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Positioning Your Product

Positioning, in business terminology, refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from the products of the competitors. This concept is associated with branding.

It helps to visualize this. Assume you have a graph with a y and x axis. At the top is “Expensive” and the bottom “Inexpensive”. On the right is “High End” and on the left is “Discount”.  If you had to position different Smartphone brands, where would they go?

I would certainly place Nokia and Motorola in the bottom left quarter of the graph, between “Discount” and “Inexpensive”. I would place Apple, the Iphone, and the Samsung Galaxy in the top right quarter of the graph, between “Expensive” and “High End”.

This is just an example of a very basic visualization of a positioning of a product or brand, but nonetheless can still help. If you’re a small business owner, marketer, or inventor, it’s nice to physically see where people rate your product or brand in relation to others. Once properly visualized, more thorough questions can be asked about why it is that way or what can be done to change it.  Note too, that this is simply someone’s perception of your brand and product, but it may not in reality be that way.

The axis’ I used here were expensive, inexpensive, discount, and high end, but there are tons of variables you can use. For example, when you’re trying to figure out where to position your product or brand (where you want it to be perceived at in comparison to other products or brands) you may consider some of these variables:

High End vs. Common

Expensive vs. Inexpensive

Utilitarian vs. Difficult

Reliable vs. Unreliable

Beautiful vs. Ugly

Fast vs. Slow

Quality vs. Poorly Made

Safe vs. Unsafe

Durable vs. Weak

And the list goes on..

Companies and organizations compete to establish their own identity amongst their competitors. If the demand for that identity is high and an organization is able to take that, success often follows. Each industry considers an incredible amount of variables while trying to position its product or brand. Nordstrom, Hugo Boss, and Dillards, for example, have high markup costs; in other words, the cost to make that product is very small compared to the amount it will sell for. They can successfully do this because they have a positioning of “high end” and “quality” in the minds of the general public. I certainly think they have high quality retail, but it doesn’t mean the production costs are drastically higher than other retail stores (although I could be wrong). Subaru has a positioning of very safe automobiles, and McDonalds is the king of “fast food” for a reason.

Understanding where your product or brand is positioned in relation to your competitors is crucial to knowing how to best establish your company identity and take advantage of your target market. Talk to your customers, let your guards down, and let them tell you what they think. You might be surprised...



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  • Grant,

    I thought this was a great post! I like all the information that you included. You made it easy to understand. One point that I especially loved was at the end when you mentioned that if the companies that have an identity that people want often are most successful. I think this is true! Great job! I learned quite a bit more information than I knew about positioning a product.


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