Brand Positioning & Brand Strategy in Singapore



Ever wondered why big companies such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Huawei, or Singapore Airlines have impeccable brand recall indexes?

When shopping, customers assess products from different brands and make decisions based on the traits and associations that come with them. Indeed, the competition is not backing down. What you should know is that it’s the brand positioning that boosts the demand for a brand’s product over what the competition is offering.

Brand positioning is the aspect that enables your business to grow and thrive. If done wrong, it’s the reason why your brand breaks its back, given the enormous weight compressed on it by competitors. To succeed, I’d suggest that you create a positioning strategy that resonates with the cravings of your target audience.

What Is a Brand?

A brand is simply the perceived outlook of a product/service that you offer. Branding is the steps and tactics that you use to create that outlook.

As a process, it’s the procedure of giving meaning to your product or services. It entails creating and angling a brand in the mind of a consumer. Branding is a strategy that organisations use to help individuals to identify, choose, and prefer their products over those of a competitor even when the difference is negligible.

The primary objective is to appeal to and retain customers through the delivery of a product that is aligned with the consistent brand promise.

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Essentials for Strong Company Branding

There are a tad too many stories about branding and brand strategy. In fact, what and how can be puzzling. To grow a company into a brand isn’t child play. The following will help in keeping the bigger picture clearer.

  • Define company purpose

A company’s purpose explains why it was established. Its core activities and how it functions contribute to its purpose. You need to zero in on what makes the business unique, and what makes the offering special. As soon as you know why customers should choose your brand over others, it will be a step closer to strengthening the entire brand.

  • Be consistent with brand messaging

Today, the marketplace is overflowing with communication channels. The secret is to stay consistent across the channels you appoint. If the brand message is consistent across the channels, customers form a brand perception quickly. It’s the same consistency that makes it easy for customers to have your brand as a top of mind phenomena.

  • Connect emotionally

Brands that ignore the emotional aspect face a dearth in their branding campaign. You don’t want that. An emotional cue is more potent than any physical attribute in the product. If you envision better engagement and memorability, go for the emotional connection first.

  • Stay flexible

Consistency is something we cannot contest. However, in your quest to build a strong brand, you’ll need to be flexible. The trends and needs keep oscillating. If your strategy is rigid, you’ll be forced to go back to the drawing board once a new trend kicks in. You’ll succeed if you adapt to short term goals that shift with evolving consumer preferences.

  • Build loyalty programs

Successful brands boast a considerable following of loyal customers. They are evidence of stealer performance over time. It takes long to foster and create loyalty. Since you know the potential and significant contributions of these loyal customers, it’s prudent that you reward them. It’s not negotiable.

Involve your employees

Your personnel isn’t just paid workers. They make up a central cog that drives your branding journey. Your branding efforts will pay up if you stop making it a preserve for the marketing department. Get everybody on board and make them feel appreciated in the process. Employees who internalise that sense of belonging will gradually become brand ambassadors at no cost.

What Is a Brand Strategy?

Brand strategy is a continuing plan that guides the establishment of a brand to achieve highlighted goals. A perfectly designed brand strategy has an overriding impact on all business aspects. It has a connection to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive settings.

If you’re developing a brand strategy, you need to start with your business goals. You need to assess what you expect to achieve with the brand you intend to launch. Don’t ignore the long-term objectives since they are the foothold of your strategic branding campaign.

Why Does Your Business Need a Brand Strategy?

Do you see the rationale in crafting a brand strategy? Your business cannot afford to be left behind. Remember, you cannot adventure into new territory without a map. It’s the same way your company cannot foray into a competitive landscape without a defined strategy. Some reasons to build a brand strategy include:

  • It helps you to standout
  • It helps you create an influential brand culture
  • It informs decision-making
  • It bolsters consistency
  • It simplifies marketing

What Is Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning is the technique used to place your brand in the minds of potential customers. Brand positioning isn’t a tagline or a fancy logo affair. It’s the science of setting your business apart from the competition.

