It’s a well-known fact that marketing managers have a lot on their plates. So, we understand why the thought of adding brand tracking to their current workload might be cause for a collective sigh of frustration…
But hear us out — while brand monitoring might feel like just another bullet point on your daily to-do list, it’s one where the benefits far outweigh the costs.
One such advantage of brand tracking? Discovering and examining your brand’s current position within your market — which will allow you to see how you stack up against the competition.
Another common issue many brand managers struggle with is showing how their work is making a positive impact. Supervisors or CEOs might expect to see concrete results — which, traditionally, have been difficult to provide. But with brand tracking software, thankfully, that won’t be a problem anymore, as you’ll gain an accurate view of how your brand is currently performing.
Plus, you’ll be able to shed light on your brand’s positioning by getting answers to questions like: Where are you currently positioned in your market? How do you compare to all your competitors? Ultimately, who is outperforming other brands?
Answering questions such as these to identify your brand positioning should provide you with all the information you need to make more informed marketing decisions.
So, without further adieu, let’s dig into what brand positioning is and why it’s so important. Plus, we’ll provide tips on how to evaluate your current brand position.
What is Brand Tracking?
Before we jump straight into brand positioning, let’s first answer the question: what is brand tracking?
Put simply, brand tracking is the act of routinely monitoring the overall health of your brand via important KPIs, like brand awareness, consideration, preference, usage, and association.
Normally, brand managers use brand tracking software, as it makes the entire process a whole lot easier. With the help of a great tool, you can keep track of your brand’s performance and see how target audiences are responding to your brand image, messaging, and positioning.
And with this data, you can make more informed brand marketing decisions. Nice.
What’s So Important About Brand Positioning?
Now that we all understand why brand tracking is important, let’s discuss brand positioning. What is it, and why does it matter?
Brand positioning is important because it’s what allows you to distinguish yourself from the competition — essentially, it allows you to find your brand’s ideal role in your market.
Phillip Kotler explains it well, saying that brand positioning is “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.”
If you want your target audience to choose you over the competition, you have to position your brand as products and services that are better, cheaper, or more innovative than your rivals.
That is why brand positioning is so important — it’s how you make a name for yourself in your market.
Identify Your Current Brand Positioning
From brand awareness to usage levels, there’s a great deal of useful data that a brand tracking tool can provide.
However, when it comes to brand positioning, tracking brand associations is the best approach. If you’re not aware of what these are, brand associations are the traits and characteristics that consumers associate with your brand.
But why is this the best approach? Because knowing your brand associations can help you:
Find out your current position. What are the positive associations your target audience has for your brand? And, just as important, what are the negative associations?
See where you stand in relation to your competitors. How are your competitors positioning their brands? Is their positioning different or very similar? If it’s similar and they’re outperforming you, that’s a sign you need to step up your game.
Furthermore, you need to figure out what your customers’ expectations are — what do they want, need, and desire from you? With that information, you can then assess how that matches up with your capabilities.
If there are gaps between expectations and what you’re able to provide, you may need to reassess your positioning.
Mini Case Study: Disruptor Banks in the UK
To further elucidate the concept of brand positioning, let’s take a look at an example.
Using our own brand tracking software, we identified the brand associations for a number of disruptor banks in the UK. According to our overall brand score, Monzo is the top UK disruptor bank.
Here is how Monzo scored for their brand associations:
Surprisingly, these scores are not quite as high as one may expect. While 32% of the general population are aware of the bank, just over a third (36%) of these respondents have positive associations for this brand.
However, it's good to see that Monzo's marketing department is growing and they’re remaining true to their impressive goals. Considering they currently position themselves as "radically transparent", one might expect the association of "trustworthy" to rank much higher.
Going forward, this might be an area that Monzo can work on improving with their target audience.
Let's look at bank number two, Starling Bank:
The scores for Starling Bank and Monzo are quite similar. However, Starling did score higher when it comes to “reliability”. For Starling Bank, this is positioning they should enhance.
Right now, Starling also spends a lot of money on its brand identity as a means of standing apart from the competition and appealing to potential customers. Interestingly enough, "appealing" is third on the list — which isn’t ideal, but also not so far off the others to cause worry.
Let's look at one more bank for fun, Atom Bank:
Atom Bank has topped both Monzo and Starling in terms of “good value”, which is quite an impressive feat. These days, consumers are constantly on the lookout for brands that offer good value for money.
