How do I determine the positioning of a brand?
I have acquired a new brand recently in the alcohol spirits industry, (whiskey to be exact).
I need to know how could I study the positioning of this brand in my local market to determine it's competitors and the potential.
Do you have any ideas regarding any promotional activities that I could implement on this brand?
Thank you in advance.
Start by looking at the distribution data that should be available as part of the purchase. Specifically look at where the preponderance of sales occur. Is the product being purchased by bars or other outlets. Assume for the moment the purchases are mostly in bars. Now look at the locations. See which is at the greater end of the spectrum. Plot those locations. Look at the demographics of the neighborhoods. Go out to the locations and confirm that the purchasers of the product are from the neighborhood. While you are in the bar talk t o the bartender and ask what kind of folks call for your product. That will give you some idea of the psychographics of your "end users."
Then, if possible meet a few folks that actually drink your product. Ask them why. You may or may not get an answer you can use. Look for patterns in their answers.
Now talk to anyone still working in the company that had interface with customers. Listen to how they define who the real customer is.
With all that in mind you have to decide:
1. How is your product unique in the customers view?
2. How does the customer describe the product?
3. How does the customer see themselves?
4. What need, use or occasion drives purchase?
The easiest way I've found to cope with all that data is to write lists for each of the four items above and then try to write statements selecting from the notes in the form Product Name is a certain kind of product with a certain kind of unique benefit for a certain kind of customer for a certain kind of need, use or occasion.
Write them rough than smoothe them out. Test the three best and then roll it out.
Congratulations on your acquisition. To help answer your question, below are a few definitions and strategies to help define brand positioning and how to go about marketing your "brand" products.
Whilst there are various interpretations about what Brand positioning is, I'd like to sum it up simply as:
"The mental space you wish to occupy in the customer's mind" - when they think about your brand (products).
It takes the benefits you've identified and outlined within your value proposition design and making them meaningful to your customers.
So to determine the competition and it's potential, you simply have to do your research and understand who's occupying that space right now (in your customers mind) and how your value proposition outweighs or can be deemed better that the competition.
And finally - Do you have any ideas regarding any promotional activities that i could implement on this Brand?
Well yes, but promotions is not the same as brand positioning and marketing. Once you have identified your potential customer group(s) and created a persona strategy assuming you've done your homework, you will then have an understanding of where they hang out, what motivates them to buy, how often and how much they spend. After that you can then design your promotional strategy or campaign to reach them.
Hope this helps as a starting point and feel free to connect if I can be of further help.
Best of luck.
Serge, Congrats on your acquisition and great question!
In determing the positioning of the brand think about the words that suggest "position or place" such as:
The "Top' whiskey in
The 'Premier"....whiskey of
Voted The "Best" whiskey in its class
The "#1 " whiskey in All of the MidWest
The 'Only' whiskey aged in 500 year old oak casks
The Whiskey "Ahead" of the rest by 500 years" etc, etc, etc
These 'positions' all suggest an extraordinary Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
So The answer to your question " how could I study the positioning of this brand in my local market to determine it's competitors and the potential?"
lies in discovering:
That special thing your whiskey has that no other brand in its class/market.. has?
1) Find that thing and You have the answer or make that thing, either or then..
2) Position 'that [USP] thing' & Next
3) Market that USP!
Hope this helps,
First you should start by forgetting about the competition for a minute. What you consider "competition" really isn't "competition". There may be 50 other brands of Whiskey on the Shelf but when you dig deeper into the core of those Brands' cultures.... you'll see it's more like comparing whiskey to water to orange juice to kittens to door knobs rather than apples to apples. So trying to figure out how to place yourself in a position to be "better" than everyone puts you in several battles over several things most of which may well not even be key things you want to capitalize on through your brand.
Here's a series of questions to ask yourself to get your brain turning on the matter.
1. Is this the kind of whiskey a cowboy would drink from the bottle around a campfire?........ or is this the kind of whiskey a business man will sip from a glass looking over the city?...
2. Is this the kind of whiskey a bartender makes mixed drinks with?...... Or would it be downright blasphemic to soil the accents and exquisite undertones of this fine beverage by putting anything in it other than your lip to sip it?....
3. Is this the type of Whiskey you drink to enjoy the taste and have a good smooth buzz?....... Or is this the type of Whiskey you drink to get absolutely hammered?
4. Is this type of Whiskey a more "mature" drink you enjoy at home?...... or is it a fashionable club drink all the college kids are slamming back?
5. Is this a Whiskey you do rounds of shots with?..... Or is this a whiskey you get a glass for?
Even if you don't have a definite answer to those, just what went through your mind while reflecting to think of which way it leaned more towards should tell you more about who you are in the Business World and who this Brand is intended for.
Then you have to look at it from the perspective of the different financial classes of people to know how they'll perceive whatever price tag you put on your bottles. Essentially with products there's the:
OMFG ARE YOU SERIOUS stuff
To a person making minimum wage, the "good stuff" is "cheap stuff" to someone making $40k a year...... While the Classy stuff to someone who makes $40K a year is "Cheap Stuff" to someone making over $100K a year...... while the "classy stuff" millionaires drink is "OMFG ARE YOU SERIOUS" stuff to someone who makes $40K a year..... and the person who makes minimum wage doesn't have enough money to simply know that drink exists.
Once you figure out where you stand in the midst of that, you'll be able to reach people more effectively. Say your primary focus is being "Classy Stuff" to people who make $40K a year. You can have a commercial with someone doing something "classy" dressed up nice to appeal to them. Then because "classy" for someone who makes $40K a year is "Cheap Stuff" maybe even "good stuff that's pretty cheap" to someone who makes $100K a year...... you could have another commercial showing someone having a bar b q in their backyard next to the pool laughing and talking with a bottle of your whiskey sitting on the table. with the circumstance being them just having a couple friends over for food and a couple drinks nothing "too fancy" or anything and just wanted something cheap and smooth for the evening.
Appropriating yourself in this manner helps you find your home in different people's hearts... To one person your Whiskey may be something to crack open and celebrate with, while to another person it's just something cheap to keep in the cabinet for when you want a drink, then some people would rather drink urine than drink something so "horrible" in quality because the bottle is only 65 years old and they're use to $5,000 bottles from the 1700s.
You said you ACQUIRED this new brand, which means it already existed,
How old is it?
What type of history does it already have behind it?
Who has been it's most loyal customers so far?
Do you have a means of analyzing these people?
Is the current direction of this Brand one you want to continue on with or do you want to change it?
After you figure these things out, start thinking about your "competition" again and re evaluate who actually is indeed a competitor for the same people in the same manner. Even then, still "compete" by staying in your lane.
I'm not sure if you are asking how to determine the existing positioning or how to determine what the positioning could or should be. Often an under-achieving brand has a problem with vague, inconsistent or mis-targeted positioning. To determine what the positioning is, ask people what they think about the brand and compare that against what you see - the name, package design, slogan. Is there a unique selling proposition (USP) and is it consistent and well targeted? Most importantly, is the product delivering on the brand promise?
To decide on a new positioning requires stripping back to the bare-bones of what you purchased and evaluating that. Where is the brand equity? Did you buy a name, a package, a recipe? You most likely purchased all of those things, but which elements have the greatest value to justify the amount you paid and why?
There is a good chance that not every element is what it should be and now is the time to strip back to the core asset(s) and rebuild the brand from there. Consider everything else to be extra baggage that will limit your directions to improve or re-invent the brand.
When exploring a new positioning, don't underestimate the importance of "Unique" in USP. I know someone in this thread dismissed the importance of competitor research, but it's absolutely essential to study them to determine what is unique. It's the first week of every re-branding or new branding we do. Scour all brands from local to international. it provides invaluable information and guidance. The need for unique is also the reason you will want to avoid over-used generic claims such as "The Best", "Premiere", "The Number 1", or the grand-daddy of them all "Quality". These are claims that would require a HUGE advertising budget to take ownership of because so many brands are claiming the same thing. The opposite approach it to be unique and the only way to stand out from the crowd on a smaller budget and take complete ownership of the brand positioning to the masses.
Last, but not least, make sure the positioning is EVOCATIVE. This carries over to brand names and slogans as well. A good positioning, brand name and slogan does not tell the consumer a blatant fact, nor does it describe the product. It makes them think and feel something. People should discuss what it means because it's interpreted differently by everybody. Great examples are "Think Different" and "Just Do It". Neither describe the product or make any attempt to defend quality or their status as number 1. We like them because they are inspirational and personal statements that people connect with. That is the core ingredient in the making of a beloved brand people are proud to say is their brand.
Best of luck Serge - I hope that is useful. More on my website Brand Genesis page if you are interested.
Congratulations! You're receiving some very good advice. A couple of quick ways to learn about your market;
1) Talk with the retail outlet managers. Get their feel for the what's selling what isn't
2) Review the shelves in the stores and take notes on the pricing
3) Review local advertising
4) Review the Websites and see how the companies position their products
If you need additional suggestions, please feel free to contact me through the site
There are a number of ways to achieve this. First, you need to determine who your target market is. Who is your product for? Even in the alcohol indsutry there are different brands that cater to different consumers. Once you have identified this, the next step would be to look at the variety of promotional and marketing activities that can be planned and coodinated.
It looks like you've received some good advice in the other answers, but I suspect you may still feel your question has not been answered. It sounds like you are wondering how you should go about researching the potential audience for this newly acquired brand and who they would compete with.
If you are already in the alcohol industry and this whiskey product is a brand extension, I assume you must have done some informal research at least, to determine if this was a good investment. Still, you need to do as much research as possible, as recommended below, and that can include, surveys for target audiences. These surveys can be inexpensive online surveys and/or focus groups, and even phone surveys. You should also have your salespeople gather information from customers. Talk to people who have been selling the acquired brand, also.
This is the homework referred to below. With that information you can create a brand and messaging strategy for your acquisition.
One thing you can possible do is that use social media for the branding of your brand. Lets people knows about your product and have comment on that. As many people you will reach. That much the product will increase it's brand value.
Have you created a web site yet? Here is a huge deal - you will want to see how others with a similar product are positioning themselves on the major search engines.
don't care about positioning and rivals, consider your brand as the best and market it accordingly