According to Philip Kotler; “Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the target market’s mind.” While considering the positioning strategies, the seven approaches to positioning strategy are clarified;
1.Using product characteristics or customer benefits
2.The price-quality approach
3.The use or applications approach
4.The product-user approach
5.The product-class approach
6.The cultural symbol approach and
7.The competitor approach.
Probably the most-used positioning strategy is to associate an object with a product characteristic. Imported automobiles illustrate the variety of product characteristics that can be employed and their power in image creation. Honda and Toyota have emphasized economy and reliability and have become the leaders in the number of units sold. Volvo has stressed safety and durability, showing commercials of “crash tests” and telling of the long average life of its cars, although in 1993 it began to emphasize other attributes as well, because by then almost every auto maker stressed safety features.
Sometimes a new product can be positioned with respect to a product characteristic that competitors have ignored. Brands of paper towels had emphasized absorbency until Viva was successfully introduced stressing durability. Viva demonstrations showed its product’s durability and supported the claim that Viva “keeps on working”. Sometimes a product will attempt to position itself along two or more product characteristics simultaneously. In the toothpaste market, Crest became the leader decades ago by positioning itself as a cavity fighter, a position that was established by an endorsement by the American Dental Association. However, several other successful entries have positioned themselves along two product characteristics. Aim, introduced as a good-tasting, cavity fighter, achieved a share of more than 10 %. Aqua-fresh was introduced by Beecham as a gel paste that offers both cavity-fighting and breath-freshening benefits. Lever 2000 soap combined the moisturizing and deodorizing benefits usually found in two different soaps. Sometimes different models of a product may be positioned towards different segments by highlighting different attributes.
Another product positioning approach is to associate a product with a user or a class of users. Michael Jordan, for example, was used by products as diverse as Nike, Gatorade, and McDonalds. Many cosmetic companies have used a model or personality to position their product. Makers of casual clothing such as jeans have introduced “designer labels” such as Calvin Klein or Jordache to develop a fashion image. The expectation is that the model or personality will influence the product’s image by reflecting the characteristics and image of the model or personality communicated as a product user. Johnson and Johnson repositioned its shampoo from one used for babies one used by people who wash their hair frequently and therefore need a mild shampoo. The repositioning resulted in a market share that moved from 3 % to 14 % for Johnson and Johnson.
What should be our positioning strategy? The identification and selection of positioning strategy can be difficult and complex. However, it becomes more manageable if it is supported by marketing research and decomposed into a six-step process;
1. Identify the customers
2. Determine how the competitors are perceived and evaluated
3. Determine the competitors’ positions
4. Analyze the customers
5. Select the customers
6. Monitor the position