience segmentation, companies can identify their most profitable customers. This enables them to zero-in on potential prospects with the right message at the right time.

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Define Your Brand’s Benefit Claims

Customers are looking for the product or service that best fits their need. So, your company must communicate benefit claims that meet their expectations. We can break benefit claims down into two types.

Functional benefits describe how a product works, and the tangible advantages it offers. Emotional benefits relate to how customers feel when using it.

Successful positioning relies on a combination of both.

For example, a car gets someone from point A to point B. That is the functional benefit of a car. But a car can also make a person feel safer when they travel. Safety is an emotional benefit.

Functional benefits are practical qualities that are attractive to consumers. Buyers use these benefits to evaluate a product based on its features, performance, and functional value.

Emotional benefits focus on how customers feel during or after the product or service experience. This could include feelings of trustworthiness, fun, or relaxation. Emotional benefits are often more powerful than functional ones because they enhance a brand’s uniqueness. For instance, some people believe they get a distinct feeling when driving a BMW that they don’t get driving other car brands. So, while a BMW offers many of the same functional benefits as other cars, the emotional benefits set the brand apart.

Using facts and concrete evidence to promote a product through its functional features is extremely important. But it’s just as critical to communicate how people will feel when they use it.

Want to know how a brand audit can help your company develop strong brand positioning?

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Identify Your Main Competitors

You can’t position a brand without identifying direct competitors. To get a sense of who you’re going against, ask your sales team or do a search using industry-related keywords. This will give you a list of potential companies to research.

Analyze direct competitors. As you do, note their strengths and weaknesses. Look into their marketing tactics, mission statements, and online positioning. Knowing the competition allows you to gain a strategic advantage.

Read through competitor reviews. This will help you assess how customers perceive them, which can also help you create stronger differentiation. For example, if you notice that a large percentage of the target audience continues to make a similar request, you can create an offer to accommodate them.

Market size is another competitive factor. Look at which markets are growing or in decline. This can help you make smarter decisions about where to focus your energy and resources.

Also review competitors’ promotions, discounts, and sponsorships on media platforms. Study everything you can about your competitors to find out what matters most to customers in your industry and what your rivals are doing right (and wrong).

Monitor competitor activities to stay one step ahead. Watch for new announcements, changes in product lines or pricing models.

Your competitive analysis should provide a clear picture of both current and potential rivals. You can then develop an informed positioning strategy specific to your business objectives.

Monitoring trends can prevent losses and enable you to find opportunities. Tracking trends over time will make it easier to stay ahead of the curve. This allows you to be proactive and adjust quickly to marketplace conditions rather than being forced to react.

Brand Positioning Statement vs. Unique Selling Proposition

Brand positioning statements are useful for a couple of reasons. First, it helps keep you and your team focused on your brand’s value. Second, it’s a simple way to communicate what makes your brand unique.

A well-crafted brand positioning statement can also guide your marketing efforts. It can also help you maintain consistency across all touchpoints.

There is some confusion about the difference between a brand positioning statement and a unique selling proposition.

A clear brand positioning statement defines how your business sets itself apart from the competition. It captures how your target audience and competitors should view your brand.

A unique selling proposition (USP) focuses on the benefits customers get from using your product or service. It communicates what customers can expect from your product—be it a functional, emotional, or even a self-expressive benefit.

A positioning statement and USP should support each other. So, it’s vital that both are in sync. The positioning statement should guide the USP or vice versa.

Create Your Brand Positioning Statement

Writing a brand positioning statement requires you to harness the power of storytelling. It should capture the essence of your brand while conveying its unique value.

To write your brand positioning statement, follow these steps:

1. Define your audience: Determine who you want to speak to. Think about who might benefit from your product or service the most and make sure your language aligns with their vernacular.

2. Get to know your competition: Evaluate the market and identify which brands (if any) have a similar offer. What sets you apart from them? Leverage differentiators at every opportunity throughout your statement.

