In our last two blog entries, we talked about the concept of bricks and mortar as an analogy for creating successful advertising campaigns to help build your brand. In part one of the series, we gave an introduction to the bricks and mortar analogy. Then, in part two, we talked about how the mortar is the consistent strategy statement that holds the bricks together.
In this entry, I wanted to take a closer look at the bricks and how they can be used to set you apart from the competition.
Have you stopped to take a close look at the cereal aisle in your local grocery store lately? It's quite astounding when you realize the number of different companies that manufacture and sell cereal, the plethora of brands owned by each company, and then all of the different flavors and varieties within each brand. This phenomenon isn't exclusive to your breakfast options. Today, consumers are faced with a massive number of choices for every purchase they make.
In such a competitive environment, the challenge for any brand is to set itself apart from the others. But how do you do that? It has to be more than simply saying you're better than the rest. That’s where positioning your business comes in.
In marketing, positioning is a strategic approach made by a brand or product to influence the way consumers perceive it. The objective is to have a well-defined, unique, and advantageous perception within the consumer’s mind. This is called owning mental real estate - and it's one of the most valuable things your business can have.
One of the finest examples of this came several years ago when automobile manufacturer Volvo began touting all the safety features found in its automobiles. It wasn't too long before consumers began to recognize Volvos as being among the safest on the roads. Whether or not such an assumption was true could be debated, but the perception remained, and Volvo was recognized that way and its market share grew as a result.
When it comes to positioning yourself within the marketplace, start by thinking about what really sets you apart. There are many positioning options available, including price, selection, service, unique or patented methodology, etc. Some brands position themselves as exclusive and high-end, appealing to consumers who want nothing but the very best no matter what the cost - like Cartier or Louis Vuitton.
Meanwhile, others target the other end of the spectrum - brands like Timex or Samsonite. The important thing is to avoid trying to be all things to all people. Consumers prefer clarity, so trying to position your brand in too many ways will prove ineffective.
None of these brands' positioning choices are better than the other - it's just a matter of how they've chosen to differentiate. Because of this, their advertising messages coincide with how each company positions itself in the battle for mental real estate.
Once you have clarity in your positioning, it can be woven into each of your ads. You'll recall that in part one of this series, we underlined how important it was that each ad contained one single idea. That makes up a brick. The way that single idea is dramatized should support your positioning statement.
For example, let’s say the idea in your ad is about a special sale you’re having this month. If your positioning is centered upon the superior customer service you offer, the way in which it will be dramatized will be significantly different than if your position was about high-end exclusivity. A professional ad copywriter can provide assistance in achieving this.
If you want to learn more about positioning, I'd recommend reading Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. You can also find out more about the bricks and mortar concept, which is from Chuck Mefford's BrandsFormation® System. You can download the first chapter of his book for free right here.