Market Positioning: Beyond Buzzwords

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In a world of imitations, strive for authenticity, connect genuinely, and adapt; that’s the essence of crafting a unique, lasting market position. To evolve authentically and emphasise value, here’s how to embrace the long game…

“Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder,” or so they say.

However, when it comes to a brand, a product, or a company, positioning from a marketing perspective can be much the same. Most marketers will tell you how and why it is important to define a brand relative to competitors. They will tell you it is crucial because it effectively helps your brand or company stand out by highlighting its unique attributes or benefits. It guides marketing strategies, target audience identification, and communication efforts to create a distinct, favourable image. It’s a key element in differentiating products or services in a crowded market, ultimately contributing to a brand’s success and long-term competitiveness.

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Given how important this is for a company and its top and bottom line, market positioning is one of the several critical assets in business.

But that’s where most businesses flunk in maximising its true potential.

Why is that?

Of course, this is the key question—why do businesses falter in maximising the true potential of market positioning?

To me, their lack of understanding and inconsistent implementation are two main reasons to begin with. Most businesses do not fully grasp the intricacies of their target market or fail to understand the needs and desires of their customers. Finding market requirements and user expectations for a product like theirs is rudimentary. But understanding the needs and desires of customers goes a level or two deeper, often resulting in inconsistencies in the implementation of strategies, whether in marketing, sales, or both.

The goal is still the same—to create a unique market positioning, maintaining it, and improving it continuously. Just that how it is done must change with the new ways of working.


Anand Tamboli is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, award-winning author, and an emerging-technology thought leader

Effective positioning is all about highlighting what sets a brand apart in terms of solving customer problems or fulfilling their needs. Some businesses focus too much on the features of their products or services rather than emphasising the benefits and value they bring to customers.

In most cases, this is not intentional on their part. It is just that they cannot categorically identify what their customers consider as features and what are essentials.

Failure to do that (identification) often means you will emphasise a feature instead of functions that are critical to your positioning.

They maintain only a short-term focus

Many marketing executives are short-term focused, i.e., annually focused. They fail to maintain a long-term focus, which is important for brands’ long-term success and stronger positioning. A short-term focus may give immediate top-line or bottom-line results but, overall, it does not make your business any healthier.

Businesses that prioritise short-term gains over long-term brand building may neglect the sustained effort required for successful market positioning.

Building a strong position takes time, consistency, and a commitment over the long haul. It is not a momentum game (in the context of a longer-term vision), it is the game of consistency.

When businesses look at market positioning only from a narrow perspective of marketers, it can be limiting. It may be good but not good enough.

This is where a slightly unconventional and holistic view is essential. Businesses that do so are better positioned to navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace. They are better placed to create lasting connections with consumers.

So now the question is: What can you do to develop better and stronger market positioning?

How can you do that?

While one article may not be enough to get to the bottom of this, let me try and give you at least a few pointers to get started.

Try co-creation with customers

Invite customers to actively participate in the development and evolution of your brand. This could involve crowdsourcing ideas for product features, involving them in the design process, or seeking their input on marketing campaigns.

This collaborative approach will not only enhance the customer experience but also strengthen your brand’s connection with the audience, reinforcing a unique market position rooted in genuine customer collaboration. The keyword, of course, is ‘genuine.’

Carefully explore brand activism and social impact

Please take this tip with a pinch of salt as well as caution.

Taking an unconventional approach by aligning your brand with a meaningful cause or engaging in social activism can be quite a strong statement. Unfortunately, many brands are trying to get on this bandwagon with superficial activism efforts that are limited only to advertisements and short-term campaigns.

But the ones who mean it and can demonstrate it through their operation throughout are seeing a massive difference in improved positioning. People respect you taking side and clarifying your positioning for doing so.

So, demonstrate a genuine commitment to positive change and actively contribute to social or environmental issues. This not only differentiates your brand but also resonates with socially conscious consumers, creating a unique market position based on values and impact.

Personal brand is bigger than business brand

And finally, like it or not, this is one of the harsh truths of today’s business landscape. People are fed up with polished high-end branding exercises. But make no mistake… it doesn’t mean you should get scrappy and skimp on quality. It simply means that polished high-end branding is not a differentiator anymore; it’s a necessity. Without that, you don’t even qualify.

But once you qualify, then it’s all about a genuine connection with your customers.

When we launched the first season of the ‘Visible Founders’ programme, we saw it firsthand. Every story that had a deeper authentic connection won more kudos. People were able to empathise with those entrepreneurs more and, as a result, their perception of the business changed drastically. This significantly helps improve the market positioning of all those businesses.

