Positioning3 A Complementary Approach


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From a recent MRA presentation, reviews current approaches to Positioning and outlines Straus\' expanded approach and its rationale

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Positioning3 A Complementary Approach

  1. 1. Going Beyond Ries and Trout to Positively Differentiate Your Brand Presented at NorthWest Chapter of the Marketing Research Association Spring Educational Conference 14 March, 2009 Roger A. Straus, Ph.D. Presentation © 2009 Roger A. Straus
  2. 2. “ Positioning” <ul><li>We all talk about it </li></ul><ul><li>Some gurus say it’s dead, old hat, so last Century… </li></ul><ul><li>But </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you don’t position your offering, the market will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It links marketing practice with primary research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It makes practical sense </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus, Positioning
  3. 3. “ Position” What? <ul><li>OFFERING ENTITY </li></ul><ul><li>Product Company </li></ul><ul><li>Service Other organization </li></ul><ul><li>Brand Individual (political </li></ul><ul><li>Product Line candidate) </li></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus Positioning
  4. 4. “ Positioning” Seems To Make Intuitive Sense <ul><ul><li>Where offering fits relative to the competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seems to imply a spatial metaphor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… Something inherent, empirical even mechanical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often thought of as descriptive “market research” </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Positioning
  5. 5. <ul><li>What Does That Have To Do With Market ing ? </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Positioning
  6. 6. We’re Talking Customer-Driven Positioning <ul><li>Relatively recent innovation, at least in some industries </li></ul><ul><li>Not the classic kitchen-sink paragraph handed off to the advertising agency for creatives to implement </li></ul><ul><li>A process, not (just) the tag line, catch phrase, elevator statement or statement of how you wish to be perceived…. </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Product X is the right choice for all users and all occasions because it has yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada ydad yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yad, yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada yada etc…. Positioning
  7. 7. Al Ries And Jack Trout Introduced Concept <ul><li>Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind ( 1982) </li></ul><ul><li>Positioning is in the customer’s mind </li></ul><ul><li>Cuts through the noise and defines you/your offering </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Marc Julius Trip the customer and whisper your brand’s name. Whatever flashes through their mind before they hit the ground is the positioning for that customer . Positioning
  8. 8. © 2009 Roger A. Straus, Positioning
  9. 9. Positioning Is Best Done Strategically And Proactively ©2009 Roger A. Straus, Marc Julius If you don’t position it, the market or the customer will… Positioning
  10. 10. © 2009 Roger A. Straus Just another battery…. And ours is more trustworthy Positioning
  11. 11. ©2009 Roger A. Straus
  12. 12. Symbolic Interactionism <ul><li>Sociological social psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Humans act according to what things mean for us, we don’t just “behave” or “respond” to stimuli </li></ul><ul><li>We construct our worlds through our interactions with one another, in which we exchange and negotiate meanings in order to construct joint lines of action </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus Social Psychology
  13. 13. Thomas Theorem <ul><li>What people define to be real is real in its consequences </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus W.I. Thomas Social Psychology
  14. 14. Definition Of The Situation <ul><li>How we have come to define the situation governs our actions, that our socially (and culturally) constructed meanings come between stimulus and response. </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus Social Psychology
  15. 15. How Does This Apply To Marketing? <ul><li>Marketing can be seen as a struggle to control the definition of the situation </li></ul><ul><li>Positioning boils down to defining the meaning of an offering so as to positively differentiate it from the competition and drive preferential purchase, trial and use </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus Social Psychology Too fattening Yummy and good for you
  16. 16. © 2009 Roger A. Straus
  17. 17. Naïve Positioning <ul><li>“ Positioning” as a metaphor for where an offering fits in the customer’s mental space, where it goes on their mind map, so to speak. </li></ul><ul><li>Using this as our operational definition, we can identify an offering’s positioning simply by having subjects map it onto competitive “space” </li></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus Naive Positioning
  18. 18. Qualitative Process <ul><li>Subject places offerings on a “map” </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher may define axis or have subject do so </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher probes “whys” </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly done in UK, </li></ul><ul><li>elsewhere ex-US </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus Product Z Product Y Product X Naive Positioning
  19. 19. Purely Descriptive <ul><li>You get what subjects think as they choose to present it </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis dependent on the analyst’s market knowledge and insight, skill at integrating and interpreting qualitative data points </li></ul><ul><li>Provides relatively “shallow” insight </li></ul><ul><li>But it is simple, cheap, clean and to-the-point </li></ul><ul><li>Many suppliers and marketers like it </li></ul><ul><li>If one employs a coordinate space could be done quantitatively (on the Web would benefit from using an interactive, Flash-based platform) </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus Naive Positioning
  20. 20. © 2009 Roger A. Straus
  21. 21. Rational Positioning <ul><li>Based on the specific differentiating attributes of an offering </li></ul><ul><li>Essentially grounded in economists’ “rational choice” paradigm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One adds up the positives, subtracts the negatives, then chooses the offering with the highest “utility score” as being in one’s best interest </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus Rational Positioning
