Your brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of your business strategy and growth goals. The way a brand is positioned in the minds of its target market is based on the visual cues and messaging said brand uses in its marketing.
Positioning is all about the perceived value proposition a brand has in the minds of its ideal clients. It’s how a Chanel bag stands out against a H&M bag or how a Tesla will always catch the eye of a techy person over a Toyota. If you want to build a successful personal brand, you’ve got to nail your brand positioning.
Most brands fall into one of three categories. You can think of it as going to your local mall and seeing three types of stores. There are the budget-friendly stores that your teenage cousins visit, the premium brands that entrepreneurs and professionals spend their money, and the luxury brands that are in a league of their own.
These brands didn’t end up in these categories by accident – it’s all been part of their brand positioning strategy to allow them to target their demographic and dominate their industry. With brand positioning comes an expectation from the customer. When you shop at Chanel, you expect a higher price tag and a more elevated, luxury experience than Forever 21. Yet, when you go to Pandora, you expect to be able to have a premium experience and find more accessible pieces than Tiffany’s or Cartier.
Here is your crash course in what these three categories of brand positioning are:
Think Target or TJ Maxx. It’s a brand you go to when you expect to get value for your money, with affordable pieces that you want at the moment. This brand positioning is for companies that are accessible and have the widest demographic, offering something for everyone.
With a budget brand, it’s all about simplicity. You don’t want to go too niche in case you turn off part of your demographic. Budget brands stick to fairly basic visuals and a signature, limited color palette.
Think about simple color palettes that are instantly recognizable – like McDonald’s red and yellow combo or Domino’s red, blue, and white aesthetic.
These brands fall into the middle of budget and luxury brands. They won’t break the bank, but you’ll always think twice before making an impulse purchase. At this level of brand positioning, customers expect a higher level of quality that matches the price tag.
Premium brands are the ones you’ll often find in a department store, like Anthropology or Vineyard Vines. They have a more tailored demographic with an ideal customer in mind. Think about Hill House Home and how their branding targets the modern woman who appreciates classic style but doesn’t want to compromise on comfort.
At this positioning, there is more thoughtful imagery used to attract the attention of their target demographic. These brands oftentimes have trendy, aesthetic imagery and a wider – oftentimes more vibrant, color palette. These visual cues develop the brand’s authority within its industry.
Have you ever saved up to buy a designer handbag? Think about the experience. Brands curate everything from the moment you walk in the door of their store or the second you land on their website. Buying from a luxury brand is just as much about the experience as it is about the product or service.
Luxury brands are charging the top price within their industries, whether it’s for a headband or a leather handbag. Customer experience plays a crucial role in a business’ branding. If you walk into Louis Vuitton, you’ll usually get a one-on-one consultation with a sales associate, who may even offer you a glass of champagne. When was the last time you had a worker do this for you at Bloomingdale’s or Walmart?
Everything from the packaging to your in-store experience and aftercare is part of the branding process and makes your purchase feel like it’s worth the price tag. At the luxury brand position, you have a target demographic who expect a tailored experience. It’s these experiences that set premium and luxury brands apart.
The visuals for a luxury brand are stylish and elegant, with a limited color palette that sticks closely to the brand’s aesthetic and palette. The imagery is more editorial and high-end, often taking inspiration from the world of art. Think of the Beverly Hills Hotel and their signature shades of pink and green. It appears in every picture that they post on Instagram.
When you nail your brand positioning, you’re able to resonate with your target demographic. You want to think about what you want your audience to feel and experience when they’re interacting with your brand. You get two polar opposite experiences at TJ Maxx vs. Louis Vuitton.
Getting your brand positioning right involves strategy. You want to be taking proactive steps to work on your brand positioning every day to get it to the level you’re inspiring towards.
Every brand has an ideal client. Sit down and get to know YOUR ideal client on a deeper level. What is it that they want out of a brand? They might want an affordable product that allows them to jump on the latest trends without breaking the bank. On the flip side, your target audience might be people who want to invest in ‘forever’ pieces and aren’t afraid to spend a little more, but they expect a curated experience when interacting with your brand.
This is why it is so critical to know who you want to target your offerings to, what their desires are, their aspirations, their likes and dislikes, etc. Once you have mapped out an Ideal Client Avatar – a made-up character who embodies your DREAM client – you can dive deeper in understanding what their wants and needs are that lead to a buying decision with a brand.
Unpopular opinion: knowing who your competitors are is *almost* as important as knowing who your ideal clients are. What are the other brands that your target audience is buying from? Look out for brands that are selling similar items within your niche at your price point. What are they offering their customers? How are they portraying their brand positioning? What type of experience are they providing in their offerings?
Understanding who your competitors are allows you to set a benchmark for your branding. The goal is to do something different from them and build your branding beyond what they’re offering. Think about what makes your brand unique, and what you are able to uniquely offer that no one else can offer to your target audience.
Going off the previous point, uniqueness is truly key to brand positioning and standing out in a saturated industry. Every brand has a USP (unique selling proposition). It’s what makes your brand the brand it is; how it is perceived by your target market. Perhaps you use a patented formula for your products, or your clothing uses sustainable fabrics. Whatever your USP is, you want to be shouting it from the rooftops, and embodying it in every business move you make.
Your USP allows you to leverage your brand positioning. It’s part of your justification for where your brand sits with those three categories. Your USP might be that you offer high-quality skin at an affordable price that is accessible for everyone, from college students to stay-at-home moms.
We’ve already talked about the importance of knowing what makes your brand different from your competition. This is where you get to brainstorm and own what makes you amazing at what you do!
Ask yourself: what are your greatest strengths? If you can tell your customer only one thing, what would it be? What are some topics that you could talk on and on about, without needing notes or prep work? These strengths help position your brand above your competition because you’re offering the demographic something they can’t get anywhere else.
You might offer a wellness product that is backed by scientific research, or you could be offering an innovative product that no one else is offering. Just think of the olive oil cake that went viral during the pandemic and even ended up featured in Harper’s Bazaar. It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking to make you stand out.
Sometimes, it’s easier to put all your thoughts in one space. Sit down and write out your brand positioning statement. Choose which one of the three categories your brand will sit in – and then justify it. Draw out all the points that will help with your brand positioning, from the color palette you choose to the imagery you utilize on social media.
Identify actionable steps – like changing your digital marketing strategy – that allow you to bring your brand to the position you want without your niche and industry.
Here’s a basic outline of what your positioning statement should include:
Example: Helping online coaches convert website visitors into high-ticket clients by creating aesthetic websites based in marketing strategy.
What makes your brand tick? How would you describe your brand’s personality? AKA – what are some of the human characteristics your brand represents through it’s visuals and messaging? Is it playful and energetic, or bold and moody? Defining the core personality of your brand can help you identify your target audience and utilize the right brand positioning tools.
Branding plays a critical role in a business strategy. Your brand constantly evolves with you as you grow. If you’re ready to elevate your brand and attract dream clients into your business, check out my Creative Design Studio services, which include branding, web design, custom gifts, and sales pages. Let’s nail your brand positioning together!
Website Designed By Me, Kerry Ireland
Kerry Ireland is a Web & Brand Designer and Online Business Educator. Her mission is to help entrepreneurs across the globe exponentially expand their brand and business so they can live the ultimate freedom-based lifestyle.