Globalisation, transactions between countries and the digital environment have made the consumers receive a vast amount of information each day. We are facing a society overloaded with information which results in a saturated market with an oversupply of goods and services. We are facing a very experienced consumer who has to deal with a variety of brands in order to identify one good and/or service. That said, in order for a brand to be associated by the consumer with a particular good and/or service, it has to cross the perception barrier and focus on conveying a single relevant distinguishing feature that allows creating a strong link between the two of them.
Brand positioning is the tool that allows creating that bond between the good/service and the single relevant feature in the mind of the consumer. The real reason why the brand will be chosen in the present crowded marketplace is the characteristics it is connected to. At this point, the brand image comes into play, since it will be a key factor when choosing among identical goods/products.
One of the most important aspects is how to choose those features. At this stage, we have to evaluate the target market segment or consumers group and focus on the concept we want our brand to communicate: quality, health, happiness, family, luxury, tradition… These virtues represent the brand DNA and the image that will remain in the mind of the consumer.
The unbreakable association between feature-brand should be viewed from three perspectives:
a) Appeal: is this a primary characteristic for the consumer? For example, in the automotive industry, to which feature does the consumer give preference? Safety? Consumption? Power of the engine?
b) Association between the particular feature and the brand: if you think about the feature X, will you associate it with the brand Z?
c) Distinctiveness: how many brands are there in the marketplace associated with the same feature? What makes my brand different from the others?
It is true that the first step is the brand awareness by consumers. However, this fact does not let us be differentiated from the others; our brand will have to be chosen among the great number of brands competing in the same sector or category. Thus, the final decision will be based on what we think and our vision of each one of these brands and not just the awareness of its existence.
A well-positioned brand has a strong association with an important and critical feature. It will be conceived by consumers not just as a word or logo, among others, but as a true transmission of characteristics and values. If we think of Channel, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably luxury. Volvo conveys safety. And Rolex? Surely a quality watch.
For these reasons, a brand should be conceived as a competitive tool. It does not only identify goods/services, but also it is capable of creating emotions for the consumer that are translated in the brand positioning and, consequently, in marketability. Therefore, a good brand management leads you to success.