Brand Positioning (2014) in Core Curriculum in Marketing, Harvard Business School Publishing, (Jill Avery and Sunil Gupta)
Consumers in most product categories today are bombarded with too many choices. Even worse, the multitude of products that face them on the shelf often seem undifferentiated from one another, making choice even more difficult. This Reading addresses the principles of brand positioning and demonstrates how companies can strategically craft powerful, resonant, and unique brand positions to help their products stand out amidst the cacophony of the marketplace. Strategic brand positioning provides consumers with the answer to the all-important question, “Why should I buy?” The Reading discusses how to craft a brand’s value proposition for competitive advantage, through analysis and synthesis of consumer, company, and competitive factors. It highlights the types of brand positions companies can stake out in the minds of consumers, providing insight into the many creative ways brands can be differentiated from one another. It provides guidance for defending a market position through the illumination of the competitive dynamics of brand positioning. Special attention is given to disruptive positioning strategies that have the potential to reshape product categories. Finally, it presents the challenges associated with repositioning brands and the tension that exists between maintaining brand meaning consistency versus changing with the times.