Brand differentiation notes

A brand is what a customer thinks it is, regardless of what you’re trying to tell them it is. Brand positioning at it’s most basic means placing your products where your customer needs them.

Positioning statements should make clear who your (1) target segment is, what your (2) point of difference is, and identify the competitors in a (3) frame of reference.

Ex. Apple Computers (now “Apple”) offers the best (3) personal computing experience to (1) students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its (2) innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

positioningOnce you have positioning defined, you can work on your company messaging, the big picture strategic vision, then developing a product that suits the overall concept of your brand. You must understand the strategic vision and brand positioning desired before you develop your logo, colors, etc.

Point of Parity (POP): Associations that are not unique to a brand, but to an industry.

  • Category POPs: The basic assumptions a consumer has about an industry to be credible. For example, in order for a store to be called a grocery store, it must carry eggs, milk and cheese. Consider what the points of parity are of the industry you are trying to enter.
  • Competitive POPs: Associations designed to negate a competitor’s point of difference. If your competitor does something different with it’s product, and then everyone else does the same thing, it is no longer “different.”

Point of Difference (POD): Strive for a competitive advantage that is sustainable. Easy to maintain, and difficult for competitors to attain.

  • Is your POD relevant to your target segment? (ex. Consumers didn’t care about “clear Cola”)
  • Is your POD distinctive and superior?
  • You must be able to deliver your POD consistently.
  • Is your POD feasibly attainable?
  • Can you communicate your POD? Are there evidence and results?
  • Is your POD sustainable? Difficult to attack, consistent, internal commitment.

An Introduction to Marketing by David Bell, Peter Fader, Barbara E. Kahn. From Wharton and Coursera.


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