The context in which a brand is used can provide huge positioning opportunities for brands either by understanding the context in which a brand is already used or by associating your brand with a specific usage occasion (for example, “Take a Break, Take a KitKat”).
Another example is Beats by Dre, which became the leading brand of headphones with a claimed 70% market share. It was intentionally associated with the pre-game moments where athletes try to focus on the game by blocking out all the noise, criticism and selfdoubts, and basically get mentally ready for the game. By doing so, it took the category generic functional benefit of “noise cancellation”, created an association with this very specific and relevant listening occasion, and turned it into a relevant consumer benefit of “achieving focus”.
In other cases, the brand can identify new positioning opportunities by understanding the context in which they are already used by consumers. The brand of beer you drink in public, for example, makes a conscious or unconscious statement about who you are. A marketing team at Dos Equis understood that the last thing its core audience (young males) wanted in a social context like a bar was to be perceived as boring. Their solution? The famous and highly successful “The most interesting man in the world” idea which allowed its drinkers to gain social cachet and appear more interesting than they probably were.
5 Thought Starters
- List all the usage and consumption occasions of your brand. Where is your brand typically used or consumed, with whom and why?
- What meaning is associated with those moments?
- If the usage occasion is social, what does the consumer say about herself using that brand? What and how do others associate with this consumer?
- What do they communicate about themselves when consuming the brand at these occasions or events or locations? What potential fears or barriers do people have in that specific context?
- What role would your brand need to play in that context to either tap into those desires or help consumers overcome their fears?
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Ulli Appelbaum, excerpted from his book The Brand Positioning Workbook
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