Why the Products Inside your Portfolio Should Adhere to the Company Brand

When we hear about brands, we easily come up with products like Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Apple, etc, which shows how important branding is. But let’s see what is an official definition.

According to AIPMM, a brand is ” A promise of benefits that exist in the customer’s minds

But why the brand has such a big impact on our minds? Let’s see some characteristics of brands.

  • A brand is represented by name, term, sign, symbol, or design. We are visual beings.
  • A brand is a personality for your product. Customers use a shortcut in their purchasing decisions – So many times people buy products just because of their brand,
  • It is underpinned by marketing and positioning – professional people are working to position the brand in our minds.
  • It can be valuable: high brand equity firms, these firms can outperform others in the stock market and can command price premiums – some brands our powerful in our society and people buy/invest to them for that reason.

Why new products within a portfolio should adhere to the company Brand.

A company represents a certain brand, for example, apple. This is the position the company occupies in the mind of their customers. The users have associated apple mobiles with a good look, aluminum frame, outstanding quality etc. Now if you are a Product manager of a specific line of products at Apple your products should adhere to those characteristics – no matter if they are cell phones or earplugs etc.  Actually, your line of products could have their brand but you should always align with the organizational strategy of the mother company if you want to have the same success. Just be careful here when your brand is producing products in a different area that you know what the mother brand means to your customers. If you have a product that doesn’t align with your company brand then you should brand it in another way. Think why coca-cola doesn’t name their waters products line “coca-cola”. And here comes the positioning which is the necessary adjustment to adhere to your company brand.

Positioning

According to Al Ries, Jack Trout, “positioning is not what you do to your product, positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect”. You might have different positioning for different segments of your market. An example is Apple where in Denmark is a must brand as most of the people have Apple mobiles, but in Greece is the posh alternative of cheaper mobiles. Positioning is the first step of all your marketing efforts. If positioning is not aligned, then all of your marketing efforts should work in this direction. Positioning goes alongside with your brand and makes you understand what efforts to pursue case by case. When you define the positioning of your brands then you proactively choose target markets and promote sustainable competitive advantage.

Proccess and tools to create your positioning

In positioning you should define clearly the what: it communicates the benefits of your products, answer customer questions”why should you provide my solution?” and it guides all marketing programs and product planning. Don’t forget that not you but also your customers decide the positioning of your brand.

When you define your positioning statement you should always ask why my products and not the competition. A tool that can help it’s a simple chart like below where you position your products alongside with competitors’ products and see the difference.

Another example is below from a portable computer:

Then you should create the statement  of value proposition according to the below format:

For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity) the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefits – that is compelling reason to buy).

And then create the differentiation statement as shown below:

Unlike (primary competitive alternative) our product (statement of primary differentiation)

An example is:

 For gamers who need a remote controller, the Bluetooth V4 joystick is a gaming controller that can work remotely in 4 meters and can connect virtually to any device.

And then create the differentiation statement as shown below:

Unlike Premium Joystick our product doesn’t need any configuration to connect fast to any device.

The next step is to create your messaging platform

After creating the positioning statement which makes you focus on the core value of the product, then you expand your message.this is done by the messaging platform which defines all core messaging for the product. Create common and consistent messaging, saves product marketing time, and marketing artifacts better influence buyers. You create your messaging in the planning phase and then modify it accordingly when you start delivering your products.

As we can see below positioning is the base of all marketing activities

All the marketing campaigns, public relations, product demos etc are alligned with the story that you want to tell.

As you create your positioning list of segments take into consideration the below points:

  • Create key messages, per target market segment, per persona.
  • 3-5 messages per persona,
  • That elaborate on positioning
  • That is written in customer’s language
  • No meaningless words (easy to use)
  • Not advertising language
  • Writing benefit led messages
    • Focus on benefits – how this feature can address needs?
    • What does it mean to the customer?
    • Don’t write about features or technology!
    • Benefits are more important than features!

There is a trick to do that – use the sentence “so that”

Example:

Feature: a smartphone with wide screen

Benefit statement: so that you can watch movies, so that you can see better with the wider screen so that you can take better photos. so that…

Have always in your messages some proof. Which is the reason to believe the message, 2-4 points of evidence per message which makes the benefits tangible, and the sources used. Which can be customer testimonials, unbiased testing, distinguishing features, third party validation, facts, and statistics.

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