Positioning Categories

What are the main ways to position a product?

Brands/products can be positioned in many different ways in the marketplace.

However, there are several major categories of positioning approaches, which will help us understand the range of positioning options available.

The major positioning categories include:

  • positioning by product attribute (product feature and/or benefit),
  • positioning by user,
  • positioning by product class,
  • positioning versus competition,
  • positioning by use/application, and
  • positioning by quality or value.


Main Categories of positioning

Positioning Category


By product attribute A product attribute is a specific feature or benefit of the product. Positioning in this way focuses on one or two of the product’s best features/benefits, relative to the competitive offerings.
By user This positioning approach highlights the user (the ideal or representative target consumer) and suggests that the product is the ideal solution for that type of person and may even contribute to their social self-identity.
By product class This positioning strategy tends to take a leadership position in the overall market. Statements with the general message of “we are the best in our field” are common.
Against competition With this approach the firm would directly compare (or sometimes just imply), a comparison against certain well-known competitors (but not generally not the whole product class as above).
By use/application With this approach, the product/brand is positioned in terms of how it is used in the market by consumers, indicating that the product is the best solution for that particular task/use.
By quality or value Some firms will position products based on relative high quality, or based on the claim that they represent significant value.
By using a combination of the above options Some products/brands are positioned using a combination of the above positioning options. However, care needs to be taken not to clutter and confuse the message by trying to connect with too many competitive advantages.


Which positioning approach to use?

One of the key goals of positioning is to be able to enter an existing competitive market, by highlighting some unique features, benefits, and advantages to the end-consumer, with the goal of winning market share (often from selective demand). With this task in mind, the following table of questions can act as a guide to the selection of an appropriate positioning statement.

Area to consider

Questions to ask

Market gaps Where are their gaps in the target market?Why does the gap exist?Can we fill the gap?
Substance/support Do we have the capability to deliver on this positioning promise?Can we really produce high quality products or compete on price? How we will compare to our competition when we get to market?
Market need Would this positioning space appeal to the target market?Which features/benefits are of most interest to target market?
Competitive barrier Will this be a long-term positioning?How easily could this position be duplicated by our competitors?
Profitable What level of sales/profits is likely to flow from this positioning?Can we develop a supportive marketing mix on a cost-effective basis?
Communication Is the positioning statement easy to communicate via media?Will it be simply understood by the target market?