Product Positioning Guide

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Launch & Go to Market, Playbooks | 0 comments

What is Product Positioning?

Product positioning refers to how you want your company to be perceived by your target audience in comparison to its competitors.

To define an effective product positioning, it is essential to understand your target audience’s needs and preferences, as well as the competitive landscape and market trends. This is something you did if you completed the previous toolkits and hopefully as well if you worked on your own.

This information can help you develop a proposition that communicates how your product or service solves a particular problem or meets a specific need better than the alternatives. A well-defined product positioning strategy can help you differentiate yourself from competitors, attract and retain customers, and drive business growth and success.

As mentioned, if you completed the previous toolkits, conducted your customer and competitor analysis, and defined your company vision, your value proposition, and branding strategy, today will be mainly about recapping and concluding your positioning.

If you are working in a team, get them together to recap on your target customer segment, value proposition, and branding strategy, and decide on your final positioning for your GTM strategy.

Note: 🍋 Throughout this guide we will use the example of a food supplement company to better illustrate each task and information.

What is Product Positioning Good For?

A well-defined product positioning is crucial for businesses of all types, offering a range of benefits that contribute to long-term success:

  • Competitive Differentiation: Clearly defining your product positioning helps you stand out from competitors, making it easier for customers to understand why your offering is superior.
  • Customer Attraction and Retention: Effective product positioning resonates with your target audience, attracting their attention, and building loyalty over time.
  • Business Growth and Success: By aligning your product positioning with customer needs and market trends, you can drive business growth and achieve long-term success.

How to Define Your Product Positioning Step-by-Step:

Step A: Product Positioning Template

Step B: Target Customer Recap

Step C: Value Proposition Recap

Step D: Branding Strategy Recap

Step E: Positioning Map

Step A

Product Positioning Template

To define your product positioning you can either build your own whiteboard template for example on Miro or you can use our ready-to-use template along with this guide.

Included Templates:

Product Positioning Miro Board

Step B

Target Customer Recap

First of all, let’s take a look at your target customer segments and customer personas again. As mentioned earlier, if you completed the previous toolkits, you already defined your target customer segments and personas. And even if you did not complete the toolkits, at this stage you are hopefully clear about your customer segments and personas.

During the product/service testing and validation phase, however, you probably gained new insights and information that you want to include for your GTM strategy.

Customer Segments

✅ Start by reviewing your target customer segments. Add them to the first area of your Product Positioning 📒 Template and incorporate any new findings and insights. Make adjustments if required.

Remember, a customer segment is a group of customers who share similar characteristics and needs. It is a subset of a company’s target market.

To identify and describe the target customer segments, you can use variables such as demographics (age, gender, income, education), psychographics (personality, values, interests), behaviors (purchasing habits, product usage), and geographic location.

Customer Personas

✅ Now, move on to your customer personas and do the same. Add your customer personas by filling in the variables on the persona profiles in the first area of your Product Positioning 📒 Template and incorporate any new findings and insights.

Remember, customer personas, or buyer personas, are fictional characters created to represent different customer segments. A persona is a detailed, realistic, and relatable description of a typical customer within a specific segment. This can include data such as their demographic information, psychographic information, preferences, shopping behavior, and so on.

Step C

Value Proposition Recap

Now let’s take another look at your value proposition. If you completed the previous toolkits, you went through the whole value proposition definition process. And if you worked on your own, you hopefully took the time to properly identify your value proposition before building your product/service.

Remember, your value proposition is the unique benefit that a product, service, or business offers to its customers or target audience. It is a promise of the value that a customer will receive from using a product or service, and it serves as a key differentiator between competing offerings.

Value Proposition Features

✅ So first, go ahead and add the feature elements that make up your value proposition, as well as the ones of your competitors, to the next area of your Product Positioning 📒 Template. By features and elements, we mean the pain point solvers, gain providers, and the products & services that you are offering to your customers. Use the different colored post-its to differentiate your business and the various competitors.

And of course, you want to include any changes that you made to your value proposition since you initially defined it, for example, in case you gained new insights during your user testing and validation phase.

Value Proposition Statement 

✅ Now, also add the value proposition statement that summarizes in one or a few sentences what you are offering to your customers. Add your own statement as well as those of your competitors.

You can formulate your value proposition statement using the 4 part structure: 

  • Problem Statement: What is the problem you are solving with your product/service?

  • Benefit: What benefit does your product/service offer that solves this problem?

  • Product/service category: What is it that you are offering? Which term does describe your product/service?

  • Target Customers: To whom are you offering this product/service?

If you completed the toolkits, you can just go back to your competitor analysis where you should have already identified your competitors’ value proposition statements. Go ahead and copy them to your Product Positioning 📒 Template.

Step D

Branding Strategy Recap

Next let’s recap on your branding strategy. If you completed the branding strategy & design toolkit you worked through your branding strategy step by step and if you worked on your own you hopefully as well have a defined branding strategy at this stage. 

✅ First, add your brand purpose using the golden circle and your brand values to the Product Positioning 📒 Template. 

