What’s the latest in brand positioning? Part 2
Last Friday (March 7, 2014) our reader asked: “It’s been so many years since last we heard anything new about brand positioning. Do you have anything new on brand positioning that can help us once more?”
We ran out of space that Friday and ended saying: “What is the difference between the before versus the after-consolidation BPS (Brand Positioning Statement)? How did that difference make the latest BPS a more powerful and much more effective brand positioning? We’re out of space. We’ll answer and continue next Friday.”
A: The differences are immediately noticeable.
The first is in the designation of the consumer’s PPV (or Priority Product Value). That’s what we called the “market positioning” component of brand positioning. It’s positioning along what’s important to the market or the consumer.
As you will notice, there’s a specific target market segment paired to the PPV. In the pHCare example, that’s the target market segment of “the adult woman bothered by the odor of her unwashed external genitalia.”
Note well how the target segment is defined. First, demographically, “the adult woman.” And then, behaviorally as being “bothered by the odor of her unwashed external genitalia.”
Setting the marketing arena
This system of market segmenting follows also the latest in one of the oldest marketing concepts: market segmentation. This is found in the Senior MRx-er’s book, Market Segmenting, Self-Segmenting and Desegmenting.
There are two steps here. First, specify the boundary or boundaries of the marketing arena where to play the marketing game. In the case of pHCare, that is the adult woman market segment. Then, behaviorally profile that adult woman market segment in terms of her need to do something about “the odor of her unwashed external genitalia.” That’s a second level segmenting intended to direct the marketer’s attention to what consumer problem to offer the brand as a problem solution or what behavior to target for the brand positioning.
The significant positioning implication here is that a different target market segment will require a different BPS. Two segments that are truly different will differ in their needs and Priority Produce Value (PPV). Suppose, for example, after its success with adult women, pHCare decides to go after the teen market segment. Let’s say that when the teen’s need or PPV for femwash was researched, it was found to be different. How will this finding get the pHCare for teens reformulated? Here’s how (just stick through this and don’t get a nosebleed!):
“To the young teen lady who wants to feel really clean down there throughout the day (= PTM or Primary Target Market), pHCare gives her that pure clean feeling (= PPV) better than any currently available femwash brands (= PoD – Point of Difference.) pHCare has a 5.5 pH balance that’s specifically suited for daily use in the external genitalia as against all other femwash brands with a pH balance of 3.5 that is more suited for vaginal application in cases of infection like UTI (RtB1 – Reason to Believe #1). Bea Alonzo herself attests to this difference (RtB2 – Reason to Believe #2).”
We now proceed to the second difference between the before versus the after-consolidation BPS (Brand Positioning Statement). As you would expect, this difference is with the second part of brand positioning, namely, “competitive positioning.” That has to do with the brand’s “point of difference” (PoD); also known as the USP (unique selling proposition) or “distinctiveness” or “differentiator.”
Positioning in what’s important to the consumer is not enough. Your brand must also say how much better it is in satisfying what’s important to the consumer—what is its point of difference.
What’s new? Providing a product’s point of difference with RtBs
What’s new in the BPS about competitive positioning? In the example, what’s new is the provision of the Point of Difference (PoD) with a couple of Reasons to Believe (RtB). What’s the RtB for?
A Reason to Believe (RtB) is intended to provide the target consumers with supporting evidence that the brand will deliver its USP, its point of difference. In the pHCare BPS, there were three RtB’s: (1) a technical feature about pH balance, (2) an endorsement from Sharon Cuneta, and (3) an implied endorsement from Sharon’s OB-Gyne.
Why three? Isn’t one enough?
Our research on RtB and its role in the BPS yielded important insights. First, there are now many RtB categories that have evolved over time. Product features were the first, for they served as proof that the brand will deliver on its promise and its claimed differentiator. This “evidencing” was then followed, secondly, by using popular endorsers, and thirdly, figures of authority as endorsers. Another category was scientific study support. To doctors, this was THE RtB. And finally, several successful premium personal care brands resorted to “the heritage story” as an engaging RtB. An example is Heno de Pravia and its claimed heritage from its origin in an enchanting Spanish town.
The second insight from research tells us that you can never tell which of these five RtB categories will be the most convincing to the target consumers. And so it’s always better to resort to more than one. Three seems to be the optimal. Two is still risky while four is overdoing it.
The Reason to Believe (RtB) concept in the Brand Positioning Statement (BPS) plays an important clarifying role in brand positioning. At one point, in the case of pHCare’s initial and unprecedented success, many marketers and the media attributed the brand’s success to Sharon Cuneta. BPS and RtB corrected that. Sharon was an RtB and not the essence of the brand positioning. That essence was in pHCare’s PPV and its PoD.
So there’s your very latest on brand positioning in terms of BPS or Brand Positioning Statement. While BPS may be the latest and the most resorted, it’s still not the only way to crafting the winning positioning. There are many other ways.
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