On my home from campus one evening, I found myself reflecting heavily on a topic we covered in class. The students are developing a business plan for a start-up company this term, and they were to determine the market positioning. This is not a physical place in the market, but a unique space a business occupies in the minds of consumers. With so many options available in today’s market, companies must have a strategy to influence how consumers perceive them. Market positioning is the activities involve in creating the image companies want them to have.
The reality is, though, with or without a strategy, consumers will form a perception about a company eventually. The objective of positioning is to bridge the gap between the perception consumers have and how the company wants to be perceived. Companies that are well-positioned operate in such a way that when the need for a product they offer arises, they stand out above the competition.
For example, in class, I asked my students which company comes to mind when they think of shoes. In one voice, they said “Nike”. When I mentioned Walmart, they said convenience.
It was that part of the class discussion that stayed with me. As I made my way home, I wondered: What space do I occupy in the minds of those with whom I interact? Is it Godliness? Jealousy? Dependable? Selfishness? What brings me into focus when that unique space is tapped?
Every day, we interact with people, and, whether we intend to do so or not, we fill spaces in each others’ minds and form perceptions about one another. Some say they don’t care about what people’s perception is of them. They don’t have time to worry about that. They know who they are and that's all that matters. I admit, I’ve said that. To some degree, too, as an individual that type of thinking is necessary for the sake of sanity. (lol). I recognize now, the risk in that is we give up control of our “positioning”.