Choosing POPs and PODs

Points-of-pariiy are driven by the needs of category membership (lo create category POPs)

and the necessity of negating competitors' POtJs(to create competitive POPsfl, in choosing pmiTls-of-diifercnce, twu important considerations are lhat consumers find the POD desirable and that the firm has the capabilities to deliver on the PODt There are three key consumer desirability criteria for POljs, l. Relevance, Target consumers must find the POD personally relevant and important, the West in .Stamford hoi el in Singapore advertised thai il was lhe world's tallest hotel, but a hotel's iieight is not important to many tourists.

I. Disiinclipeïtess. Target consumers must iiud the PQD distinctive and superior. When entering a category where there are established brands, the challenge is to find a viable hii si s For differentiation. Spkindu sugar substitute overlook Kqual arid Sweet Jn Low to become the leader in its category in 200LS hy differentiating itself oil its authenticity as a product derived from sugar, without any of the associated drawbacks.11

3. Belief nbility. Target consumers tiinsi find the POD believable and credible. A brand must offer a compelling reason lor choosing it over the other options. Mountain Dew may argue (hat it ts more energizing ihan miter soft drinks and support this claim by tuning that it basa higher Level <if caffeine. Chanel No. ii perfume may claim lo be the qui It-(essential elegant French perfume and Support this claim by noting the lung association between Chanel and haute couture.

There are three key ¡t)cliverabilily criteria.

1, Feasibility. The firm must he able to actually create (he POD, lhe product design and marketing offering must support the desired association. Does communicating the desired association involve real changes to the product Itself, or just perceptual ones as to how the consumer ill inks of the product or brand? tt is obviously easier to convince consumers of some fact about the brand that they were unaware of and may have overlooked than to make changes in the product anttconvince consumers of lhesc changes. General Motors Iieis had to work to overcome publier perceptions that Cadillac is noi a youthful, contemporary brand,

2. CoinutunicabHity. tt is weiy difficult to create an association that i^ not consistent with existing cOHSltnier knowledge or that consumers, for whatever reason, have trouble believing. Consumers must be given a compelling reason and n riders la ndabte rationale as to why [he brand can deliver the desired benefit. What factual, verifiable evidence or "prooT points" can be given as support so that consumers will actually believe in the brand and its desired associations? Sirhstantiators often tome in the form of paiented, branded jjigredi c lUS, such as NivCa Wrinkle Control Crème with Q10 co-cnzyitie or 1 ierbai Essences hair conditioner with 1 lawafena.

3, Sustainabitity Is the positioning preemptive. defensible, ànd difficult to attackî Cart the favorahiiiiy of a brand association be reinforced ;mtl strengthened over dmeï lï yes, the positioning is likely to be en till ring. Kuslainabililv wil( depend On internal commitment and use of resources as well ;ts external market forces. It is generally easier for market leaders such as CillcttQ; Intel, and Microsoft, whose positioning is based in part on démontrable product performance. 10 sustain theÍT positioning!ban for market leaders such as Gucc i, f'rada, and Kermes, whose positioning is based on fashion and is thus subject to the whims of a more fickle market.

Marketers must decide at which level(s) to anchor the blend's points *0f-di Iter unces, At ibi1 lowest level are the brand naribates, at the nest level are the brand's benefit^ and at the top are the brand's l'aines. Thus marketers of I Jove soap earl talk about ils attribute of one t)ttarier cleansing cream: or its benefit nf softer skin: or its value, being more ait rati i ve. At i rib ut es are typically the least desirable level to posilion, lirst, the buyer is more interested in benefits. Second, competitors can easily copy attributes. 'ifiird, the current attributes may become 'ess desirable.

Research has Oiown. however, that brands can sometimes be successfully differentiated on seemingly Irrelevant attrib ules h/coos tuners infer the proper bene f i i.1- Procter Ik Gamble differentiates Its Fol^-i's insumí coffee liv its "flaked coffee crysials,'' created (brought a "unique paiented process. In reality, tin: shape of the coffee particles i-* irrelevant because the crystals immediately dissolve in (he hot water. Saying dial a brand ni coffee is "mountain grown" is irrelevant because mosl coffee is mountain grown. "Marketing Memo: Writing a Positioning Statement outlines how positioning can be expressed formally.

Creating POPs arid PODs

One common difficulty in creating a strong, cpmpeiittvc brand positioning is that many of the attributes or benefits dial make up the poinu-of-pörity and poiiv^-of-d.i!feiViiev are negativeh-correlated. If consumers rate the brand highly on one particular attribute or benefit, they also rate it poorly an another important attribute. For example, it might be difficult to positiv a brand as "inexpensive'' and ai the same time assert that il is "of the highest quality." l'a h le JtJ.ü displays some other examples of negatively cor tela led attributes and benefits. Moreover, individual attributes and benefits often have positive and negative aspects. for example, consider a long-lived brand that is seen as having a great deal of heritage; 1 lerilage Cuufd suggest experience, wisdom, and expertise. (Jn the other hand, it could also easily be seen as a negative: h might imply being old-fashioned and no I up-to-date.

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