The decision to reposition your brand should not be taken lightly and shouldn’t be solely linked to a change in brand management or agency. The evaluation of your positioning should occur yearly during brand planning using an approach that we call positioning triangulation. The three key coordinates that you need to triangulate are the following:
- Planned Positioning – This is the brand positioning and corresponding message platform that you have written in you brand plan and should be populated in your creative briefs
- Promoted Positioning – This is the gestalt of the messaging that actually clears your organization promotional review process and is communicated to your target audience through field force and promotional materials
- Perceived Positioning – This is the playback, usually via your ATU, of how your target audience internalizes the messages you’ve communicated about your brand
The 3 elements above form a virtual triangle reflecting the success of your brand positioning. By ‘measuring’ the distance between each of the legs on the triangle, key diagnostics are revealed that help the brand manager determine the right course of action.
For example, large discrepancies between the planned and promoted positioning within the triangle could reveal different potential culprits such as:
- Brand Team – Planned positioning is not only emotionally aspirational, but also clinically aspirational making successful execution all but impossible
- Ad Agency – Creative development process does not use the planned positioning as the central yard stick
- Promotion Review Team – Regulatory viability of the planned positioning is suspect watering down promotional claims developed by the advertising agency
So before someone announces that it’s time to reposition your brand, take a step back and look at the evidence. Better yet, hire an expert who can objectively evaluate the evidence and make impartial recommendations.
You may be surprised to find that your brand doesn’t need a complete overhaul in its communication platform. If it does, at least you’ll know which leg of the triangle you need to attack.