It’s tough to stand out in the crowd. It’s also necessary. You have to prove that you’re in the same business as your competition, and, at the same time, show people what makes you different. Sociologists call the proper balance between fitting in and standing out the “acceptable deviation from the norm,” or otherwise known as positioning.
Before you continue reading, it’s imperative you are clear on your brand. Surprisingly many businesses think a brand is a “logo.” Your actual company brand is much more than a logo. It’s the summation of who you want to be perceived as within your community and beyond. Once you have complete clarity on this, knowing how to position your brand is what will make or break the company’s chance at success.
The brand’s positioning is the place in the consumer’s mind that you want your brand to own. It’s the benefit you want your consumer to perceive when they think of your brand. A strong brand position means you have a unique, credible and sustainable position in the mind of the consumer.
The fitness industry is an extremely crowded space, so crowded that many brands are starting to align, creating more consumer awareness, credibility and strength in the marketplace. Companies no longer need to do it all and instead can align with a strategic partner who can contribute. These types of brand alignments are allowing companies to position themselves as more than one expert in one field. It gives them more exposure in the marketplace and adds validity to who they are and what they do.
A great example of brand alignment in the fitness industry is Curves and Weight Watchers. Both companies lent their brand strength to one another, filling a void for each company. Together they developed greater brand loyalty and awareness of the consumer. “Curvy Girls” was born.
Brand positioning is the conceptual place you want to own in the target consumer’s mind — the benefits you want them to think of when they think of your brand. An effective brand positioning strategy maximizes your unique selling position (USP).
There are several rules of positioning your brand that you can follow to ensure you’re on the right track. Some of those rules include: relevance, clarity, distinctiveness, coherence, patience and commitment.
Ultimately, if you feel your brand embodies everything the consumer wants and needs, and they can pick you out of a crowd, you’re doing everything right. If not, it might be time to consider what you can do to improve that.
Carolyn Fetters is the founder and CEO of Balanced Habits, based in Southern California. She can be reached at carolyn@balancedhabits or 657.231.6779.