min read

Dialing In Brand Positioning

June 4, 2024
June 12, 2024
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Guest

A board-level strategist for big brands, startups and nonprofits, alike, Faisal Siddiqui, Founder of Creative Business Company, is on a mission to make brand marketing more accountable and effective for all. He’s cranked out whitepapers, been quoted by the BBC, lectured at York University, worked with Shell, Turkish Airlines, and Google, and today he’s here to talk about brand positioning.

Brand Positioning and Marketing Strategy

We opened the interview with a discussion of the importance of brand positioning in marketing strategy. Faisal explains that positioning involves identifying a brand's unique value and how it fits within the market to better engage the target audience. He also highlighted three areas where positioning is crucial: advertising, thematic connectivity between ads, and website copy. He then describes instances where underperformance could occur due to incorrect positioning, and suggests that performance issues are often linked to positioning.

“Positioning is the most important thing you need to get right in a strategy,” explains Faisal. “Every single marketing effectiveness study show that when you get the positioning right, it is one of the strongest and longest drivers of profitability” 

Holistic Brand Positioning Challenges

Our conversation then pivots to the importance of a holistic approach to brand positioning, emphasizing the need to consider a range of factors beyond a product's features. Faisal advocates for a deep understanding of a company's culture, beliefs, location, and service aspects, illustrating with the successful repositioning of Avis in the 1960s.

He also underscored the necessity of conducting a brand study and aligning the brand's architecture before making changes to the visual identity. The discussion also highlighted the critical role of good customer service in a company's positioning, stressing the need for a thoughtful, integrated approach to avoid negative perceptions.

“It’s helpful to find out the dominant ways positioning is happening in the vertical, and there are two approaches to this,” says Faisal. “There is a creative approach, and the engineering approach - one is broad, and the other is about backfilling gaps, and both are wrong.”

“If I focus on the first, the ad agency way of repositioning - big ideas, manifesto - the problem there is that it’s unusable and doesn’t answer the question of how to ACTIVATE the manifesto, the tagline. The second ‘engineering’ camp is reductive, and ends up in templates, which neuters potential pathways for a truly distinct position.”

“The way to marry the past with the future is to find out the specific things that drive purchase within a market. If a brand can deliver on those needs, then they get more market share. For the most part, these needs are generic and don’t differ among competitors. Strong positioning connects to the capabilities of a specific brand, which are ownable, and only work if you find ways to make this information actionable and useful.” 

Repositioning Success and Expansion

The podcast switches to Faisal talking about the successful repositioning of T-mobile from a focus on coverage and speed to an emphasis on customer service, ultimately leading to a shift in its market position.

“In the telecom business, consumers only care about coverage and speed. Knowing that they couldn’t compete on those, T-Mobile decided to reposition around customer service and focus solely on them, offering to pay off phones, no golden handcuff contracts, and it paid off.”

We also discussed the potential for repositioning to open up expansion opportunities in the total addressable market. Faisal cited the example of Morningstar's repositioning from managed funds to broader services as evidence of successful rebranding.

To find out about Faisal’s ingenious insight into positioning and differentiating Formula E racing from Formula 1, how distinct advantages and creativity can make a difference, why communication is the secret weapon in positioning, and if Faisal wants to live in a volcano lair or a floating battleship, listen to the full interview at the links provided on this blog.

The Links

Creative Business Company

Faisal on LinkedIn

LISTEN TO THE FULL SHOW -> Stay tuned, stay curious and subscribe to What Gets Measured on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or add it as a Favorite on your podcast player of choice.

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