a. Critically examine the concepts of a brand’s “positioning”, its “position”, and its “essence/core values’.
Brand Position can be seen as a brand’s social standing in consumers’ minds. It is built by strong physical experience that customers gain from the brand. At the same time, “these brand experiences must be aligned with customer expectations and supportive of the brand position” (Semans, 2009). The establishment of the brand position also depends on how the brand targets its customers and market. For example, when people talk about BMW, they most likely think of high social status because BMW’s brand position is relatively high. Whereas people who drive a Volkswagen are regarded as ordinary ones for Volkswagen actually targets these ordinary people. Hence, the two brands have different position. To sum up, the service or experience companies provide should be consistent with the expectations (Semans, 2009) that come from level the brand lies. And that level, including social, emotional and economical factors, can be regarded as brand position.
Brand positioning is a process or action to establish a unique brand image matched initial products and to design an overall image, thus the target consumers’ minds are occupied with a unique value of the brand after a comprehensive analysis of the target market and competitive conditions in the premise (Sengupta, 2005, Brand Positioning: Strategies for Competitive Advantage). It needs to be decided by the company and adjusted due to environment and market changing. It also involves in figuring out “who the target consumer is; who the competitors are; how the brand is similar to these competitors and how it is different from these competitors” (Keller, Aperia and Georgson, 2012, pp104). Brand positioning helps marketers and managers better find out points of difference and parity with other products or brands. With a precise brand positioning, the company can quickly build brand image by appropriate market campaigns and marketing communication. It is vital in the whole marketing process and brand management.
“Core values are traits or qualities that considered not just worthwhile, they represent a company’s highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and core, fundamental driving forces. Core values define what the founders believes and how they want the company resonating with and appealing to employees and the external world” (Heathfield). Unlike brand positioning, core values are constant unless significant changes happen to the company. They are like guide lines or principles of the company, and they are what the founders believe in. Core values can be seen in how the company conducts itself, the quality of the products and the welfare of the employees. They are also strong enough to shape a company’s culture. It shows how far the company could go and what kind of organization the company would like to be.
b. Make clear how they relate to one another. Use concrete examples whenever possible.
Essence/core values are guide and foundation of a company, they help the company build the organizational culture and lead the company onto the way of a constant development. Core values reflect what kind of the company the founders want to start and they are the bases of the company’s strategies---the brand positioning, build brand equity, etc.
While brand positioning is related to specific actions or campaigns. With core values guiding, it focuses on target consumers, points of difference and parity and so on to shape the brand image. “ Its purpose is to ensure that all employees within the organization as well as all external marketing partners understand what the brand most fundamentally is to represent to consumers so that they can adjust their actions accordingly” (Keller, Aperia and Georgson, 2012, pp147).
Brand position is built relying on core values and brand positioning. For example, brand