3. Establish goals for the future: What do you want from this statement? What are the 3-5 key points you would like customers to remember after reading it?

4. Draft your statement: Keep the statement simple, clear, and concise by using direct language that reflects your intended message without embellishment or flowery language. Avoid complex sentences or jargon that could confuse people. Don’t forget to review it for accuracy before making it public.

5. Re-evaluate as needed: Monitor how customers respond after you release the statement and adjust as needed.

Craft Your Unique Selling Proposition

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that promotes the competitive advantage your business offers. This could include products, services, and customer experiences.

Start by researching your competitors to discover services or features you offer they don’t.

Once you’ve identified selling points, it’s time to get creative. Incorporate aspects of storytelling in concise descriptions about your company’s mission and what value you deliver. This creates an emotional connection that draws people in further. All these elements combined will help build an effective USP that truly has the power to prompt potential customers to take action.

Positioning Statements vs. Taglines

Brand positioning statements and taglines have their own roles but are not the same. The former is for internal purposes. It’s designed to guide key marketing decisions that shape customer understanding of your brand.

A tagline is externally focused. They’re used to grab the audience’s attention. Taglines may be a slogan or phrase that captures the customer’s enthusiasm and gets them engaged with your brand.

Positioning statements and taglines must live up to your brand promise while being unique. But getting customers to remember you through words is difficult, even if it’s something as simple as a catchy soundbite.

A positioning statement should be the foundation of your branding. It should guide each decision made about how you present yourself and how consumers perceive you—from copywriting to graphic design.

Consistent brand messaging can increase revenue by more than 15%.

Choose the Right Pricing Model

Choosing the right pricing model for your business is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make. The key is to know which one is the best fit for your business.

Now, let’s look at the most popular pricing models.

Cost-Plus Pricing

To use cost-plus pricing, a company sets a base price with an additional cost added to it. The idea is to charge what it costs to manufacture the product or perform a service, plus an extra fee for labor, overhead, and other expenses. The extra fee can be anything from a minimal rate to cover costs, to a more substantial mark up for profits.

There are drawbacks. Businesses must take market conditions into account or they may price themselves out of the market as expenses increase over time. If input costs associated with production vary significantly from one month to another, it may prove difficult for companies to continue using this pricing strategy in the long term.

Cost-plus pricing is popular because it provides businesses with an efficient way of calculating prices while providing reliable profitability on each sale or contract. Businesses must, however, keep careful track of input costs and compare their own prices against those of competitors to maintain accuracy and fairness.


Value-Based Pricing

The value-based pricing model is used to make the most profit possible by charging customers the highest price they might pay. The premise is that customers can see that the value the product offers is much higher than its price. Brands can only use this model successfully when they understand the perceived value of the product in the customer’s mind.

Value-based pricing can also help grow profit margins since customers often view higher prices as a sign of better quality.


Hourly Pricing

Hourly pricing is used most by service providers. At its core, hourly pricing requires customers to understand how much time goes into performing a particular job. Businesses calculate price by charging an hourly fee for providing the service. However, they may not always have a way to justify the price charged.

This pricing model provides clients with transparency and predictability since fees can be discussed in advance.

Hourly pricing can get complicated. The nature of this model requires businesses to bill their time accurately. But it’s easy to lose track or overestimate the hours spent on a project.

This method is popular among consultants who must address varying issues within a respective field, such as digital marketing, law, or software development.


Fixed Pricing

Fixed pricing requires buyers to pay a predetermined fee for goods or services. This model is practical for services that take about the same time or resources to complete, such as web design, IT support, or home repairs. The fee remains the same regardless of how long it takes to complete the work, allowing the customer to understand in advance what they will be paying.

The benefit of fixed pricing is that both the buyer and seller know exactly what the cost of the service will be before any work begins. This makes budgeting easier for purchasers and potentially more profitable for providers.

With this type of business model, companies don’t have to worry about keeping track of hours their employees have been working on projects and can create more accurate estimates when offering quote promises on new jobs. It also helps eliminate disagreements between buyers and sellers over payment amounts, since the costs have already been set in stone prior to starting any project.

