Positioning and Branding
Positioning is a marketer’s attempt to create a favorable opinion of a product or brand in the mind of the consumer. Positioning supplies information, data, images to influence the consumer’s perception of the product or brand.
“Branding,” according to Marian Wood “is the use of words, designs and symbols to give a product a distinct identity and differentiate it from competitive products.”
I think branding is more than this.
I agree with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh; your culture is also your brand. In Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Passion, Profits and Purpose he stated that he wanted the Zappos brand to be more than just shoes. He goes on to say that companies are mostly remembered for the customer service they provided. If a company consistently offers poor customer service then that becomes their brand. That’s what they’re known for. Continental Airline customers were sorely disappointed by the United merger because the United brand for many passengers equates to poor customer service. Tmobile customers let out a collective sigh of relief when the AT&T merger fell through. Why? AT&T’s brand is associated with poor customer service.
This culture is your brand philosophy is reflected in the company’s core values. They are:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
In the company’s infancy, the decision was made to make excellent customer service their platform. They created a culture geared around providing excellent customer service to customers and vendors and that became the Zappos brand. The Zappos brand is not just about shoes or a symbol, but instead it’s about a company’s culture and I wholeheartedly agree.
Zappos has done so well with branding, positioning and culture development that they created Zappos Insights; a service that shares what it has learned and accomplished. It’s all part of Mr. Hsieh’s commitment to running Zappos as transparent as possible. Here they share what they’ve learned and mastered in creating the company culture you truly desire.
Everything a company does is a reflection of the brand and works to position the company in the mind of the consumer. For Zappos, the branding strategy took care of the positioning strategy.