Brand positioning revolves around space your brand occupies in the minds of your customers. It leads customers to view your brand with unique eyes. As such, customers associate feelings, emotions, traits, or sentiments with the brand. It’s the association that makes it stand out.

Brand positioning has to answer questions such as:

  • Is it distinctive/perfect compared to the competition?
  • Does it offer significant value to the niche market?
  • Is it aligned to major geographic markets and industries?
  • Is the proposition authenticated with unique, suitable, and genuine products?
  • Is it viable enough to be distributed continuously across all customer interaction points?
  • Does it help a business to attain its financial goals?
  • Is it able to support and boost up the organisation?

Brand Positioning in the Consumer’s Mind

You’ll need to know what extent and place your company occupies consumers’ mind. It’s crucial to have strategies that embolden your brand image.

You need to note that your company’s values are associated with the brand image. After you streamline company culture, you must relay the same to the public. This should be packaged in the best and most transparent way.

When creating your brand positioning strategy, you’ll need to establish a positive connection to the product or service. This doesn’t happen through tangible methods. Instead, it’s intangible things such as wellness, contentment, or satisfaction that build this connection.

Brands that attract new customers and foster loyalty have a stellar prominence and differentiation record. They have mastered the art of targeting smaller, more qualified lead clusters. Such companies create strategies that lead to strong customer relationships.

With predefined aspects, it’s easy to create successful brand positioning. Consider anchoring it on a brand that has a personality. Such a personality needs to be reinforced before the public eye. As such, the consistency will fixate the brand image in the customer’s mind almost instantly.

Types of Brand Positioning

If you craft the perfect positioning strategy, your branding efforts will build an indelible impression in your customer’s minds. This is how customers start to engage with you on a personal, emotional, and conscious level. How do you position your brand strategically? Here is how:

  • Value-based positioning

Value-based positioning is based on product quality. The premise is that the more expensive a product is, the more intrinsic value it offers. In the consumer’s mind, the product is perceived as expensive and the best remedy to their pain. Remember, value positioning requires you to demonstrate product value before you can sell it.

  • Quality-based positioning

Quality-based positioning is a tough proposition. It’s possible to incorporate it with other positioning tactics to make it easier. In this model, you focus on one area and leverage that as branding to amplify quality positioning.

  • Competitor-based positioning

With unbridled competition, its high time you leverage competitor-based positioning to show how your brand is superior to your competitor’s. Companies in different niches establish superiority by comparing their products or services against those of their rivals. It uses an indirect reference to describe competitor products as inferior.

  • Benefit positioning

Product benefits and attributes are the main ingredients of a longstanding benefits positioning model. This tactic highlights product strengths and asserts that they cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

  • Problem and solution positioning

If you can position your products/services as the go-to solution for your customers, you’re playing the problem and solution positioning game. This tactic demonstrates that a particular brand can solve customer problems in the shortest time possible. Banks use this strategy all the time.

  • Price positioning

Price significantly plays a role in bolstering the success of a given brand. Those expensive brands that position themselves this way appeal to a cluster that can afford them. The bulk of customers who cannot afford these products are easy to capture if price positioning is the model you’ll choose.

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Reasons Why Brand Positioning Is Important

Brand positioning is vital in every marketing strategy.  It makes it easy to steer marketing by explaining the uniqueness and the compelling reasons why the specific brands superior. Here are the reasons why brand positioning is more than essential.

  • It creates market differentiation

Truth be told, the globe is overly crowded with gadgets. However, if your organisation comes up with one that uniquely fulfils, solves, and provides a desirable experience, then, brand positioning will ultimately help you to articulate your unique differences and stand out.

  • Breaks through the noise

With clarity, your brand’s position enables you to communicate and reach your audience overtly. There are terabytes of messages emanating from all corners. The competition for your attention and time is numbing. Brand positioning help to cut through the noise by addressing the people you want to attract.

