Position your brand to gain a competitive advantage

By Krista McNamara

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.08.39 PM

PUERTO RICO — Set your brand apart in the eyes of your customer in order to gain a competitive edge.

“Customers care what your brand stands for, what it offers and why it is different.” Don’t worry about your name, logo or tagline. A well-positioned brand can change perceptions, drive loyalty and get a premium price, in turn driving sales and profits, said Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group, during a presentation at the 2014 CARSTAR National Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Warren Ellish addresses CARSTAR 25th Convention in Puerto Rico

Warren Ellish addresses CARSTAR 25th Convention in Puerto Rico

Branding expert and franchise marketing speaker Warren Ellish

Branding expert and franchise marketing speaker Warren Ellish

“To gain a competitive edge, you need to have as large a core of brand advocates as possible,” he said. How do you build brand advocates? As an MSO, “you need a brand that is properly and consistently positioned.” Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and making an impression that will last. Positioning is the way you want the customer to think about your product or service relative to competing brands,” says Ellish, who is also a senior lecturer at Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management.

There are three areas to be tackled in brand positioning:

• Point of difference: The specific consumer benefit you want consumers to associate most readily with your product. What is different about your brand? What does it offer that other brands can’t?

• Frame of reference: What business are you in? The consumer group of like products and services

• Market target: Consumers that you consider to be good potential users for your product or service.

“When customers come in, they have chosen your brand over others. To gain a competitive edge, you have to wow every customer. They must feel like we truly appreciate their business, and leave with a great feeling about doing business with you and your brand,” Ellish says. “When you deliver on these critical things, you will profitably build your business and that of everyone

else in your brand, and together we will build a large base of brand advocates.”  “There is power in numbers, so use your scale to your advantage. Each and every good and bad review reflects on the entire brand. You are one brand. Keep the message consistent and leverage your scale. Stand as a unified brand, and you will gain a competitive edge,” he says.