Market Positioning

Positioning has been defined as "the art and science of fitting the product or service to one or more segments of the broad market in such a way as to set it meaningfully apart from competition."7 As you can see, the position of the product, service, or even store is the image that comes to mind and the attributes consumers perceive as related to it. This communication occurs through the message itself, which explains the benefits, as well as the media strategy employed to reach the target group. Take a few moments to think about how some products are positioned and how their positions are conveyed to you. For example, what comes to mind when you hear the name Mercedes, Dr. Pepper, or Sony? What about department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Sears, and JCPenney? Now think of the ads for each of these products and companies. Are their approaches different from their competitors'? When and where are these ads shown?

Approaches to Positioning Positioning strategies generally focus on either the consumer or the competition. While both approaches involve the association of product benefits with consumer needs, the former does so by linking the product with the benefits the consumer will derive or creating a favorable brand image, as shown in Exhibit 2-12. The latter approach positions the product by comparing it and the benefit it offers with the competition, as shown in Exhibit 2-13. Products like Scope mouthwash (positioning itself as better tasting than Listerine) and Poweraid (comparing their rehydration capabilities and caloric content to the leading brand) have employed this strategy successfully.

Many advertising practitioners consider market positioning the most important factor in establishing a brand in the marketplace.

Exhibit 2-12 Positioning that focuses on the consumer

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