Owning Your Market Position

by | Jul 28, 2009 | Consulting, Leadership

“Avis is only No.2 in rent-a-cars.

So why go with us? We try harder…

In the early 60’s, Avis turned its floundering company around with this new positioning statement. For years Avis lost money, but after months of research, and the development of this new positioning campaign, their profits skyrocketed into the millions.

The most successful positioning statements are simple to understand and repeated year after year after year… “We try harder” is still the “soul” of the Avis brand over 45 years later.

One of the most difficult aspects of Brand Positioning is developing that one specific concept that expresses your uniqueness. Too many times we try to be “all things” to “all people”. The biggest enemy of successful positioning is often ‘confusion’.

What position do you own?

In their classic book “POSITIONING: The Battle for Your Mind”, Al Reis and Jack Trout explain the importance of bringing on an outsider who isn’t familiar with the inner-workings of your organization. “And what does the outsider supply? An ingredient called ignorance. In other words, OBJECTIVITY.

By not knowing what goes on inside the company, the outsider is better able to see what is happening on the outside…The outsider is more attuned to outside-in thinking, while the insider is more comfortable with inside-out thinking…objectivity is the key ingredient supplied by the advertising or branding communications agency”.

We’ve all heard the term “rose-colored glasses”. Well, the glasses need to come off, and the egos need to be placed in check to get an honest assessment of the brand position you already own in the minds of your prospects. This information needs to come from the marketplace, not from your marketing manager. It is absolutely vital to know exactly what you are up against, and to completely understand the big picture. One of the most critical aspects of effective positioning is being able to evaluate objectively. This is why an outside agency is so effective. They bring a fresh look by evaluating objectively from the customer’s or prospect’s point-of-view.

Primary market research like polls, questionnaires, and focus groups will be invaluable when developing a successful Brand Position. Your agency can supply these tools and also bring access to a variety of existing secondary market research, studies, industry white papers and published reports. They can help you better understand your market and competition, identify existing opportunities, and develop an effective plan for you to own this position in the marketplace.

The first rule of positioning is to win the battle for the mind. The trick is, you need to own the position, and then integrate and express that unique position consistently through all of your branding points, or everywhere your product touches the market (website, printed collateral, media, etc.).

Everyone assumes Avis was successful because they tried harder. That wasn’t the case at all. Avis experienced its success because of how effectively their agency used the ‘against-position’ with Hertz. People love the underdog, and Avis owned that position brilliantly.

So, I’ll ask again, what position do you own?

Please call us today to discuss how Infinity Concepts can bring outside-in thinking to your organization.