Last week I posted an article explaining the basics of Product and Brand Positioning (a marketing concept). I have received several messages asking for techniques for evaluating positioning. Below therefore is a tutorial of how to map your brand or product against that of a competitor.
In this example we’ll use three well known car brands; BMW, Lexus and Mercedes. These three brands all compete in a similar market segment however target slightly different consumers’ wants.
How to map against competitors
Step 1: Select Consumer perceived Categories
What is it that defines the brand (or product)? In this step the key differentiators (from a consumers perspective) are listed. In our example we are analysing the positioning of brands within the premium car market segment. For categories for this market segment I have listed six of the most common customer purchase factors; Cost of Ownership, Exclusivity, Quality, Luxury, Sports Appeal and Reputation.
Step 2: Select Competitors
Select those products or brands against which you want to compare your product or brand. For our example the full set of brands are; BMW, Lexus and Mercedes Benz
Step 3: Identify Category Position
On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being ‘very low’ and 5 being ‘very high’) what is the consumer perceived value for each category. It is important to research and use objective data to complete this step so as to avoid biases. In our car example my table of brands, categories and scores looks as follows:
|Cost of Ownership||Exclusivity||Quality||Luxury||Sports Appeal||Reputation|
Step 4: Map and Compare Positions
Next, simply create a graph from the data and analyse the figure.
As can be seen from our quick car brand analysis, the three brands compared have similar customer perceptions however each occupies a unique position; BMW has the highest ‘Sports Appeal’, Lexus is the ‘Quality’ and ‘Cost of Ownership’ leader and Mercedes is perceived as best in ’luxury’. It’s interesting to note that Lexus is deemed as having the least ‘Sports Appeal’; Lexus will be releasing the LFA sports-car soon perhaps in an attempt to boost the brands ‘Sports Appeal’.
Existing versus Required Market Positioning
Of course, with minor adjustment, this technique is also very useful for mapping existing positioning versus required positioning (i.e. to create a positioning Gap analysis).