Telling a distinctive brand story, from the product offering to the visuals, is crucial – especially in today’s Covid-19 landscape. Consumers are now highly value-driven, and they gravitate towards brands with strong brand positioning: cohesive messaging, key categories and relatable content.
This is why market analysis, to build your brand positioning, is important during the business planning stage. Like building any business, it needs a solid foundation. Brand owners must not only understand what they want to offer to the market but also what the market needs.
But brand owners new to the landscape often conduct research manually. From defining competitors to determining target audiences, the time and resources needed to complete the tasks are long and meticulous.
It also provides an incomplete view.
Markets are rapidly evolving. Every day, new brands are entering an already saturated space, and consumer shifts are ever-changing. The same manual research lacks complete market visibility – a crucial component when penetrating any market.
Developing An Accurate Brand Positioning Map
To accurately see where you stand in the market, and what the market needs, you must build a brand positioning map supported with fashion market insights.
This may seem like a rudimentary process, but it’s a highly effective one if you have the right insights. It allows you to…
- Easily identify white spots and gaps you can fill in the market
- Reach targeted consumers by identifying demand
- Spot rising threats from competitors
Here, we’ve laid down a comprehensive 4-step framework to do so.
Step 1 – Determine Attributes Axis for Perceptual Map
First, you’d need attributes for the Y and X-axis. These attributes should be most relevant to your brand product’s offerings, such as pricing, fashionability, variety, comfortability or brand awareness. These determinant attributes are those that the customer relies upon in their purchase decision.
Each attribute sets should be structured as opposites, ie. High Price vs Low Price; Core Fashion vs High Fashion.
Here are two examples:
- Price: Does your brand adhere to a certain price range? Or are there multiple tiers to the pricing?
- Your products act as the gateway to your brand, so how much they cost directly affects your brand identity. Affordable or luxurious, for example, serves as an identity.
- Fashionability: Couture brands sit at the top of the pyramid due to their high exclusivity. In contrast, fast fashion sits near the bottom of the pyramid, as the segment targets the masses.
- The lower the market segment is positioned, the higher the accessibility. Most market segments, such as modest wear and denim apparel follow this hierarchy too.
Step 2 – Analyse Your Competitors’ Attributes to Plot In
Once you have identified the attributes, you can use it to benchmark against your competitors.
Looking at the comparison between Zara and H&M for the past three months, we can identify their pricing and fashionability to fill in the perceptual map.
Here, both H&M and Zara are in a similar pricing tier, but Zara is slightly on the pricier side.
While both brands do offer in-demand pieces, Zara has a slightly higher fashionability, as it offers satin materials and sleeker cuts. With this, you can clearly see where your brand stands in the market amongst fast-fashion brands Zara and H&M.
If your brand offers high fashion at a higher price range, the map will look like this:
Step 3 – Identify White Spots / Opportunities
Once you have a clear view of the brand positioning, you can easily identify white spots or opportunities.
As both Zara and H&M offer more trend-led pieces, this could be an opportunity for you to branch into offering premium basics, where you can create staple pieces at a higher quality.
But like any ventures, it’s important to take into consideration the risk factors associated such as market needs and the adaptability period.
By developing a brand positioning backed with fashion market insights, brands have a clearer direction in defining a planning strategy.
Understanding brand positioning, identifying competitors and effectively finding gaps in the market are all essential first steps to creating a commercially successful brand.