Key Difference – Product Positioning vs Brand Positioning
The key difference between product positioning and brand positioning is that product positioning is the process used to determine how to communicate product attributes to the target customers based on customer needs whereas brand positioning refers to the rank the company’s brand possess in relation to the competition in customers’ mind. Both product positioning and brand positioning are focused on acquiring a space in the mind of the customer, which is very important due to many substitutes available in the market. How successfully the company can position itself directly affects profitability and long-term survival of the business.
What is Product Positioning?
Product positioning is the process used to determine how to best communicate product attributes to the target customers based on customer needs, competitor products and how the company wants its products to be perceived by the customers. Product positioning is very important for large scale companies who offer many products in the same category. This assists such companies to cater to different needs in their target market by providing a wide variety of choices and minimizing market cannibalization (products of the same company competing against each other to acquire customers).
E.g. The Coca Cola Company offers a number of products under the soft drinks category, and each product is different in terms of logo, taste and the target customers.
- Coca cola – this is the main corporate product of the company and uses mass marketing techniques (high volume of sales) and targets young customers
- Minute maid – Minute maid is targeted for the health conscious customers who wish to consume a drink with natural energy
- Thumbs up- Coca cola relates this soft drink with energetic and adventurous customers who love risk taking
Product positioning ensures that customers stay loyal to company’s products since the product portfolio fills all the need gaps in the market by offering a variety of products and leave little room for competitor products.
What is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning refers to the rank the company’s brand possess in relation to the competition in customers’ mind. The main purpose of brand positioning is to create a unique impression of the brand in the customer’s mind that makes them desirable to identify, and prefer it over competition and consume the brand.
Before going further into this discussion, let us see the difference between branding and positioning. The exercise of branding is focused on differentiating the brand through the brand logo, attributes and essence whereas positioning is a marketing strategy exercised to acquire a space in the mind of the customer. In order to position the brand, the company should first decide the target group of customers who are willing to consume their brand; this will help to conclude where the market that the brand should ‘fit’ in. This is referred to as the ‘brand positioning strategy’ and indicates how the company desires the customers to perceive their brand.
This can be understood via a brand positioning map which shows consumer perceptions of the company’s brand versus competing brands on attributes that are important to the customer. The purpose of a positioning strategy is that it allows a company to highlight specific areas where they can outshine the competition. Thus, in order to decide on their own position, companies must have a distinct idea of the positioning of their competitor brands as well.
E.g. the following diagram shows a positioning map of the car brands where the car brands is divided into 4 main categories as,
- Classy and conservative
- Classy and sporty
- Practical and conservative
- Practical and sporty
Brand positioning is of utmost importance with regard to what the company stands for. Thus, the way the company positions the brand and communicate it to the customer should be precise and not confusing. Further, once the brand is positioned, it is important to maintain the same without tarnishing the brand name. For instance, in the above map, Audi is positioned as an expensive and classy brand. If Audi decides to launch a low-priced series, this will give a mixed brand image and brand value and the reputation will suffer as a result.
What is the difference between Product Positioning and Brand Positioning?
Product Positioning vs Brand Positioning
|Product positioning is the process used to determine how to best communicate product attributes to the target customers based on customer needs.||Brand positioning refers to the rank in customers’ mind the company’s brand possess in relation to the competition.|
|Product positioning is based on competitive differentiation.||Brand positioning is based on emotional experience.|
|The focus of product positioning is to fill all the need gaps of the customer base.||Brand positioning is focused on catering to specific customer needs.|
|The success of product positioning can be measured by market share.||The success of brand positioning is largely intangible in nature.|
Summary – Product Positioning vs Brand Positioning
The difference between product positioning and brand positioning mainly depends on whether the company focuses on managing and promoting the company’s product portfolio (product positioning) or attempt to build the company brand name (brand positioning). There may be many products under a single brand name, and each will have to be managed differently. In the process of this, the company should ensure that clear and consistent brand image is communicated to customers at all times.
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