  22. 22. Quantitative Approach: Perceptual Mapping <ul><li>Vector-based Map </li></ul><ul><li>Subject rates offerings on a range of attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Software program converts into map </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Various statistical techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Position of offering displayed relative to competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May show attributes as points or relative to vectors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Axes may be labeled or not </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus Rational Positioning
  23. 23. Marketers Love Perceptual Maps <ul><li>Clear, simple representation of where offerings fit relative to one another and to key attributes or dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>Maps can be designed to show what is positively or negatively regarded and where offerings fall in that space (Quadrant Maps) </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit of showing “revealed” vs. “explicit” patterns </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Rational Positioning
  24. 24. Qualitative Approach: Positioning Story <ul><li>Evokes a “positioning story” for client’s offering </li></ul><ul><li>Commonly employed in the U.S., at least within the healthcare/pharmaceutical and related markets </li></ul><ul><li>Usually conducted as primary research with customers and, possibly, other stakeholders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually done through individual interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May build on internal marketing team judgment and/or the outcomes from prior market research </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Rational Positioning
  25. 25. <ul><li>“” </li></ul><ul><li>Positioning Headline (catchphrase, theme) such as “the longest lasting battery” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Often considered the “positioning” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The meaning or definition of the situation marketer seeks to drive into the minds of prospective customers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Idea, not “copy” (avoid hyperbole, “Madison Avenue” speak) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Supports (reasons to believe) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can be features (“something in it that fizzles”), data, charts, technical or scientific rationale </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build the case, make Headline credible and compelling </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May or may not be referenced in marketing communications </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Key benefit(s) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not just features </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What it means for the decision maker, end user, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ So what?” (e.g., ““Your electronic devices will run for longer than they would with any other battery” or “you won’t unexpectedly run out of power.” </li></ul></ul></ul>Typical Exercise © 2009 Roger A. Straus, <ul><li>BASIC POSITIONING TEMPLATE </li></ul><ul><li>Product X is the _________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>___________ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>___________ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>___________ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So that: </li></ul><ul><li>_________________ </li></ul>Rational Positioning
  26. 26. Typical Process <ul><li>Enlist subject as “consultant” </li></ul><ul><li>Show several prepared headline options, get subject to choose (or do at end) </li></ul><ul><li>Then show deck of possible supports, get subject to choose up to 3 or 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Now show benefits statements, get subject to select 1-2 </li></ul><ul><li>Variations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Show full deck of messages, subject sort into categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show “blocks” with all 3 elements let subjects choose (also adaptable for quantitative testing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If no team consensus can work backward – start with supports and benefits, then have subject choose headline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can also do in groups or minigroups </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Rational Positioning
  27. 27. Most Positioning Work Stops Here <ul><li>Marketers go on to work with internal units or outside agencies to construct ads, other promotional communications embodying positioning </li></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus, Rational Positioning
  28. 28. © 2009 Roger A. Straus
  29. 29. “ Rational” = Tip Of The Iceberg <ul><li>Offerings are positioned not only rationally but emotionally as well </li></ul><ul><li>For one thing, brands, products, companies, etc. conjure up non-rational responses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some physical (“gut feelings,” tensions, and so forth) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some that are better described as “pure affect” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotion is a combination of both </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning
  30. 30. Three Iconic Brands… <ul><li>Our responses are due to their affective positioning…. </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning
  31. 31. Twofold Objective… <ul><li>“ Program” market to associate offering with feelings that fit the overall brand strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Literally make brand “feel” more desirable, more like the ideal offering than do competitors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Below the belt” or “gut positioning” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get customer to feel about your offering in a way that channels their behavior as you desire in a way that seems “only natural,” spontaneous or automatic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In other words, define an emotional “meaning” for brand or offering (“feeling rules” to be technical) </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning
  32. 32. How? <ul><li>Less well-defined or developed than rational positioning </li></ul><ul><li>I have developed proprietary feelings-based positioning methodologies for two major healthcare consultancies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TVG, Inc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adelphi Research by Design </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning
