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Brand positioning: Spotting the opportunity and defining your place.

A group of yellow plastic ducks in water for Buzz Project brand positioning article

In our last post on brand strategy, we talked about the importance of understanding exactly where you sit amongst your competitors, by spending some time comparing their offering and their values to those of your own business.

It's not until you look more closely that you can see where your opportunity lies, and spotting the opportunity is how you really begin to define and position your brand.

Set some boundaries

If you're a small business and not operating solely online, chances are your audience - and therefore your competitors - sit within a geographical range. You probably have a good sense of who you're competing with, but keep an eye out for new competitors in your space.

If you're an e-commerce business shipping to multiple countries, you can use keyword search data and other platforms to help you understand who you're competing with - and it's not always who you think it might be. Ubersuggest is really useful for finding out who is appearing in the same searches as you, and SimilarWeb is a brilliant tool for investigating competitors, with a very useful free trial.

Simple research

We recently conducted positioning research for a client; comparing the competitor market and looking for similarities and differences between the client brand and those others.

We asked: How do they present their product? What do they charge for it? How do they talk to the customer? How do they promote themselves? We also considered: Where do we overlap? What do we do differently? What do they stand for?

Ultimately, we're asking - what will make us stand out here?

This doesn't have to be a complex data analysis, and what bits of information you choose to compare will be guided by your own brand values and what you care about as a business.

If you're operating in a space where everyone's offering seems very similar, it's about searching out those small distinctions, identifying the benefits you offer that your competitors don't, and developing these into more tangible elements of your brand that you can use to your advantage.

Use visual positioning maps to help you identify these opportunities more easily, comparing price/value with those benefits or values that are of most importance to you.

Spot trends

Checking out the competition is also great way to see what they're doing differently and to get ideas for new products or services. You can sign up to their emails, follow their socials, and get even greater insight into what they're doing.

Alongside your competitor analysis, it makes sense to look out for any changes in consumer behaviour too, as this may impact on your product or service. SEO keyword monitoring tools are really useful for this, as you can see what your audience are searching for - and what they're not. For our client, we were able to quickly spot trending searches among their audience. We were able to feed these trends back to the client, and use this information to help us position the brand more effectively.

Spot the opportunity

Once you have all this information in front of you, spell out exactly what you're seeing in your research and positioning maps - it might be:

We offer a sustainable product but at a very competitive price point.

We offer free delivery and 24hour customer support, our competitors don't do this.

We make our product locally, our competitors are sourcing more widely.

We are more expensive than our competitors so we need to speak up about our quick service/ better quality product / free delivery.

What are you seeing as your opportunities amongst the competition?

Use the statements you've created to really pin down what you're doing well so you can highlight it more. This whole process with help you really understand your own brand better, and you'll be clearer about how you want to talk about your business, and how you're going to present your business to your audience - all based on sound market knowledge.

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This is part of a series on brand development for small brands:

Stand out from your competitors: Mini brand strategy for small business

Photo by Tomas Horak on Unsplash


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