Considering that this brand positions itself as fast, easy, and low-cost, it seems like their current approach is working for them. Nice work, Atom!
Evaluating Your Brand Position
When it comes to evaluating and refining your brand position, there are certain things that you need to consider.
Let’s discuss a few so that you can determine if your current brand positioning is the right choice.
1. Your Target Audience
If you’re going to improve any part of your marketing or brand, the first thing you need to examine is your target audience.
The consumers that make up your target audience should always be in the forefront of your mind — this way, you can ensure you’re doing everything possible to reach them.
As an example, let’s take a look at Lush's target audience:
30 years old or younger
Vegetarian or vegan
Values socially responsible trade
With these demographics in mind, Lush knows exactly how to position their brand within its market and how to communicate effectively with its target audience.
They place emphasis on their sustainability and environmentally conscious approach in almost every aspect of their business — which allows them to meet the expectations of their target audience.
2. Your Industry
The industry that your brand operates in can also have a relatively large impact on your positioning.
If your industry struggles with its image in the public domain, then this means you might be fighting an uphill battle. For example, brands in the gambling industry have a hard time positioning themselves as trustworthy or high-quality, as these traits are not usually associated with gambling.
However, as a brand manager, it’s your job to try to push past any negative stereotypes and make your brand into something consumers would be happy to use.
3. Your Brand’s Benefits
If your brand offers consumers a wide range of benefits, you have a real advantage when it comes to your brand positioning. After all, the general public usually views beneficial brands very positively.
So, when evaluating your brand positioning, ask yourself: What is the main benefit that my brand provides? Has this changed over time?
Keep in mind, your brand will evolve and offer new products and services as it grows. What was once your brand’s top benefit may now be a bit outdated. Therefore, once you identify your current brand benefits, make sure you include them in all of your marketing communications.
4. Your Brand Mission
These days, people need a reason to believe in your brand. And you can give them a good one with your brand mission.
Your brand mission communicates your brand's purpose and objectives, as well as how it plans to serve its audiences. If consumers’ own values align with your brand’s mission statement, they’re far more likely to care about your brand.
Brands that offer value and focus on ensuring their audiences’ needs and wants are met are easy for the public to believe in. And once your brand has obtained this strong belief from consumers, it can translate into a very enviable brand position.
Redefining Your Position
Companies often forget that brand positioning is not static and they’ll need to adjust it as their brand grows and evolves.
In order to do this successfully, it's important to reconsider your brand’s value proposition from time to time. Ask yourself: Is the problem my brand is solving still a problem worth solving?
To answer this question, you can use SEO tools to measure how many searches for your brand occur monthly — and see if you can identify any growing trends. This data will help you ensure your brand value proposition fits well with that consumers are searching for. Remember, you need to meet consumers’ expectations for your brand to succeed.
Let’s look at an example:
Sérgio Tavares, PHD., a Senior Service Designer at Idean, says search engine tools are a large part of his data-driven design approach. He explains: "The design community doesn't always see it, but user data is as customer-centric as one can get".
Recently, Tavares decided to utilize simple campaigns to test the core value proposition of the startup Mazhr, a company that helps users to find jobs they love by analyzing their personality data.
Qualitative interviews led to a hypothesis that people needed reassurance and to find their purpose in their work. However, search engine data told a completely different story: unequivocally, people were NOT searching for a purpose. Instead, they were using different phrasing and were searching for jobs that they could fall in love with.
Tavares stated: "In one week, we had over 15 different value propositions shown to over 10,000 people looking for jobs. That's more statistical relevance than any interview set. We could then narrow down the offering to three core strategic value propositions each company should be active on.”
Venla Tulppala, a Digital Marketing Manager at Mazhr, further explained, saying: "The process helped us to better understand the needs and wants of our potential customers so we could develop our service in the best way possible to serve them. We got the clarity we needed to focus on the right things.”
As we can see, with the use of the right tool, brands are able to evaluate and, if necessary, redefine their brand positioning.
While you can’t completely control your brand positioning, with brand tracking software you should see whether your chosen positioning is having any noticeable impact on your target audiences.
Plus, by tracking this kind of data over an extended period of time, you can correlate said data with your brand campaigns to see if your brand’s positioning is working.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to track your competitors as well!
Want to learn more about brand tracking? We get it. Check out our complete guide to all things brand tracking.
Updated by: Cory Schröder, 02.09.21