  • It encourages people to buy from you

Consumers love quick buying decisions. They want to breeze through instead of wasting time thinking about what to purchase and who to buy from. Brand positioning triggers an emotional avalanche that sends your targets to your products. If this happens in the shortest time possible, the chances are that more people will buy from you.

  • Enables you to compete value-wise

Your brand can be consumed by the masses or a niche client base. With brand positioning, you convey value. This value is what meets customer needs. You can use positioning to show how and why competitor options are inferior. It’s positioning that leads you away from ambiguity.

  • It justifies pricing strategies

Even if you offer exceptional value, you still need to justify your prices. Brand positioning will inform you whether you’re pricing is strategic compared to that of a competitor. Positioning tells you whether you’ve priced it high, low, and whether your customers will respond as expected.

Examples of Brand Positioning Strategy

Here are the different types of brand positioning that marketers should take into account:

  • Competitor obliteration

This positioning strategy entails finding out a niche market leader and working towards defeating them. It requires an already established market niche without a formidable leader that beats competitors hands down.

  • Sub-segment focus

This strategy is straightforward. You need to specify a given market segment and channel your brand energy into positioning it accordingly. Look at it as a market with a section whose needs are unmet. You can zero in on such a segment and work your brand up.

  • Redesign an appealing market

The strategy here is to review an existing market and come up with branding that gives it a whole new meaning. Redefining it is what gives you an edge. The secret is to create unique benefits and features of existing products. Revitalising products and services can offer more than what your competitor offers.

The most convenient time to leverage this technique is when your product is top-notched to showcase new solutions and product advancement. Remember, you need to make your offering so unique and challenging for competitors to duplicate similar solutions.

  • Create from scratch

There are some voids and vacuums in different niches. This is where marketing gurus need to leverage the “first come” brand positioning. It’s about becoming a pioneer in a market with new needs and gaps. You have a head start since nobody has exploited the market before. Capitalising on this chance makes you a market leader. Also, you need to ensure uniqueness and secure patents to deter others from duplicating your idea.

Characteristics of a Good Brand Positioning Strategy

  • Relevant

Your positioning strategy needs to resonate with the needs and expectations of the customer. If a prospect finds it irrelevant in the process, they’re likely to abandon the purchase altogether.

  • Clear

The positioning message you compile needs to be easy and clear. You need to use words that enrich the product claim. Choose the words that help to visualise a given product, making it easy to position above your competitor’s product.

  • Unique

Leveraging robust brand positioning facilitates product positioning in a consumer’s mind. If it’s not differentiated and unique, it’s likely to be useless.

  • Desirable

Since it should be unique, the feature should be desirable as well. It must become a critical factor that a customer can evaluate to inform the buying decision.

  • Identifiable feature

The unique positioning feature should be distinguishable by the customer. Positioning need not be complicated and it should use an easy to understand language.

  • Validated by the customer

Trust me; your positioning strategy won’t succeed if customers won’t validate it. Your customers are the people who decide whether your brand will stand out. Always craft your plan using the customer’s point of view.

How to Create a Strong Brand Positioning Strategy

Do you know the most important questions to ask before you create your positioning strategy? Well, here they are:

  • What is my customer looking for?

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Possible leads won’t end up being your customers. You need to categorise who is my customer and who is not. This makes it easy for you to identify what your customers want. Don’t use second-hand data when classifying. Always go out in the customer’s shoes. It’s how you’ll know what they exactly want. From here, you can fit your product into what they want. They’ll buy it instantly.

  • Can I meet the promise to deliver better or differently?

Here, you’ll definitely need to do it better or differently. The market is awash with competition. Consider creativity to bolster brand recall.

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  • Are they willing to buy into my promise?

Why not? You only need to give them a reason. The one thing you should avoid is to trick them. Take time to know your product or service characteristics. Blend them with the logic that customers consider when purchasing. It can be the fragrance, shape, taste, flavour or cost. See how you can offer it better than the competition. Remember, to make the essential characteristics stand out.

