"Branding for Builders: Connecting Positioning and Product Management"

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Jul 11, 2023

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"Branding for Builders: Connecting Positioning and Product Management"

In the world of marketing and product management, branding plays a crucial role in creating a successful product. But what exactly is branding and how can it be effectively implemented? In this article, we will explore the key components of branding and how they connect with product management.

The first step in branding is positioning. It is how you describe your product or company in simple terms. This is where the positioning model comes into play. The model consists of three components: positioning, customer benefit, and personality. Positioning defines how you want your product to be perceived by the market. It is the foundation upon which your entire branding strategy is built.

Next, we have customer benefit. This component focuses on how your product benefits customers. It is important to clearly communicate the value proposition of your product and how it solves a problem or fulfills a need for the customers. This is where you highlight the unique selling points and features of your product.

The third component of the positioning model is personality. This is how you want your brand to relate to customers. Do you want your brand to be seen as straightforward, friendly, or innovative? Defining the personality of your product helps create a connection with your target audience and sets the tone for your marketing efforts.

Once you have established the first three components of the brand definition, it's time to dive deeper into the brand pyramid. The brand pyramid adds two additional elements: aspiration and emotion. Aspiration focuses on how your product can make a dent in the universe. Think of it as the long-term impact your product can have on the world. It is about thinking big and inspiring your team to build something truly remarkable.

Emotion, on the other hand, is all about making your brand memorable. Incorporating emotion into your brand framework helps create a lasting impression on your customers. It is what sets your brand apart from the competition and makes it resonate with the target audience. Emotion is a powerful tool in branding that should not be overlooked.

To bring it all together, the headline serves as the executive summary of the entire brand definition. It encapsulates all the components of the positioning model and the brand pyramid. It should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Remember, consumers are busy and don't have time to parse complicated ideas. Keep it simple and focused.

Now that we have explored the components of branding, let's take a look at how it connects with product management. Product management is responsible for bringing the brand to life by building a great product. It is the bridge between the brand strategy and the development and launch of the product.

In the 0→1 phase of product management, the focus is on achieving product-market fit (PMF). This is where the product manager works tirelessly to iterate and improve the product, aiming for a 10X improvement rather than incremental growth. The emphasis is on speed and agility to find the right product-market fit.

On the other hand, in the 1→N phase, the product manager has already achieved PMF and is now focused on scaling the product. This is where the hockey-stick growth curve comes into play. To achieve this growth, the product manager needs to further enhance the unique value proposition of the product, making it difficult for competitors to replicate.

For example, Netflix invests heavily in content, while Amazon invests in logistics. These investments are meant to enhance the value proposition and differentiate their products from the competition. In the 1→N phase, it is crucial to continually strengthen the product's unique selling points and create a competitive advantage.

In conclusion, branding and product management are interconnected in creating a successful product. By effectively implementing the components of branding, such as positioning, customer benefit, personality, aspiration, and emotion, product managers can build a strong brand that resonates with the target audience. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to keep in mind:

  • 1. Simplify and focus: When defining your brand, be brief and focus on a few easy-to-communicate ideas. Consumers don't have time for complicated messages, so keep it simple and clear.
  • 2. Think big: Incorporate aspiration into your brand framework. Consider the long-term impact your product can have on the world and inspire your team to build something remarkable.
  • 3. Test, test, test: Use A/B testing, focus groups, and surveys to gather feedback from consumers. This will help you refine and improve your brand strategy over time.

Remember, branding is not just the responsibility of the marketing department. It is a collaborative effort that involves the entire organization. By understanding the connection between branding and product management, you can create a vibrant and world-changing brand.

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