The Golden Circle is a concept introduced by Simon Sinek that helps you to identify your brand purpose by focusing on three questions: Why, How, and What.

  • Why: This is the purpose that drives the organization. It’s the reason the organization exists beyond making a profit or providing a service. It’s the “why” that inspires employees and customers and gives meaning to the organization’s work.
  • How: This is the unique way that the organization operates or delivers its products or services. It’s the “how” that sets the organization apart from its competitors and provides value to its customers.
  • What: This is the products or services that the organization offers. It’s the “what” that is visible to the outside world and that customers can see and touch.

The brand values are the core principles and beliefs that guide a company’s decisions, actions, and behavior. They are the fundamental beliefs that a company holds about what is important and what it stands for. Brand values are the foundation of a company’s brand identity and help to shape its culture, vision, and mission.

✅ Then add your brand attributes and archetypes to your Product Positioning 📒 Template. Again, if you completed the ideate & design toolkit you should have identified and listed them already.

In case you still need to define them, remember, you can use the “your brand is/is not” exercise by selecting adjectives that describe your brand best (is) and finding an opposing pair (is not). For example, you could say: “Our brand is down-to-earth but not ordinary.”

For brand archetypes, remember that they are a set of universal, symbolic characters or personas first introduced by psychologist Carl Jung and that represent different aspects of human nature, behavior, and desires.

Here is a list of the 12 archetypes and their meaning in case you need them again:

  • The Innocent: represents purity, ideals, and the pursuit of happiness. This archetype is associated with brands that promote simplicity, naturalness, and a sense of community. ➡️ Characters: Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Mowgli from The Jungle Book
  • The Creator: represents originality, innovation, and artistic expression. This archetype is associated with brands that are unique, independent, and that break away from conventions and traditions. ➡️ Characters: Tony Stark/Iron Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Steve Jobs, Frida Kahlo
  • The Hero: represents courage, leadership, and the pursuit of excellence. This archetype is associated with brands that inspire confidence and empower their customers to achieve their goals. ➡️ Characters:  Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, Superwoman, Captain America
  • The Caregiver: represents compassion, generosity, and a sense of responsibility. This archetype is associated with brands that prioritize the well-being of others and work to make a positive impact on the world. ➡️ Characters: Mother Teresa, Dr. John Watson from Sherlock Holmes, Mary Poppins
  • The Explorer: represents adventure, freedom, and the pursuit of knowledge. This archetype is associated with brands that encourage customers to take risks, step out of their comfort zones, and experience new things. ➡️ Characters: Indiana Jones from the Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Dora the Explorer
  • The Rebel: represents nonconformity, individuality, and the rejection of the status quo. This archetype is associated with brands that challenge the status quo and inspire customers to think for themselves. ➡️ Characters: James Dean, Jack Sparrow, Furiosa Mad Max
  • The Lover: represents romance, passion, and the pursuit of connection. This archetype is associated with brands that evoke feelings of love and connection and that help customers to create meaningful relationships. ➡️ Characters: Casablanca’s Rick Blaine, Juliet – Romeo and Juliet, Rose from Titanic
  • The Jester: represents humor, playfulness, and the celebration of life. This archetype is associated with brands that bring joy and laughter to people’s lives. ➡️ Characters: Jim Carrey’s character in The Truman Show, Bugs Bunny, Phoebe Buffay from Friends
  • The Sage: represents wisdom, knowledge, and the pursuit of understanding. This archetype is associated with brands that provide a sense of guidance and enlightenment. ➡️ Characters: Yoda from Star Wars Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter
  • The Magician: represents transformation, vision, and the power of imagination. This archetype is associated with brands that help customers to achieve their goals and realize their full potential. ➡️ Characters: Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Glinda the Wizard of Oz
  • The Regular Guy/Girl: represents relatability, down-to-earthness, and the everyman. This archetype is associated with brands that are accessible, honest, and easy to relate to. ➡️ Characters: Jerry Seinfeld from Seinfeld, Forrest Gump, Bridget Jones
  • The Ruler: represents authority, power, and the pursuit of success. This archetype is associated with brands that inspire confidence and empower customers to take charge of their lives. ➡️ Characters: The Queen from The Crown, Miranda Priestly – The Devil Wears Prada, Harvey Specter – Suits

Step E

Positioning Map

And finally with all this in mind you can now define your positioning using a positioning map. As mentioned in the beginning your positioning is how your brand and products/services are perceived by your customers relative to those of your competitors. 

So with your target customers, value proposition and branding strategy in mind you can now demonstrate where you want your products/services to be positioned by using a positioning map. 

A positioning map is a visual tool that helps you identify your position relative to competitors in the minds of consumers. It is a two-dimensional diagram that plots your and your competitors’ brands or products based on specific attributes or characteristics that are important to consumers.

✅So use your Product Positioning 📒 Template and choose two different attributes or benefits that consumers consider important when making purchasing decisions, now the x-axis and y-axis represent either of the variable you chose.

Then plot your competitors on the map based on how they perform on each of these attributes, with the distance between each brand indicating the perceived difference in their performance. Finally place your own brand on the map indicating where your brand should be positioned relative to your competitors’.