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4 Steps to an Unbeatable Brand Positioning Strategy — 

To embody your brand's elements and develop a powerful brand positioning strategy, we apply a disciplined approach to the following four steps:

Step 1: Find your True Differentiators

Differentiation is clearly important, as an undifferentiated company or product is simply a commodity that competes only on price. Companies should seek those aspects of their business, culture or character that set them apart, either by creating a preference or commanding a premium. Airlines, for example, are all essentially selling the same service, yet Southwest has created a preference by offering low cost, convenient flights whereas Emirates, on the other hand, commands a premium price by offering a five-star experience in the sky. Both airlines sustain their differentiation through a multitude of features, character traits, and strategic decisions over time.

Step 2: Ensure and Maintain Relevance

Differentiation alone is not enough; you must be differentiated in a way that’s compelling to your audiences and their unfulfilled desires. So, selling fine wine in plastic bottles might be differentiating, but not necessarily relevant or compelling to wine connoisseurs. Conversely, Miller Beer found that beer drinkers often felt full early in their drinking, leading the company to position Miller Lite as “everything you’ve always wanted in a great beer, and less” – a strategy that enabled it to quickly become the 2nd largest-selling beer in the U.S.

Step 3: Deliver Coherently

Your positioning strategy is not just a slogan; it’s how you create and deliver your product or service and address and engage your audiences. These outputs will take on different forms and flavors, but if informed by a clear positioning strategy, they should hang together coherently. Once you’ve made a decision to differentiate in relevant ways, you need to plan and coordinate how that unique value will be delivered. BMW’s position as the “ultimate driving machine” is essentially a claim to superior engineering, resulting in a superior experience. To succeed in defending this position, they needed to do more than create great cars. They also had to show up in places where driving is celebrated and symbolizes value and status.

Step 4: Continuously Earn Your Reputation

A successful brand positioning strategy requires commitment, investment, and repetition in order to set and fulfill expectations over and over again. Case in point: Starbucks worked hard and invested heavily to become the world’s largest and favorite coffeehouse; it didn’t happen overnight. Similarly, both Nike and Adidas tried to own a very similar position but Nike invested many decades of heavy advertising and product innovation to own the idea of athletic spirit and victory.

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