Proven Steps for Creating a Brand Positioning Strategy

Building your brand positioning strategy entails elaborate scrutiny of your brand and weighing up what you do better than your competitors. If you follow the steps below, you can create a plan that is unique to your company.

  1. Interrogate your current brand positioning

Could you be marketing your products like another generic offer on the market? Or, are you marketing it like a distinguishable offering with a flair? The current brand position is what gives you the roadmap to follow. Consider who the target audience is and identify your values. Also, check your brand personality and voice before you proceed.

  1. Determine your competition

After you analyse your brand, check what your competitors are doing. Competitor analysis helps you to see who you’re up against. The findings will inform you of what you need to gain more edge. You can carry out competitor analysis through market research, customer feedback, or social media interaction.

  1. Conduct competitor research

This is deeper than competitor analysis. You want to know how the competition is positioning their brand to beat yours. You need to query the competitor’s offering, their strengths, weaknesses, and the strategies they employ. Also, check their current position in the market and strategise from there.

  1. Check what makes your brand unique

To build a formidable brand, you’ll need to establish what makes you different. Analyse whether you are a compelling brand and create a brand image based on that premise.

  1. Create a positioning statement

From whatever you’ll have learned from the above, you’ll need to come up with a positioning statement. Make sure it touches on critical areas, including your target audience, your product category, product benefits, and proof of promise.

The Brand Positioning Statement

What makes customers prefer your brand over another that is marketing as aggressively as you? Is it your value proposition, core business culture, or what you can provide? The answer lies in the brand positioning statement that you put forward.

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For instance, you know too well that your marketing plan may fail if you have a shaky brand positioning statement. This statement explains how your product/service offering fits a specified audience or market. It stipulates how your organisation does it better than your rivals.

Did you know that marketers and brand executives often come up with defective positioning statements? Don’t be part of the statistics. Before you create one, take time to know how the public thinks of your brand.

What Is a Positioning Statement?

A brand positioning statement is a brief and clear-cut description that summarises your brand. It captures:

  • Your brand’s promise
  • Your niche or market
  • Your customer clusters and their pain points
  • High profile description of benefits
  • Who you are and what your brand stands for

Writing the Brand Positioning Statement

The positioning statement is viewed as an internal tool. It needs to be short and to the point. The statement should touch on:

  • The category or vertical you specialise in

Though your niche is visible, you should consider the sub-sections therein. You need to highlight the specific field of operation to underpin your focus.

  • The target audience

Your brand can have more than one audience. By focusing on the primary target, you’ll compile a more explicit message. Always calculate your most valuable customers before you write.

  • The benefit to the customer

This shouldn’t reflect the fanciest bells and whistles, but it should be the actual benefit that your customers will derive from choosing your brand.

  • Why the brand will deliver on this promise

A brand isn’t necessarily a brick and mortar establishment. Whatever it is, you need to back your claims

  • Check the impact

After implementing your statement, come back and assess whether it’s driving the kind of results you anticipated. You can use social intelligence to “eavesdrop” on what customers are saying and the language they use when talking about your brand.

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Brand positioning on social media

Can you afford to ignore social media in your brand positioning efforts? I don’t think so. Tossing social media platforms in the process can jeopardise brand recognition and loyalty. Here’s how you can leverage social media for better brand positioning:

  • Focus on social media platforms where your targets hang

If this isn’t common knowledge, then you’ll need a refresher course. You need to choose a platform where your product is highly identifiable and relevant to a large number of prospects. Make it relevant and remember the demographics. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great if you’re targeting young adults. Choose LinkedIn if you are after a professional network.

  • Promote social media accounts you manage

A substantial social media presence is what you yearn for. You need to post regularly and consistently. Establishing a formidable recall on one platform is quite involving. Since you want to employ different platforms, ensure they are accounts you personally manage. Don’t start on too many platforms; you’re likely to get lost in the noise.

  • Provide value and content

Social media account followers want to derive value from brands. They are looking for useful, relevant, and informative content. When you know what’s valuable and valuable to your followers, not only will they appreciate it, but they will share it with others. That’s quite a boost for your branding, awareness, positioning, and engagement goals.

