The difference delivers a highly valued benefit to target buyers. DISTINCTIVE: Competitors do not offer the difference, or the company can offer it in a more distinctive way. SUPERIOR: The difference is superior to other ways customers might obtain the same benefit. COMMUNICABLE: The difference is communicable and visible to buyers. PRE-EMPTIVE: Competitors cannot easily copy the difference. AFFORDABLE: Buyers can afford to pay for the difference. PROFITABLE: The company can introduce the difference profitably. Many companies have introduced differentiations that failed one or more of these tests. When the Westin Stamford Hotel in Singapore once advertised itself as the world’s tallest hotel, it was a distinction that wasn’t important to most tourists—in fact, it turned many off. Polaroid’s Polarvision, a unique product (for its time) that produced instantly developed home movies, turned out to offer a benefit no one wanted. Choosing competitive advantages upon which to position a product or service can be difficult, yet such choices may be crucial to success. Choosing the right differentiators can help a brand stand out from the pack of competitors. Selecting an Overall Positioning Strategy
The full positioning of a brand is called the brand’s value proposition —the full mix of benefits upon which the brand is differentiated and positioned. It is the answer to the customer’s question “Why should I buy your brand?” Volvo’s value proposition hinges on safety but also includes reliability, roominess, and styling, all for a price that is higher than average but seems fair for this mix of benefits. Figure 7.4 Possible Value Propositions Value proposition The full positioning of a brand—the full mix of benefits upon which it is positioned. Figure 7.4 shows possible value propositions upon which a company might position its products. In the figure, the five green cells represent winning value propositions—differentiation and positioning that give the company competitive advantage. The red cells, however, represent losing value propositions. The centre cell represents at best a marginal proposition. In the following sections, we discuss the five winning value propositions upon which companies can position their products: more for more, more for the same, the same for less, less for much less, and more for less. More for More “More-for-more” positioning involves providing the most upscale product or service and charging a higher price to cover the higher costs. Four Seasons hotels, Montblanc writing instruments, Mercedes automobiles, LG electronics and appliances—each claims superior quality, craftsmanship, durability, performance, or style and charges a price to match. Not only is the market offering high in quality, it also gives prestige to the buyer. It symbolizes status and a loftier lifestyle. Often, the price difference exceeds the actual increment in quality.
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