Brand strategy is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your target market. The goal of every brand should be to be top of mind in their customers’ heads – that is whenever a customer thinks of your product, your brand should be the first name that pops in their head.
For instance, whenever you think of ordering a cab, the first name that comes to mind is usually Uber, or, if you want a cold, non-alcoholic drink, Coca-Cola comes straight to mind.
The aim is to be the top of the market niche of your brand, the customer needs to specifically identify your brand as distinct from others in the market.
Brand positioning occurs whether or not a company develops a brand strategy, for every market, there is a market leader and less recognized brands. Every company has to craft a brilliant and progressive approach to positively position its brand to grab the attention of its target audience constantly.
Basics of Brand Positioning
The basic four elements of brand positioning are:
Target market: Who are your customers? What is the major demographic constitution of consumers that your brand appeals to?
Market definition: What level is your brand competing for? How is your brand relevant to customers?
Brand promise: What is the most convincing, logical or emotional benefit to your target market that your brand has over your competitors?
Legitimacy: What is the most credible evidence you can present to confirm that your brand would deliver on its promise?
Brand strategy styles
There are four branding styles prevalent in Nigeria, choose the ideal strategy for your brand and implement.
The big bosses battle
This branding style is usually for brands that are in a prominent market category with the market leadership margins within fringes of each other.
Examples of these are Coca-Cola versus Pepsi and Jumia versus Konga.
These two categories of brands are very similar and are constantly competing to gain market share. It is honestly a battle for the big bosses due to the amount of money and time it takes to successfully attempt this strategy.
Big Fish, Smaller Pond
This idea is the basis of most specialist and personalized brands. It is based on the idea of creating a niche within an underserved market, which is basically identifying a sector of an existing market whose needs have not been met by market leaders and positioning your brand as the solution to this market gap.
For instance, there are several platforms that cater to needs of career women and female professionals, however not a lot are youth-focused, which is where She Leads Africa comes in. Fundamentally, this style avoids going head-on with the market leader but focuses on a specific niche.
This brand positioning reframes an existing market in new ways. It gives customers new and innovative benefits that make market leaders and your competitors so irrelevant that your brand becomes the new market leader.
If the needs or expectations of your customers change, you differentiate your brand from competitors by highlighting its distinctiveness or marketing your brand in a revolutionary way.
Take Jameson’s foray into the Nigerian market, for instance, other drink companies brand their product as aspirational lifestyle brands or luxury brands, to be honest, aspirational branding is the de-factor brand strategy for products similar to Jameson.
However, Jameson took the alternative route and branded as an artsy, cool kids brand, which has sporadically fast-tracked its market penetration in Nigeria.
Another example is Wanneka Hair, the hair extension retailer that achieved Instagram fame by using unique brand storytelling, unique content, influencer marketing and several other techniques to achieve market leader status in a saturated market.
This branding strategy will highlight your distinctiveness and help you beat the market leader, however, your strength must be backed by good quality product and service. This style gives a feel of exclusivity, community and a unique experience for its customers.
When there is no other product or service like yours and you are the first of your kind, you have first mover advantage and you get to invent your market. This strategy is for brands that do not fit into any existing market.
Examples of this strategy are Uber and Printivo.
The taxi-hailing app market did not exist before Uber created it, so also a Nigerian online DIY print provider had not been invented before Printivo. The benefit of this strategy is that your brand would be the default market leader because you literally created this market.
However, this strategy can be risky because you might not find the right product-market fit simply because the market does not exist because there is no need for it. There are several brands that flopped in an attempt to fill a need that doesn’t exist, don’t join them.
This strategy comes with several copy-cats, nonetheless, patents and trademarking might help, but if your product can be easily imitated, ensure you get enough head start to gain as much market share as possible.
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