Establishing the Right Frame

Establishing the right frame of reference for your product or service is important because prospective customers hate confusion and have a tendency to default to incumbent options whenever it’s present. Effective framing signals the job that your product or service will do. It also dictates the types of associations that will function as points of parity and points of difference. Finally, the right frame of reference accelerates understanding by leveraging mental frameworks that are already familiar to potential customers.

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Establishing Points of Parity

One of the most common misperceptions about positioning is that it should focus almost exclusively on differentiators. Points of parity are the minimum requirements to compete in a given category and they can be just as important to your success as differentiators. But establishing points of parity isn’t enough, they must be communicated repeatedly to prospects in order to lower their barriers to uptake. Finally, points of parity are always evolving so brands need to keep pace with their respective categories and develop new sources of differentiation when necessary.

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Choosing a Compelling Point of Difference

Brands differentiate in one of two ways. They leverage performance associations when features are easy to assess prior to purchase and they leverage image associations when they are not. Regardless of the path they choose, their differentiators must meet three fundamental requirements. They must be relevant to decision making, credible to customers and unique to the brands that claim them. Finally, points of difference change over time so brands must seek new sources of differentiation when previous differentiators become points of parity.

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Cardinal Academy