Another advantage of fixed pricing is that it encourages sellers to make sure their customers are happy with the finished product, ensuring repeat business from those customers.

Despite its advantages, fixed pricing can present problems for both sides when the business ends up having to do more work than first thought.

Draw a Price Positioning Map

A price positioning map can help you understand the relationship between prices and customer benefits. It’s an exercise that gives insight into competitive product offerings. As a result, you can develop a positioning strategy accordingly.

To create a map, start by looking at similar products that are currently available. Then, choose the price point and determine the primary benefit offered by each product. Use this information to plot a graph and draw an expected-price line. This reveals whether current products are priced too high or too low compared with customer expectations.

By plotting these points, companies can see which competitors offer a stronger balance between benefit and cost. Insights from this analysis help you figure out which pricing strategy might be best. You may also discover how to add value services or special product features competitors may not consider.

Brand Positioning Map
Brand Positioning Map

Differentiate Your Brand with Customer Service and Sales Processes

Service is a powerful differentiator. To leverage it for positioning, businesses must understand the customer journey from beginning to end. To gain insight into your customers’ entire experience, map their journey and focus on creating unique points of differentiation with each step.

Mapping out the customer journey gives brands a holistic view of how customers interact with your company. This helps you identify where and how processes could be better. By taking an in-depth look at what customers are going through, you can develop a deep understanding of their needs and change the service process to accommodate them.

For example, if you know customers often complain about slow response times for service inquiries, or have difficulty ordering products, you can fix the problems. Your team can brainstorm ways to streamline response times, either by automating certain steps in the process or by staffing more reps on certain days when customer engagement is high.

It’s important to remember that not all customer segments are created equal. Different customer groups require different levels of attention and customization. For instance, brands that sell to B2B service providers will need a different process than the one used by companies serving individual consumers.

It’s vital to take these factors into consideration when mapping out the customer journey. The nuances of each segment can make the difference between converting leads into long-term customers or losing potential sales opportunities altogether.

By designing a comprehensive roadmap based on customer data and feedback, you’ll be well-positioned to create value for your customers throughout every step of the service process.

Organizations can also differentiate with their sales process. Salespeople should learn how to position their offers to match the individual client’s needs. It’s also important to communicate the features, advantages, and benefits that help meet the customer’s specific goal or desire.

Salespeople must have in-depth knowledge about each client, combining industry insights with key persona traits such as interests, values or perspectives. An effective salesperson knows that “one size doesn’t fit all” in selling. Every person will have individual values that she looks for when making a purchase decision.

For these reasons, develop sales strategies that personalize interactions based on the prospect’s demographics, psychographics, and behaviors. This kind of customization makes sure that each buyer feels heard and understood throughout the entire buying journey. This strategy allows companies to build trust with their customers and establish long-term relationships.

Why consumers quit using brands
IMAGE: Why Consumers Quit Using Brands (SOURCE: SAP Hybris)

Improve Your Brand Positioning with a Brand Audit

Our team of experts uses a brand audit process to help your organization become more competitive and build authority in the marketplace. We work with brand executives, marketing directors, and business owners to identify gaps in their brand strategy and create a plan to fill them.

The process involves three key sections: assessment, analysis, and strategy. First, we assess your current brand position. Then, we analyze your competitors and market trends to develop an in-depth understanding of your industry. Finally, we use the insights from the audit to create a customized strategy that aligns with your business goals.

We understand that every business is unique, which is why we take a unique approach to each project.

Don't settle mediocrity. Click on the button below to schedule a free consultation with an auditor to learn more.

Chris Fulmer

Chris Fulmer

Brand Strategist | Managing Director

Chris Fulmer is a professional brand development manager who provides expert insights on brand strategy, media channels, and other essential information required for marketing success. This includes market research, analytics analysis, and digital design best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Brand Positioning Strategy

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  • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
  • Reduce marketing expenses.
  • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

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