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The Importance of Brand Positioning


What is brand positioning

When you hear Walmart what comes to mind? How about Apple or Chik-Fil-A? The idea or understanding you have about a brand is the brand positioning that a company represents/means to you.

Brand positioning is “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market” (Marion, 2022).

Occupying a 'space' in the consumers brand is a constant or revolving thought. For instance when a consumer thinks of grocery shopping there are specific companies that one may shop at out of preference.

Walmart’s brand positioning history

Walmart has created a mighty shift in their brand and what they represent. Walmart was most commonly known for their low prices. Although, the perception was with low prices comes low quality.

Their slogan is “Always low prices“, mission statement “to save people money so they can live better”, and their vision “Be the destination for customers to save money, no matter how they want to shop.” (Missions Statement Academy, 2019).

Prior to their revamp in 2008 to a refreshed brand they were well known not only for low prices but sought to have low quality products. While being known for their ‘cheap’ focus, they were “[N]ot seen as a smart choice for clothing, home décor, electronics, prescriptions and groceries, categories the retailer has identified as priorities as it tries to turn around its slipping store sales… [and their] low prices actually suggest low quality” (Barbaro, 2007).


Due to Walmart’s over-focus on promising discounts to consumers and saving money, their brand identity was failing to relay the message of good/same quality with a low price. With this things took a turn and their profits were decreasing (Barbaro, 2007) and it was time for a new strategy in conveying the right message to its consumers.


Rebranding the brand identity of Walmart

Walmart decided to begin a brand revamp they would start with their very own product line, Great Value. To do so Walmart begins its reconstruction process by recreating its products to ensure they have better quality. Walmart did so by testing its Great Value brand against other popular name brand products to guarantee he quality is the same if not better.


As Andrea Thomas (Walmart SVP) stated, “Through our Great Value brand re-launch, we are delivering on our promise to provide customers with the quality products they need and want at a price they can afford to help them save money and live better” (Walmart, 2009).

Since the revamp Walmart has seen a continuous increase in their sales. In addition to their strategy in rebuilding the Great Value brand, they recreated the experience “For customers who shop in person, the chain has improved its quality with revamped produce sections and higher-end exclusive or private-label apparel, food and nonfood items. Plus, it’s sprucing up the appearance of its stores.” Which in turn has now led to a constant breakthrough in sales (Neff, 2017).


Initially, the naming strategy that Walmart started with focusing on the brand on it’s low prices, which in return left the consumers feeling they were receiving low quality.

Creating the brand image

When a company is developing a brand name its crucial that they focus on the various aspects of the representation for their brand. According to Designing Brand Identity, by Alina Wheeler, when naming a brand its important to judge against the positioning goals, performance criteria, and availability (pp 144, Wheeler, 2018).


In making the initial brand identity one strategy that should have been used are the words to make up the name in context. According to Oxford dictionary, discount, cheap(er), or low price can also translate to low quality, a mark down, and low grade (Oxford, n.d.). By using this strategy to test the name in a group of comparisons or even to send a survey to consumers to get their understanding and perception with the definition of a low price prior to the brand naming and even during the revamp process to better advertise the right message to consumers.


References

Barbaro, M. (2007, May 30). Is Wal-Mart Too Cheap for Its Own Good? Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/business/media/30walmart.html


Marion (2022, March 9). A Simple Definition of Brand Positioning Retrieved from The Branding Journal: https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2016/11/brand-positioning-definition/


Missions Statement Academy. (2019, July 12). WALMART MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT ANALYSIS. Retrieved from Mission Statement Academy: https://mission-statement.com/walmart/


Neff, J. (2017, September 27). HOW WALMART FOUND ITS FOOTING IN THE AMAZON ERA. Retrieved from Ad Age: https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/walmart-found-footing-amazon-era/310599


Oxford. (n.d.). Definition of Cheap. Retrieved from Lexico – Oxford: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/cheap


Walmart. (2009, March 09). Walmart’s Revamped Great Value Brand Delivers Affordable, Quality Choices When Consumers Need Them Most. Retrieved from Walmart: https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2009/03/15/walmarts-revamped-great-value-brand-delivers-affordable-quality-choices-when-consumers-need-them-most


Wheeler, A. (2018). Designing Brand Identity. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781119375418/cfi/5!/4/4@0.00:39.7


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