By Jon Dunn
Global businesses launched during a recession;
- General Electric. 1892
- General Motors. 1908
- IBM. 1911
- Disney. 1929
- Trader Joe’s. 1958
- FedEx. 1971
- HP. 1939
- Hyatt. 1957
- Microsoft. 1975
- Netflix: 1997
- Airbnb. 2008
- Whatsapp. 2008
- Groupon. 2008
- Slack. 2009
- Instagram. 2010
- Pinterest. 2010
All these hugely successful businesses launched or repositioned for a changing world where they adopted a radically different approach to surviving the here and now and moved forward to even greater success in the future.
A proven method to ensure your brand is ready to identify and maximise opportunities is by Responsive Brand Positioning.
Responsive Brand Positioning is an agile approach to positioning your brand for a new market environment. Based on proven research this approach gives your brand the best chance to not only survive an economic downturn, but actually thrive in the months and years ahead.
What is Responsive Brand Positioning?
Responsive Brand Positioning is a 4-step process designed to rapidly audit and reposition a brand in response to unforeseen external forces.
The process is focussed on four key areas
This is where we get clear understanding on what a brand is and what a brand isn’t. Our aim is that from the outset all stakeholders are clear on current philosophy and how it applies to them.
- Old Brand vs New Brand model
- The Brand Power Shift
- A Brands Hierarchy Of Needs
- Brand Led Growth vs Sales Led Growth
- Mental Availability
- Building a Brand vs Growing a Brand
The initial phase includes an objective analysis of the three fundamental components that will determine your optimal positioning in the new market landscape; your current brand, your customers, and your competitors.
The internal analysis comprises of an audit of your current brand along with in-depth interviews of internal stakeholders. The audit gives you a clear, objective understanding of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, while the interviews highlight shifts in the way employees perceive your brand.
- How are the needs of our customers changing?
- What unique value do we offer in this period of uncertainty?
- How can we improve our offerings to make them more compelling?
- What ways can we attract new customers outside of what we’re currently doing?
- Is our value proposition still unique?
Your employees are on the front lines of your business. They hear your customers questions and concerns on a daily basis.
Their responses to these questions will reveal valuable opportunities to reposition your brand.
The shadow of a looming recession is an ideal time to analyse changing customer needs. Economic recession realigns customer behaviour, often forcing customers to reconsider their priorities. Structured customer interviews are an invaluable way to understand changing needs, motivations, and trends.
- What new challenges are you currently facing in your business?
- How can we help you solve these challenges?
- How confident are you in your ongoing ability to meet your customers needs?
- Where are you adding the most value in the current environment?
- What could you do better or differently during these times?
Repositioning requires perspective armed with qualitative research which will quickly identify meaningful trends and patterns.
Competitor analysis is driven by a thorough audit of your top competitors.
Understanding how your competitors are positioned will help to identify opportunities to differentiate your brand in the minds of your existing and potential customers as they face the looming recession.
Audit your top competitors by analysing their current media channels such as website, social, PR, other marketing collateral and wider market intelligence.
- How does the brand position itself within the current market landscape?
- To which audience are they speaking?
- How do they differentiate themselves from the competition?
- Which value propositions are they focusing on?
The brand positioning phase is a process where we leverage insights from the analysis phase to reposition your brand for the new market environment. Positioning is about refocusing your brand for the new market landscape.
The result of the positioning phase is the positioning platform, which clearly delineates each of the core elements in a central, actionable document designed for marketing and sales teams alike.
The platform will include key messaging precisely aimed at your newly defined target audiences, in a cohesive narrative that addresses customer needs in the new market landscape.
The Positioning Platform Includes:
- Target Audiences
- Core Offering
- Brand Compass
- Value Proposition
- Brand Personality
- Competitive Advantage
- Brand Promise
- The Big Idea
- Brand Narrative
The final step in the process is where you launch the new positioning to the market. Activating new positioning is usually a multi-stage process. At the core of every successful positioning project is the development of a comprehensive Activation Plan as well as strategic campaign assets.
The campaign brief outlines strategy and architecture of your activation campaign. It includes a detailed rollout plan with important milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the real-world performance of the new positioning. These actionable steps provide a roadmap for how to bring the new positioning to the market.
In addition to the strategic campaign brief, activation includes the creation of core campaign assets that will be deployed at various stages of the rollout. Assets include messaging, design, landing pages, and collateral designed to deliver your repositioned brand to target audiences in a cohesive, compelling brand experience.
When the campaign direction and assets have been agreed in principle, responsibilities around resourcing need to be confirmed. Are we capable of managing in house? Or are we best off outsourcing all or some of the core campaign functions?
To make Responsive Brand Positioning successful the most important thing is to be open to change.
All too often, stakeholders like the idea of change but when the chips are down, they second guess themselves and a lack of inertia takes over, when the logical course of action is to trust the process and summon the courage to see it through.
A post covid world could be an uncertain one for some time. The needs and challenges of consumers are changing.
Businesses that can adapt to that changing environment are those that will emerge from this period of potential economic uncertainty stronger and ready to compete successfully in a new market landscape.
Responsive Brand Positioning gives you the tools to do just that.