Eyes on the Prize 👀 Targeting the Best Market
Creating a strong brand is a tedious process, but all of those who’ve managed to succeed have one thing in common: they all took the time to build a standout identity that consumers can associate with. And all the best brands know that brand building doesn’t stop when the business has taken off. As a matter of fact, the process of brand building only ends when the business has, unfortunately, also stopped.
To continuously build a brand that’s relevant to the market, it pays to keep a steady watch on your target audience and carefully study how they behave and respond to various stimuli and in different situations. Now that you’ve learned all about market segmentation, it’s time to push that knowledge further by familiarizing yourself with the concepts of Targeting and Positioning.
Targeting refers to choosing the most optimal segment your brand could operate in -- a segment with demands that other products or services couldn’t meet.
But how would you identify an attractive segment from the others? Ideally, there shouldn’t be too many brands servicing that segment; the more saturated the market is, the harder it is for a new entrant to compete. As much as possible, try to follow a Blue Ocean Strategy and establish your brand in a field that isn’t well served by lots of other industry players. That way, you get to build a strong market base, and that’s usually easier than furiously attempting to grab a share of the pie from more established competitors. Simply put, go where the others aren’t looking, and shine while the rest are waning.
However, unless you have something similar yet exponentially better than what the competition offers, then by all means, feel free to jump into that same ocean and blow them out of the water.
Equally crucial to effectively grabbing the attention of your target segments is the proper positioning of your brand. Even the best product in the world won’t go flying out of shelves unless its creators create a strong and lasting positive perception that sticks into the buyers’ minds. Particularly in this digital age, where information overload is the norm rather than the exception, you should carefully and precisely position your brand in such a way that it remains visible to and not ignored by your target audience.
Your unique position is best communicated through your unique selling proposition, and the most effective positioning manages to pound your brand’s biggest differentiating factor into the buyers’ consciousness. With so many products and, alongside them, advertisements bombarding us everyday from all corners, many brands will inevitably fall into the pitfall of failure to differentiate, and they will end up occupying the same space as its competitors. To avoid this, try to pay close attention to their communication materials, and write down all their highlighted attributes in a piece of paper, under the header “attributes NOT to use for my brand.”
Although you might not be the best in the category, it’s still possible to position your brand as the best at something. Find something, even the smallest thing, you do better than your opponents, and use that to your advantage. Don’t stop talking about it, and eventually everyone will remember you for it.
An interesting note: because brand positioning is a long term commitment, it’s critical to get it right the first time. Discovering along the way that your defined brand positioning is hurting the business instead of helping it will have serious implications to the business, such as lost sales, weaker brand equity, and nonexistent brand memorability.
Brand building is no easy feat. As a journey that never reaches the end of the tunnel, business owners and marketers carry on their shoulders the herculean task of maintaining and improving on the brand as the business moves forward, and a detailed planning for this must therefore be one of the key initial priorities for each brand. Sure, targeting and positioning mistakes in the beginning may be rectified by making big adjustments later on, but remember that this comes at the cost of brand equity. Making drastic changes may dilute your brand and confuse consumers with what your brand really stands for. Such major errors tend to lead some companies into oblivion, and you wouldn’t want that.