  • Work with target market expectations

Your brand must know the whims of your audience across your appointed platforms. Check the language that your customers use and prefer. Leverage the buzzwords that resonate with your younger adult demographics. Be conversant with the trendy hashtags or taglines they use when talking about your kind of products and services. In all, make sure you respond to comments and feedback in good time.

Criteria for Evaluating Your Brand Positioning Strategy

Tools such as smart and well-crafted positioning statement can do your marketing a lot of good. It promotes your advertising and promotional strategies. With the right positioning strategy, you’ll attract the right target and claim a more significant market share. Here are some criteria for appraising your positioning strategy.

  • Does it distinguish your brand?
  • Does it align with the customer’s judgment of your brand?
  • Does it prop your brand’s exceptional value to customers?
  • Does it project a better picture in mind that’s compared to that of your competitors?
  • Is it memorable, impressive, and motivating?
  • Is it consistent on a business-wide scale?
  • Is it easy to understand?
  • Is it easy to duplicate?
  • Is it angled for long-term success?
  • Is the brand promise believable and trustworthy?
  • Can you own it?
  • Can it endure a competitor’s counter-offensives?
  • Will it bolster your marketing efforts and branding decisions?

How to Choose and Work with Brand Consultants

You know how creating a brand can take a toll on you and your resources. They’re just too many pieces to sew together. You need to create your brand logo, incorporate it with comprehensive marketing, blend in a strong branding strategy, and infuse that with a personality that compels customers to come to you. Isn’t that complicated?

Ask successful brands, and they’ll tell you they needed a brand consultant’s insight to break even. Many firms have claimed massive market shares by following the advice of these experts.

What is a Brand Consultant?

A brand consultant provides market analysis, branding solutions, and marketing expertise to businesses in different niches.

They assess your brand to see how well it stacks against the competition. They leverage market analysis to turn the most dormant enterprises into powerhouses. A brand consultant channels his/her energies towards business branding to achieve goals in a structured manner. They’re masters of trial and error, and they are creative, visionary, and process-oriented.

What to Expect From a Brand Consultancy

The brand consultants who work in a team can be defined as a brand consultancy. They have a basketful of things they can do for your business. They’ll help you to find a voice, identify your audience, and craft your short and long term branding strategies. Other duties include:

  • Helping you to create  unique brand recognition  elements
  • Defining your brand personality and how you build awareness through marketing messages
  • Conducting market research, competitor analysis and determining the best audience fit
  • Designing an action plan for your brand awareness, engagement, and recognition purposes.
  • Adapting your template to align with future business needs

Your brand needs often determine the kind of features to look for in a brand consultancy. If you know what they offer, it makes the selection easier for you. Here are standard services provided by brand consultancy firms:

  • Website auditing

A website audit refers to the comprehensive analysis of your online presence. It helps you to know whether you’re making the right impressions on your prospects only. Brand consultants assist you to laser focus your messaging and user experience.

  • Market analysis

Brand consultants conduct market analysis for numerous reasons. They examine your industry and your position to help you understand the opportunities you need to prioritise on. The consultant considers your competition, partners, and customers to verify how your brand performs. Also, they assess your persona, marketing strategies, and social media management to help you inch closer to your goals.

  • Research and guidance

A brand consultant does more than just tweak your website. These experts are dedicated to expanding your brand horizons. They point out the areas that need adjusting for brand growth. They advise you on switching your marketing strategy or rebranding if it’s your best way out.

  • Content and messaging

If you’re struggling to pick the right tone for your messaging and voice, a brand consultant will sort you out. These experts can select the best content that resonates with your audiences’ needs and pain points.

  • Visual identity

Brand consultancy is what helps you to develop visual and audio identity. A consultant can help you to pick the right color palette for your startup or rebranding needs. They are experts when it comes to choosing sophisticated or trendy branding themes that resonate well with your target audience.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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