  33. 33. Step One: Affect Profiling <ul><li>Personification </li></ul><ul><li>Which of these feels most like X? Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Collaging, color association, emotions scales, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Can use more than one technique to maximize insight </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, If you were at a party and X walks into the room, what actor or actress/animal/thing would it be? Affective Positioning
  34. 34. Step Two: Proactive Positioning ©2009 Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning
  35. 35. Step Two: Socio-Cognitive Approach <ul><li>Get affective profiling for competitors, idealized or next-generation offering, other comparators </li></ul><ul><li>Determine how best to shift current Affect Profile or create Affective Positioning Strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Differentiate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it feel more like the Ideal </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, KEY PRINCIPLE: Nothing can be understood until difference and distinctions are invoked Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature Affective Positioning
  36. 36. Straus Approach: Triangulation <ul><li>Make it feel more like the ideal than competition, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which aspects to highlight or strengthen (any current positives) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feelings that would make it seem more like the ideal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feelings to mute or downplay (any negatives, positives where competition is stronger) </li></ul></ul>© Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning X IDEAL Y
  37. 37. Triangulation… <ul><li>With this in mind, can adapt virtually any projective technique or emotional/feelings scales </li></ul><ul><li>Identify where to “place” the product in this hypothetical emotional space in order to make it feel more like the ideal than does the competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which aspects to highlight or strengthen (any current positives, any feelings that would make it seem more like the ideal) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which to mute or downplay (any negatives, or areas where the competition is stronger) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategies and tactics to create the desired feeling states in association with offering </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Affective Positioning X IDEAL Y
  38. 38. © 2009 Roger A. Straus,
  39. 39. How customer relates to offering <ul><li>Least developed dimension </li></ul><ul><li>What is their relationship with it? </li></ul><ul><li>How are customer and offering connected? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the relevance of the offering for customer? </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Relational Positioning
  40. 40. <ul><li>I’m a sociologist…. </li></ul><ul><li>Insight into how customer relates to offering </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived or imputed relationship can channel behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Also affects feelings, emotions </li></ul></ul>Why social dimension? ©2009 Roger A. Straus, Relational Positioning What do you want offering to be like for market?
  41. 41. Illustratory Methods <ul><li>Key: metaphors for relationship </li></ul><ul><li>“ Guided daydreaming” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Imaginary screen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offering walks on screen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fill in details of character’s life, likes, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What would relationship be like with subject? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Icons game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create avatar for offering, probe relationship , choose smiley, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place icons on “stage” probe relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probe whys, meanings </li></ul></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus, Self X Competitor Ideal Relational Positioning
  42. 42. Example of output <ul><li>Working on novel anti-coagulant drug </li></ul><ul><li>Late-middle-aged orthopedist envisions gorgeous, intelligent young woman in a bikini, perfectly poised in a canoe, paddling flawlessly, effortlessly gliding across the water </li></ul><ul><li>Really telling me he would abandon his “old reliable” drug for the new product, which he viewed as almost perfect, something he’d “marry.” </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, “ She’s my second wife – oh, um, I didn’t mean it like that, I’m happily married to my first wife… I don’t know why I said that.” Relational Positioning
  43. 43. Benefits <ul><li>By getting at imagined relationship, analyst can provide further direction regarding how to position the brand or product or company in relation to the customer. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mine” what subject comes up with to provide insight </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual and verbal metaphors to employ in promotional communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kinds of words, images, layouts and so forth that would help to foster the optimal (imagined or felt) relationship with that offering to differentiate it from the competition, it seem more like the ideal. </li></ul></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Relational Positioning
  44. 44. © 2009 Roger A. Straus,
  45. 45. Positioning 3 <ul><li>New, expanded complementary approach to product, brand and company positioning </li></ul>© 2009 Roger A. Straus, Wrap Up Rational Affective Relational
  46. 46. Positioning 3 <ul><li>Elicit offering’s current or “natural” positioning in each of these dimensions and its optimal positioning in each </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate best 3-dimensional approach to defining the meaning of the client’s offering in the minds of prospective customers, decision makers and end-users </li></ul><ul><li>Benefit: we can do a much more effective job of defining the situation with regard to brands, products and companies so as to help channel market behavior </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus, Wrap Up
  47. 47. <ul><li>For a copy of presentation /text version, or for more information contact: </li></ul><ul><li>Roger A. Straus, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing Research and Consulting </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>503-974-9922 </li></ul>©2009 Roger A. Straus,