24 Sep Choose carefully—product positioning can make or break your brand architecture
When it comes to launching new products, purchase interest is only half the picture. Whether or not the new product can be positioned to align with its brand’s architecture—and ultimately strengthen brand equity—should be a key consideration in the decision to launch.
It’s your brand house. Who’s welcome?
Say a complete stranger rings your doorbell. You wouldn’t necessarily let someone you don’t recognize into your home, right? The same goes for your brand house. Every product a company launches under a certain brand needs to be part of the family, so to speak. It needs to “fit” in your brand house. Ushering in a product that can’t be recognized as channeling a brand’s distinct positioning only serves to splinter consumers’ understanding of the brand. Let’s walk through the key steps in keeping your innovative new product ideas in line with your brand architecture.
- Explore multiple positionings.
When new product features have been articulated, the work of defining consumer benefits begins. Here’s where it gets tricky: the benefit of features can be “spun” in multiple ways, and each possible positioning needs to be teased out in differentiated new product concepts. For instance, an appliance that chops veggies may explore positionings around saving time, or keeping your hands clean and dry, or, for the sous chef in all of us, might achieve a unified (better) cut that simply looks better in the end product. Which one of these benefits and positionings are important to your consumer? The same product could have multiple ways to position it, but only a few will “fit” under your branding roof well.
- Weave a single-minded story for each.
Now that you have multiple positions identified for your new product, flesh out the single-minded story for each one. When done well, the story is logical, beginning with a consumer insight that sets up a problem or tension, and allows for the features and benefits to bring home a compelling, new product story all tied up in a nice, neat bow.
- Draw a hard line for brand suitability.
In a critical comparison of new product positionings, or concepts, only one or two will truly jive with any given brand architecture. For instance, if your new product can deliver on efficiency and saves consumers time, but your brand archetype is a Creator brand, for instance, an efficiency positioning may not be the best fit for your new product launch. Can you spin your new features and benefits to better deliver on your brand architecture of the Creator archetype? If so, it likely is a better fit for the long-term equity of your brand. Serving up a variety of brand messages that don’t fit under your brand architecture roof only serves to undermine your brand equity in the long run by confusing consumers about what you really stand for.
- Don’t scrap the misfits.
While only select new product concepts will align closely with your brand’s architecture, ideas that don’t make the cut needn’t be disregarded. They may even seed the development of an entirely new brand within a business and end up capturing market share under a different brand banner. Just look at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group [https://www.drpeppersnapplegroup.com/brands]. This company’s wide-ranging brand portfolio proves that most new product developments can find their way to the market by aligning with a synergistic brand architecture.
Loading the innovation funnel with on-point new product ideas.
As concept writing specialists, Writing by Design has helped many companies ideate around different ways to position new products. And, using our proprietary tools, we’ve helped our consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients choose the positioning that best fits under their brand roof (i.e., the architecture). The results? Confidence in launching a new product that will be synergistic with your brand architecture and solidify brand equity in the long run.
With an education in creative writing and linguistics and professional experience as a copywriter and communications manager, Peter Tolly uses his writing to help others connect with and inspire their audiences.