Brands are emotional assets linked mainly to feelings. They are unique and strong impressions that can generate a personal attachment to them.

Products form the rational basis, the synthesis of a promise in a tangible through which the brand generates an experience in direct contact with people. A product without a brand is just that, a product; with a brand, it becomes something with unique value. Simply put, Coca-Cola’s market capitalization is 193 billion dollars, without a brand it would be only 70 billion dollars. The difference is very clear.

The brand is responsible for giving the products a meaning, which must be based on an appropriate positioning strategy… branding.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is the cornerstone that gives meaning to everything that revolves around it, defining its raison d’être, its values, its attributes, its differentiating elements, its purpose. It is essential to build it from a fully strategic perspective, perfectly aligned with the business strategy, ensuring that it complies with the principles of relevance, credibility, reach, sustainability, differentiation, and focus. For this reason, any decision on the products covered by the trademark must always be taken from the point of view of the trademark itself. The brand is something that is built to last over time, products are subject to life cycles, more or less long based on multiple factors.

It often happens that many brands are born from new products and that leads them to have a fantastic product strategy, but forget about brand building.

Product positioning

Product positioning is governed by other principles and obeys the strategy of how we are going to market it, taking market and audience segmentation as a starting point. Depending on how it is segmented, it may be a simple process or require a more in-depth methodology. Its scope can be as detailed and fragmented as necessary following demographic, psychographic, geographic, market size, accessibility, habits and customs, etc. criteria. But they will by no means create a brand on their own. The brand is something that must be built before, although this before is from having identified some concrete possibilities for a certain product.

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Brand repositioning

But it turns out that the world is constantly changing and, as a result, positioning must be reviewed periodically to ensure that it responds to each new market reality. Repositioning a brand aims to change people’s perception of it. It often involves a change in your promise and personality, which could be reflected in a restyling of your identity, if necessary. The reasons that lead to repositioning can be derived from the brand itself (confusion, age…), reasons related to the business or product (strategic or technological changes…), or reasons derived from the market (new competitors, new markets…). The method for repositioning a brand coincides with that of its positioning, but it is much more complex because it also has to get customers to “unlearn” and then relearn. Brand repositioning can even allow companies to rescue products that were shelved in the development phase.

Product repositioning

Circumstances such as market evolution are directly linked to the product life cycle. The marketing departments are directing all kinds of strategies to ensure that these products enter their maturity and decline in the shortest possible period. Product repositioning based on range extensions or extensions are usually welcomed by customers. But these are tactics that only prolong the end of the story. The real problem is that many products have not been built around the brand, with a truly differential and active positioning, with the ability to keep surprising people from the brand.

Best Practice

Red Bull is a magnificent example of how a brand born around an innovative product (at the time) transcends the product itself and becomes a market reference. With a very clear positioning, expressed through its “Red Bull gives you wings”, it has managed to become the reference for all those activities that lead to living life to the limit. None of its competitors has managed to overshadow it. The key: Red Bull has become a culture.

Brand positioning or repositioning, especially for the most innovative products, is directly linked to concepts derived from culture, both corporate or brand culture and social culture. But I will leave this chapter for later.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock