Brand repositioning and positioning the battle for your customers mind.

Positioning is what you do in the mind of the customer, you’re not doing anything to the product, not through positioning at least.

To win the positioning battle today, you have to stay in touch with reality, if something doesn’t already exist in the customer’s mind it’s a much harder sell. If you try to create a position that another direct competitor has created you’re only going to compete in the same way. Positioning is a chance to differentiate yourself from other competitors. If you just copy the position another direct competitor has taken it’s a much harder battle to win.

Keep your positioning through the message short, less is more. Sensory overload almost always puts people off.

Often the best place to find a solution is in the person’s mind. Talk to your customer understand their wants and needs and the solution should become obvious.

In the 1950s it easier much easier to establish a service or product feature set, but when mass production came into play, it was much harder to create a USP.

When changing your positioning pays off

Avis changed its positioning to We’re 2nd, the previous years they hadn’t made profit, in the first year of making this change they made $1.2m, and in the 2nd they made $2.6m

Avis verses Hertz

Avis’s copy:

“Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So why go with us?

We try harder

(When you’re not the biggest, you have to)

We just can’t afford full ashtrays. Half empty gas tanks. Or worn wipers. Or unwashed cars. Or low tired. Or anything less than seat adjusters that adjust. Heaters that heat. Defrosters that defrost”

If you’re No.1 in your industry, in the mind of the potential customers a few things happen. 

  1. They ask why dod you need to say this if you are 
  2. If you are this feels a little insecure 

3. If you’re No.1 why haven’t I heard of you?


Avis kept this position change for 50 years only changing it in the last 10 years. Their current positioning is “Welcome to a better car hire”

When coming up with your position remember that you can’t be everything to everyone, the more you try to appeal to everyone, the faster you appeal to no one. Positioning doesn’t only apply to a business but can also apply to yourself.

Personal positioning.

What is your position in life? Most people won’t create a position for themselves. If you wait till the majority of people take a position you’re less likely to have people take notice of you. Create your positions on things before they have time for the majority of people to it on board, if you wait till people accept the idea every one will have thought of it. This goes for your competitors in business as well. If an idea already exists and is being perpetuated then it’s probably on its way out.

Creating your position.

Understating what you already own in the mind of the prospect is important. To understand your current position you can’t find this out from the marketing manager you have to do this research yourself talking to the customer.

You need to spend the money upfront rather than later when nothing can be done about, if you don’t have the time to plan it now you 100% won’t have the time to plan it later. Sometimes you create a position that is too broad, a position that can’t be established in buyers’ mind.

For example in the marketing world there are a number of specialist roles, if you narrow down the positioning you have for the marketing world you’re more likely to get that role you’re looking for. When you’re devising your positioning think about it from your competitor’s point of view as much as your own.

If terminology is so far outside the realms of reality, is too technical, is filled with jargon the average buyer won’t understand then people won’t buy in. What are the aspirations for the brand, and how does this reflect in deep human desire

Value prop 

Should describe the target customers 

Should include the primary benefit

Claim about what the brand delivers

So for example; For A health company that provides a pain reliever, the value prop might be something like this:

Proctor and gamble have adopted the “happy baby”


A definition of the position on a particular product or service and a way to express this position through visual storytelling. It needs consistent evaluation of the positioning over time.

It starts off with the understanding the customer, and the ideal relationship needed to fulfil profitable objectives, positioning tasks into consideration the trends in the market, customers changing needs, and wants.

There are 4 things to be aware of when creating your positioning:
1.   Relevance
Satisfy the emotional needs of the customer
What are they missing from existing products and services
And stake a claim in unclaimed territory
2.   Differentiation
Strong brands add value over and above their core products and services
Which made them stand out
3.   Credibility
For customers to be loyal, the brand must be loyal to itself and keep the promise it makes.
4.   Stretch.
Not just stay relevant, innovation, new products and services are needed, this needs good judgement of future market trends.

Articulating a core idea as a longer-term ambition or aspiration is the essence of developing a brand strategy that will last for more than 3 to 5 years

Vision mission values are the terms used to describe the central building blocks to define the brand, these form the brand platform

The vision gives the brand reason for being 

The mission gives its strategic objectives 

The values underpin all actions are taken concerning the brand and the perception of it

Brand experience

Creating these brand platforms doesn’t always have long-term effects on customer loyalty, it has to be substantive change over and above the superficiality of simple value graphics on the about page of a website, but the brand must actively seek activities that demonstrate the brand’s platform. If this doesn’t happen a negative opinion can be formed of the brand.

Branding starts at the top, you can’t have a brand that treats its customers one way and its own staff another way. 

Amazon created the one-click button which in turn creates a much better experience for the customer, at first there were concerns that the customer would not like this because of security issues, but as we all know the one-click ordering system took off and took in a big way. 



So if you’re about the customer then you really have to address the customer’s needs in the marketing material, marketing copy, and most importantly sales calls so if we want to listen to the customer’s needs really they should be talking for the most part so we have actually listened to them 

Using too much jargon is sales calls so much so that the other person may not understand you or know what acronyms / technical jargon you’re using will come across as condescending to the less initiated, it can give the person using the mass amount of jargon a sense of superiority. Abusive people will use this tactic and many others to manipulate and control a victim by putting the victim down using niche gobbledygook words and acronyms. It’s an attempt to lower the other person’s self-esteem, to a point where you can control the other person, to do what the abuser wants them to do. Use technical speech sparingly.

Developing your position statement.

The previous Brand promise is

“We’re committed to improving the lives of patients”

Let’s assume that we have segmented the audience to include people who have active lifestyles. The market research also tells us potential customers want it to be fast acting.

Position statement:

Our brand of pain reliever works faster than our competitors so our patients can maintain their goals for a healthy life without delay  




Book: Brands and branding – Rita Clifton with 9 other writers

Book: No Logo – Naomi Klein

Book: Brand Identity – Sheldon Leonard

Book: Unleash possible – Samantha stone 

Book: Positioning, The battle for your mind – Al Ries and Jack Trout

Linkedin Learning: Agile branding is the new normal – Wes Kao

Linked in learning: Branding Foundations  – Drew Boyd

Interview: CMO Norman de Greve, CVS Health

Interview: CMO, Suzanne Kounkel, Deloitte

Interview: CMO, Alicia Tillman, SAP (B2B)