Getting inside your customer’s mind – Marketing Position

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Ask most people what they consider is the safest brand of car, and the first one they’re likely to suggest is a Volvo. In this VLOG, Grant explains why.

Do you feel like you’re taking your life into your hands when you get into a BMW? Of course not, and yet; if you asked most people to tell you a safe car brand, the first one they’re likely to say is Volvo.

The fact is that most major car manufacturers produce safe cars and we all know that, and yet Volvo has spent almost all their communications, making sure they own that position in the market place. Positioning happens in the customer’s mind. In terms of their customers, most people think of Volvo as THE safe car.

The key to market positioning is owning a distinctive place in the market so customers can see how you could be relevant to them. With positioning, in order to be effective, you’re not going to try and convince the customer of a different reality, which in a few words of an advert or a vlog or a blog is very difficult, but you’re going to leverage what already is happening and use it to your advantage.

For example, there was a time when two out of every three soft drinks in America that were bought, was a cola drink, either Coca Cola or Pepsi. Trying to convince the American public that they don’t like cola drinks – and they’d like to drink something else – was a ridiculous thing to try and do. But 7up didn’t do that. They branded themselves the ‘uncola’ and in so doing position themselves as the direct alternative to a cola drink. When you didn’t fancy Coke or Pepsi, 7up was there.

Positioning happens in the customer’s mind.

Of course, they were loads of other alternatives to cola drinks; from orange juice or apple juice to the plethora of other soft drinks available, but by positioning themselves as the ‘uncola’ in the customer’s mind as soon as they didn’t, fancy a Coke or a Pepsi, 7up was the first brand that would come to mind.

Another classic example is Avis. They were number two to Hertz and trying to convince the American public that they could be number one, was simply ridiculous because Hertz dominated the market. But Avis didn’t do that, Avis did something else. They said, we are number two in the car rental market, so why go with us? ‘We try harder.’

Of course the allusion was we try harder than Hertz but they didn’t actually say that. Avis had lost lots and lots of money, but as soon as they positioned themselves as number two – and, therefore, they try harder – they attracted customers.

So think about the customer perceptions in your marketplace and how you can leverage that to give your company a distinctive position.

And now I’ve made sure my life insurance is up to date because I’m going to take a spin in my classic car…. My Lada?

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