Branding and positioning almost always involve theft and warfare.
The meaning of your brand and the “position” you want in the minds of consumers is usually already occupied, or at least contested, by another brand. Somebody else owns, or is trying to own, what you want because there are only a few positions worth owning. If you want to plant your flag on a certain piece of mental real estate, you’ve got to remove the flag of your competitors first. Either steal the land out from under them or fight for it: theft and warfare.
Look at past marketing campaigns and you’ll see plenty of examples. When they started out, Energizer Batteries were trying to de-throne Duracell. If Energizer was going to increase their mental real estate in the minds of consumers, they had to have a strong branding campaign to overtake their competitor.
Energizer determined that in their industry, the only three qualities people care about are:
So, Energizer spent their marketing dollars on that bunny that just kept going and going and going…until it had stolen the “long-lasting” position from Duracell.
Energizer could have taken a different attribute with far less effort and expense, but it wouldn’t have been worth owning. Energizer now owns “long-lasting” and Duracell has switched to advertising “reliability,” simply because it was the only thing left to take that was still worth owning.
The point is, it’s almost never enough to position your brand; you have to de-position your competition as well, and if you decide to try and take a position that someone else already owns, you’ve got to be willing to commit to a long-term branding campaign to do it.
Play To Win
If you’re going to be victorious in the Battle of Branding, you’ll need to stay consistent in your marketing messages, dominate and own a “position,” and then tell everyone over and over again…just like the Energizer Bunny!