How to make a positioning map and why it matters.
Appreciative Discovery Sessions typically range between 3 - 4 hours.
Effective marketing begins with getting your positioning right. How is your company, product or service differentiated from your competition? How do you express this difference to get your idea into the minds of your customers and prospects?
Companies need positioning — a strategy for meaningful differentiation — today more than ever. Few markets are virgin. For most marketers, the only way to grow is to take business away from the competition. Without a differentiated idea, most people will stick with what they know. If you don’t stand out, you lose.
This is why mapping the positions of your competitors and your organization is vital.
The world’s top marketing companies know the secrets of how to make a positioning map. As a result, they have seen robust growth, incredible brand value (as much as 70% of their total capitalized market valuation on average) and continued success as leaders in their categories. The principles used by brands like Xerox, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Apple, Nike, Honda, Uber and Tesla are universal and therefore transferable to any business, even yours.
Inside every business is a differentiated advantage that unlocks the secret to profitable growth. Positioning is the art and science of finding your differentiating brand idea. The ultimate goal of positioning is to plant this differentiated idea in the mind of customers.
The 4-Square Positioning Map is used to determine the strength of a positioning idea relative to how well it satisfies four criteria: Competitive availability, Customer relevance, Company fit and market Context (the filter for timing). The Four Cs. No C taken alone is more important than another. Ideas that rate highly in all four quadrants present the greatest opportunity.
Competition is the filter for availability. In this quadrant, we map the degree to which your positioning idea separates you from competitors. The goal is to maximize the distance between your idea and competitive ideas. As a rule, two companies cannot own the same idea in the mind of the prospect. Minds don’t change easily. If a competitor already owns an idea in the prospect's mind, you are better off mapping a new positioning idea you can own. It is easier to displace a competitor with a new idea than dislodge one with a "me-too" idea. It costs less too.
The next filter is Customer relevance. Here we ask if the idea is innately valuable, meaningful and desirable to the target customer. Does the idea offer a noticeable and obvious benefit? Customers have to find the idea naturally attractive to stimulate sufficient demand. In other words, they have to want it!
The positioning map filter for Company helps to determine how well the idea fits your organization's DNA, core values, mission and purpose. The tighter the fit, the stronger the commitment. Here we ask the tough questions: Is the position credible? Can and will the organization commit to it long-term? The positioning idea has to be true to who you are, what you value and where you want to go (vision). It must be something the market at large can trust in you to deliver. And the idea must be something you can and will commit to at every level of the organization.
Slow adoption cycle increases the risk of an idea becoming leapfrogged. The PC leapfrogged the electric typewriter. The mobile phone leapfrogged fixed-line technology. On-demand streaming internet TV leapfrogged DVDs, traditional linear TV and TiVo. As Tom Peters wrote in his book, Thriving on Chaos, “The champ to chump cycles are growing ever shorter.”
Equally, if not more problematic than an idea being too soon, is an idea that is too late. Very often, the best thing to do if you miss the market timing is to beg out and cut your losses.
While all four Cs are important, how well an idea maps to customer relevance comes first. A difference that is not valued or considered important to the target customer results in a meaningless difference. An idea that is not strongly desired will create low demand and therefore most likely produce little value for your company. And if you can’t OWN the difference, then the idea will be an also-ran, which won’t get you very far.
Another tool we use in our Appreciative Discovery is the X/Y Positioning Map, sometimes referred to as a Perceptual Map.
Thinking in pictures is the most used form of non-verbal thought. Our visual system is hardwired to discern the differences between the things we see, starting with the biggest differences down to the small. It looks for contrasts. It recognizes differences between subject and ground, big and small, dark and light — then the brain takes over and begins to make meaning. When you learn how to make this positioning map, the picture that reveals itself has the potential to transform your business.
Below is an example of the X/Y Positioning Map we develop with your leadership team during the Appreciative Discovery.
The resulting positioning map above is a powerful visual tool. It helps remove some of the fog in your competitive standing and presents a clear visual.
One caution — at this stage, your positioning map only shows what you assume your customers are thinking relative to your brand and competitor brands. Secondary (searchable) research can help validate the assumptions. Primary quantitative research will provide statistically reliable validation of your positioning map idea.
An Appreciative Discovery Report is the deliverable from the process. Since every Appreciative Discovery is customized to each particular client's need, specific outputs can vary. It is fairly standard for reports to include:
The Appreciative Discovery Positioning Report is a dynamic tool. In collaboration with the agency, it enables you to:
For your team, the Appreciative Discovery is a fast-paced, inclusive ride that involves stakeholders making one of the most important business decisions your company will make. Many clients tell us how the process and decisions made have re-energized their people and transformed their businesses.
Positioning is How You Win the Battle for the Mind
There is no greater feeling in the world than helping clients make the right decision for how to play to win in competitive markets — winning the battle for the mind of customers, creating more demand, closing more sales and earning higher operating earnings and profits. It all begins with mapping your position. If you want to learn how to make a positioning map, contact us to learn more about the Appreciative Discovery.
PositionistView® is an inside look into Innis Maggiore's thinking, culture and talent. They're opinon pieces through the positioning filter. No jargon. No ad-speak babble.
In the third decade of the 21st century, GM may once again be a big brand in big trouble paying the high cost of brand positioning failure.
With a GDP of nearly $20 trillion and a citizenry accounting for more than a quarter of the global household consumption, the United States is inarguably the most hyper-consumer economy…
Advertisers have long been known for how well they accept change, pivot to new possibilities and adopt the newest technologies.
Many pundits in the world of marketing and advertising are obsessed with stuff dying. “Radio is dead in 10 years. This study proves it. ” “TV is dying.
Advertisers have long understood the potency of television (TV) as a brand-building medium for consumer products. However, business-to-business advertisers typically kept their distance, and for good reason.
From associate promotions and new team members to awards and events, keep up with the growth and good things happening at Innis Maggiore.