If you want to be better than other brands on the market you need first of all to determine the status of your own brand and its main competitors. Marketing needs to understand what the existing brand landscape looks like from customer perspective and which perceived relative strengths and weaknesses determine the selection of your brand or its competitors.
Yet research across companies shows that most marketing managers can not identify with confidence the brand associations as well as the strength and relevance of those associations. In most companies a lot of know how is available concerning factual category needs and brand benefits. However, most often limited knowledge exists about the emotional category and brand benefits (which get more and more important as the real market drivers.) Therefore most managers are for example not able to explain in a cause-and-effect chain why a specific brand is bought and not one of its competitors. This knowledge, however, is essential if marketing wants to influence consumers' behaviour and choice of brands systematically by means of an optimum product positioning and well targeted communication. It must know the causes or motives behind purchasing behaviour as well as its barriers. Competitive advantage can come only from a solid foundation of knowing your customers and how they choose. The so called trial and error approach is rarely successful.
The individual buyer generally prefers a brand which most closely meets his ideals, needs and wishes, even though he may often not be consciously aware of them. This means that marketing professionals must understand consumer’s individual needs structure in order to tailor his perceived brand´s ability to satisfy these needs.
We consider it as important that we go beyond a conventional attitude & usage survey - via measuring the ideal wishes. Because just a description of the status of your own brand and its main competitors provides only limited insights for future orientated strategic decisions how to systematically guide a brand to higher turnover and profits. - A simple example may be helpful: Just assume you see a consumer with a lukewarm cup of tea. If you don’t know if he prefers his tea ice-cold or hot, it remains unclear, what to do in order to increase his satisfaction.
Positioner is a test approach which combines the advantages of an image analysis, market segmentation, a concept test and a classic analysis of market gaps (needs or need profiles which are not being met). Positioner goes far beyond a mere description of the status quo, because it reveals how a brand’s market position can be further optimized. In addition to this, special analyses ensure that reliable evaluations of the brand’s uniqueness, its main competitors and volume sources can be made. And the key market drivers can be identified. We know of no other procedure which can forecast with such accuracy which direction is most promising for the re-launch of an existing brand and what changes are to be expected on the market following the launch.
The needs structure of a target group simply shows the reason for choosing a brand. This reason for buying is the brand concept encapsulated in the positioning. It guides companies in tailoring their product and service offers to the consumers need structure(s).
Special multi-causal analysis can be used to identify the best positioning option for your brand on the following five relevant dimensions:
R. Mayer de Groot u.a.: Erfolgreiche Positionierung: Warum Marktsegmentationen oft falsch sind, Eppstein 2008
R. Mayer de Groot: International brand guidance research leads to success, Eppstein 2007
R. Mayer de Groot: “Produktpositionierung”, Köln 1984