Product Positioning Dr. Anil Mishra [email_address] 9937635059, 09425452065 Asian School of Business Management
Product Positioning refers to all the activities undertaken by a marketer to create and maintain the concept of value regarding its brand in the minds of customers as against competitors brand.
Product positioning is the image that a product produces in the mind of customers in comparison to the competitors products and also in comparison to other products of the same company.
Criteria for Successful Positioning
Clarity : value proposition which they are going to serve to target customer customers.
Consistency: first year quality of service, second year product performance.
Credibility: believability and trustworthiness
Getting into the mind of the consumer
It is easier if the product or service happens to be the first in the market.
However, not everything is lost if a marketer is not the first in the market the marketer needs to make attempt to occupy a unique position in the customer’s mind.
Positioning of a leader
The success of a company is not just due to its successful marketing strategies but reason is that it was first in the market.
If a company is the first to launch a product this point can be reinforced in its positioning strategy.
Another strategy for a market leader would be to introduce multiple brands from time to time in order to cater to the changing needs.
Positioning of a follower
If a brand is not the first that comes to mind, then it is better to identify an unoccupied positioned where the brand can be first.
Same product and target market, change in image of product: The product may be acceptable in functional terms but fails because it lacks the required image. The contexts in which the customers come into contact with the company are changed to reflect the new image.
Product repositioning: the product is modified to make it more acceptable to its present target market. Customer requirements may have changed and the product has to be modified to be able to serve the needs effectively.
Intangible repositioning: the company targets different market segment with the same product. The company is able to locate a segment which has requirements similar to the requirements of the segments it is serving.
Tangible repositioning: Both product and target market are changed. A company may decide to move up or down a market by introducing a new range of products to meet the needs of the target customer.
Pitfalls of positioning
Under positioning : product should be positioned with powerful ideas and communicate as they are. But normally marketers come out with a simple positioning idea and pass it on to the creative department. This is where the strength of the positioning gets diluted and the process is known as under positioning. for example Volvo’s positioned as “Drive safely”.
Over positioning : in this situation where the firm initially promotes its brand as a premium brand. For example: customer perceives the Tanishq jewelry brand to be very high priced, while reality is quite the opposite as tanishq offers jewelry that suits every budget also.
Positioning is normally done by manager with an ‘inside-out’ thinking and is based on what is going on in the organization but actually for a positioning strategy to be successful, it has to be based on an ‘outside-in’ strategy.
Companies often position their product such that it helps them achieve short-term sales and profit but positioning has to be done keeping in mind long term gains in the market and short term gains.
Another pitfall is confused positioning. Marketer should not confuse consumers by meddling too much with the positioning strategies of their established brands. For instance, pepsi once introduced a clear pepsi with name crystal pepsi. Consumers thought that if it was not brown then it could not be a cola, and as a result the product failed in the market.
Doubtful positioning: sometimes companies try to create brand among customers even before positioning the brand clearly in the market. This is known as doubtful positioning ,and this often generates a negative attitude towards the brand. For instance, many of the dot com companies spent heavily on television advertising, without themselves being clear about what they were selling.
Companies quite often do not realize what customers expect from a product. As a result they position the product based on the wrong attributes or on attributes that are of no interest to the customers. For example Le Sancy a toilet soap, was positioned as a long lasting soap but what consumers wanted was freshness rather than longer life of the soap and hence the product failed.
Positioning helps to create an image of the company among customers. But how does a company decide the image that it wants its customer to have about the company ? Moreover positioning has a very clear objective- ? To take customers buy the company’s product. How does the company decide which image will enable the company to sell more?
Positioning is a deliberate exercise. All deliberate exercises to promote an image have elements of imaginative untruths. Is positioning not an attempt to mislead customers?
Why should a company expend resources on positioning its product, when all that the customers wants is a solution to their need? Do customers really care about the image of the product or the company?