Personal view

 

Brand Positioning: Getting into the mind of the consumer

 

by Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke
The objective of brand positioning is to place a brand that is clearly distinguishable from competitors’ brands on the market. The principal objective is to ensure that the brand occupies a unique position in the market and that it is endowed with a precisely defined profile. The easiest way of getting into someone’s mind is to be first. As far as my experience goes it is very easy to remember who is first, and much more difficult to remember who is second. In 1959 for example a family-owned German company invented the first clip folder that gripped documents securely without damaging them by punching. The Duraclip folder with its special steel clip was born.
The classic branded Duraclip is today available in the same style and quality all over the world. In the international office supplies market, it is undisputedly one of the most significant brands and has become synonymous with quality. As a registered and protected trademark, Duraclip folders lead the global clip folder market with sales of more than 800 million in 80 countries, making them the most successful business folders worldwide.
The company I am talking about is Durable, established in 1920 and today one of Europe’s largest office products manufacturers with a number of manufacturing sites and subsidiaries across the world. A brand renowned for delivery of high quality and innovative products, industry leading customer service and award leading sales and marketing support but with one crucial problem: within the Durable brand portfolio, there are sub-brands that are even more known as the corporate Durable brand itself. Take Duraclip, for example.
In order to differentiate, a brand has to continuously analyse its role and – if necessary – reinterpret it. And to re-think a brand means to identify new mental and emotional scopes. What does the brand mean to consumers? Which ideal, emotional, cultural and ethical values represent the brand? How is the brand geared for the future? What chances are there to expand the brand’s potential into new segments that have not been seen before?
These questions were the starting point for the search of a brand identity which took place at Durable and was pursued for about two years.
In co-operation with renowned brand consultants and design agencies, market and target group analyses and focus group interviews were carried out, the result of which then determined the new positioning of the brand.
Accordingly, our company’s strategy focuses on niche positioning in the premium segment, setting itself apart, and above all, by adding emotional value.
The findings were only based on the result of consumer feedback, which confirmed that we already hold a prominent position in the competitive field.
Numerous discussions with buyers, secretaries and SOHO users revealed that our products are generally regarded as first-class office supplies, characterised by high quality standards in design and workmanship. Comments such as ‘excellent quality’, ‘innovative products’, ‘functional’, ‘very good design’, ‘prestigious’, ‘and extremely durable’ underlined the highly positive brand image. Our plan is to focus and build on this strength by adding value to consumers through differentiated, innovative, quality products that meet their needs; and help them to create a professional impression. We see ourselves as leaders in innovation and design, distinguishing ourselves from our competitors.
At the same time, consumers see us as a manufacturer of premium office and presentation products – a position hardly reached by any of our competitors. This is the strength we must build on.
Now this new brand positioning has to set us apart as a unique supplier, distinguishing us emotionally from our competitors. Our new slogan: ‘The Style of Success’ expresses this way of thinking. We want to demonstrate that we develop office organisation and presentation systems that optimise the professional image and thus the success of their users through perfect functionality, excellent design and visible high quality of the materials. The first results sound encouraging: The new brand identity was unveiled at this year’s Paperworld show, along with the strap-line: ‘The Style of Success’ and the new product packaging design gaining a very positive customer’s feedback.
As a conclusion, I want to re-emphasise again that our new brand positioning and Consumer Intelligence is not a new internally developed marketing strategy but purely based on the feedback of our most important target groups.