The point is…

Market positioning lies in the eyes of your customers. But as things evolve, this positioning must evolve with time too. However, when everyone has access to the same set of tools, when imitation is quicker and easier than genuine differentiation, one must change the approach.

The goal is still the same—to create a unique market positioning, maintaining it, and improving it continuously. Just that how it is done must change with the new ways of working.


Anand Tamboli is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, award-winning author, and an emerging-technology thought leader

This often leads to ineffective communication and mixed messaging.

There are three key issues that make businesses err and flunk.

They fail to evolve

For the most part, every business is a momentum game nowadays. Momentum is great when you are on the right path. But it becomes detrimental when there is a market shift, and your direction is wrong.

Whether it is branding, positioning, or simply any product strategy, if the market changes, consumer preferences evolve, your business must evolve too.

Businesses that do not adapt their positioning strategies to reflect changing trends, technological advancements, or societal shifts often become outdated, stale, and irrelevant.

They overemphasise features

Effective positioning is all about highlighting what sets a brand apart in terms of solving customer problems or fulfilling their needs. Some businesses focus too much on the features of their products or services rather than emphasising the benefits and value they bring to customers.

In most cases, this is not intentional on their part. It is just that they cannot categorically identify what their customers consider as features and what are essentials.

Failure to do that (identification) often means you will emphasise a feature instead of functions that are critical to your positioning.

They maintain only a short-term focus

Many marketing executives are short-term focused, i.e., annually focused. They fail to maintain a long-term focus, which is important for brands’ long-term success and stronger positioning. A short-term focus may give immediate top-line or bottom-line results but, overall, it does not make your business any healthier.

Businesses that prioritise short-term gains over long-term brand building may neglect the sustained effort required for successful market positioning.

Building a strong position takes time, consistency, and a commitment over the long haul. It is not a momentum game (in the context of a longer-term vision), it is the game of consistency.

When businesses look at market positioning only from a narrow perspective of marketers, it can be limiting. It may be good but not good enough.

This is where a slightly unconventional and holistic view is essential. Businesses that do so are better positioned to navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace. They are better placed to create lasting connections with consumers.

So now the question is: What can you do to develop better and stronger market positioning?

How can you do that?

While one article may not be enough to get to the bottom of this, let me try and give you at least a few pointers to get started.

Try co-creation with customers

Invite customers to actively participate in the development and evolution of your brand. This could involve crowdsourcing ideas for product features, involving them in the design process, or seeking their input on marketing campaigns.

This collaborative approach will not only enhance the customer experience but also strengthen your brand’s connection with the audience, reinforcing a unique market position rooted in genuine customer collaboration. The keyword, of course, is ‘genuine.’

Carefully explore brand activism and social impact

Please take this tip with a pinch of salt as well as caution.

Taking an unconventional approach by aligning your brand with a meaningful cause or engaging in social activism can be quite a strong statement. Unfortunately, many brands are trying to get on this bandwagon with superficial activism efforts that are limited only to advertisements and short-term campaigns.

But the ones who mean it and can demonstrate it through their operation throughout are seeing a massive difference in improved positioning. People respect you taking side and clarifying your positioning for doing so.

So, demonstrate a genuine commitment to positive change and actively contribute to social or environmental issues. This not only differentiates your brand but also resonates with socially conscious consumers, creating a unique market position based on values and impact.

Personal brand is bigger than business brand

And finally, like it or not, this is one of the harsh truths of today’s business landscape. People are fed up with polished high-end branding exercises. But make no mistake… it doesn’t mean you should get scrappy and skimp on quality. It simply means that polished high-end branding is not a differentiator anymore; it’s a necessity. Without that, you don’t even qualify.

But once you qualify, then it’s all about a genuine connection with your customers.

When we launched the first season of the ‘Visible Founders’ programme, we saw it firsthand. Every story that had a deeper authentic connection won more kudos. People were able to empathise with those entrepreneurs more and, as a result, their perception of the business changed drastically. This significantly helps improve the market positioning of all those businesses.

The point is…

Market positioning lies in the eyes of your customers. But as things evolve, this positioning must evolve with time too. However, when everyone has access to the same set of tools, when imitation is quicker and easier than genuine differentiation, one must change the approach.

The goal is still the same—to create a unique market positioning, maintaining it, and improving it continuously. Just that how it is done must change with the new ways of working.


Anand Tamboli is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, award-winning author, and an emerging-technology thought leader

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