Positioning strategy can be conceived and developed in a variety of ways. It can be derived from the object attributes, competition, application, the types of consumers involved, or the characteristics of the product class. All these attributes represent a different approach in developing positioning strategy, even though all of them have the common objective of projecting a favorable image in the minds of the consumers or audience. There are seven approaches to positioning strategy:
1) Using Product characteristics or Buyer Benefits as a positioning
This strategy basically focuses upon the characteristics of the product or customer benefits. For example if I say Imported items it basically tell or illustrate a variety of product characteristics such as durability, economy or reliability etc. Lets take an example of motorbikes some are emphasizing on fuel economy, some on power, looks and others stress on their durability. Hero Cycles Ltd. positions first, emphasizing durability and style for its cycle.
At time even you would have noticed that a product is positioned along two or more product characteristics at the same time. You would have seen this in the case of toothpaste market, most toothpaste insists on ‘freshness’ and ‘cavity fighter’ as the product characteristics. It is always tempting to try to position along several product characteristics, as it is frustrating to have some good characteristics that are not communicated.
2) Pricing as a positioning
Quality Approach or Positioning by Price-Quality – Lets take an example and understand this approach just suppose you have to go and buy a pair of jeans, as soon as you enter in the shop you will find different price rage jeans in the showroom say price ranging from 350 rupees to 2000 rupees. As soon as look at the jeans of 350 Rupees you say that it is not good in quality.
Why? Basically because of perception, as most of us perceive that if a product is expensive will be a quality product where as product that is cheap is lower in quality. If we look at this Price – quality approach it is important and is largely used in product positioning strategy. In many product categories, there are brands that deliberately attempt to offer more in terms of service, features or performance. They charge more, partly to cover higher costs and partly to let the consumers believe that the product is, certainly of higher quality.
3) Positioning based on Use or Application
Lets understand this with the help of an example like Nescafe Coffee for many years positioned it self as a winter product and advertised mainly in winter but the introduction of cold coffee has developed a positioning strategy for the summer months also.
Basically this type of positioning-by-use represents a second or third position for the brand, such type of positioning is done deliberately to expand the brand’s market. If you are introducing new uses of the product that will automatically expand the brand’s market.
4) Positioning strategy based on Product Process
Another positioning approach is to associate the product with its users or a class of users. Makes of casual clothing like jeans have introduced ‘designer labels’ to develop a fashion image. In this case the expectation is that the model or personality will influence the product’s image by reflecting the characteristics and image of the model or personality communicated as a product user.
Lets not forget that Johnson and Johnson repositioned its shampoo from one used for babies to one used by people who wash their hair frequently and therefore need a mild people who wash their hair frequently and therefore need a mild shampoo. This repositioning resulted in a market share.
5) Positioning based on Product Class
In some product class we have to make sure critical positioning decisions For example, freeze dried coffee needed to positions itself with respect to regular and instant coffee and similarly in case of dried milk makers came out with instant breakfast positioned as a breakfast substitute and virtually identical product positioned as a dietary meal substitute.
6) Positioning based on Cultural Symbols
In today’s world many advertisers are using deeply entrenched cultural symbols to differentiate their brands from that of competitors. The essential task is to identify something that is very meaningful to people that other competitors are not using and associate this brand with that symbol.
Air India uses maharaja as its logo, by this they are trying to show that we welcome guest and give them royal treatment with lot of respect and it also highlights Indian tradition. Using and popularizing trademarks generally follow this type of positioning.
7) Positioning based on Competitor
In this type of positioning strategy, an implicit or explicit frame of reference is one or more competitors. In some cases, reference competitor(s) can be the dominant aspect of the positioning strategy of the firm, the firm either uses the same of similar positioning strategy as used by the competitors or the advertiser uses a new strategy taking the competitors’ positioning strategy as the base.
A good example of this would be Colgate and Pepsodent. Colgate when entered into the market focused on to family protection but when Pepsodent entered into the market with focus on 24 hour protection and basically for kids, Colgate changed its focus from family protection to kids teeth protection which was a positioning strategy adopted because of competition.