What is Positioning in Marketing?

What is Positioning in Marketing?

Positioning refers to the ability to influence consumer perception of a brand or product.

The objective of positioning in marketing is to establish the image or identity of a brand or product so that consumers perceive it in a certain way.

Positioning - an overview

Positioning is about where a brand sits in their market or industry. It's about establishing the image or identity of a brand or product so that consumers perceive it in a certain way; the way the marketers want it to be perceived!

Brand perception is created through the use of the 4 Ps; promotion, price, place and product. The best way to do this is through a positioning strategy. The more detailed a positioning strategy is at defining these 4 Ps, the more effective the marketing strategy will be.

Take a look at the following brand examples:

  • Kurt Geiger positions itself as a luxury status symbol in the footwear industry
  • McDonald’s positions itself as a place to get cheap and quick meals in the food industry
  • Starbucks positions itself as a creator of high-quality fair-trade coffee in the hot beverage industry
  • Apple positions itself as a provider of innovative, user-friendly products in the tech industry

Positioning of a brand or product is a strategic process that manipulates the minds of the consumers in the target market. So, how do you do that? Through a Marketing Positioning Strategy...

What is Market Positioning Strategy?

A good positioning strategy elevates your marketing efforts and helps encourage shoppers to make purchase decisions. Actively positioning a brand means the brand must truly position themselves with the right branding, values, messaging and experience by combining a number of different elements:

1. Positioning Statement

A positioning statement is the identity your business is striving for. There are a few things that go into creating an effective positioning statement:

  • Defining your target audience
  • Defining your target market
  • Outlining your mission/vision
  • Proving value

Positioning statements have the power to positively impact your potential customer’s perception of your brand.

Share the right message to the right audience
2. Tagline

Once you have a strong brand positioning statement you can then create a tagline, sometimes referred to as a slogan. You can use this much shorter, snappier version of your positioning statement for external marketing and customer messaging.

Great taglines are memorable, portray value and evoke emotion. Here are some of the most famous taglines around:

  • L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.”
  • Nike: “Just do it.”
  • Coca-Cola: "Taste the Feeling"
3. Competitor Analysis  

Understanding the differences between your business and your competitors is essential to finding gaps in the market that can be filled. For this reason, when you are looking at your competitors, try to uncover the following, if you can:

  • Competitor objectives - e.g. growth rate
  • Competitor history - e.g. past marketing efforts and messaging
  • Competitor audiences - e.g. social platforms, engagement etc.

By understanding where you competition stands, you will better know the direction you need to go to make yourself stand out.

4. Develop Your Unique Position

Once you have an understanding of your market, audience and competition, you will be able to create strong marketing strategies that can effectively position your business in the market, making sure to use messaging that reflects your mission and positioning statement!

5. Test Your Market Positioning

Test everything and monitor results. This will inform you of what works and what doesn't work, allowing you to refine marketing strategies. If you find that your positioning in marketing is a little off, you can always reposition.

Track and monitor your positioning in marketing

What is Market Repositioning?

Market repositioning is when a company changes its existing brand or product status in the marketplace. This is usually done due to declining performance or major shifts in the environment. For example, in 2006, Coca-Cola repositioned its Mother Energy Drink. The initial launch campaign was professionally executed, however, the taste of Mother Energy Drink was subpar and repeat purchases were very low. Coca-Cola decided to reposition the product due to already high brand awareness - the  changed the packaging, increased the size of the can and improved the taste of the product. The relaunch of the product featured a new phrase – “New Mother, tastes nothing like the old one.” Ultimately, Coca-Cola was able to successfully reposition Mother Energy Drinks.

Positioned for success

Positioning in marketing should be seen as an essential element of brand strategy due to its ability to influence brand perception and consumer behaviour. By focussing on the potential customer and target market for your positioning, you will come out on top!

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About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

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Phillip Adcock

Phillip Adcock CMRS
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Phillips Signature

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