Over-positioning Jonathan Poland

Over-positioning refers to the practice of positioning a brand in a way that is too narrow or limited, potentially limiting its appeal to consumers. This can occur when a brand focuses too heavily on a specific product feature or aspect of its identity, to the exclusion of other important considerations.

For example, if a brand positions itself as the most affordable option in its category, it may appeal to price-sensitive consumers. However, this positioning strategy may also limit the brand’s appeal to customers who are willing to pay a premium for higher-quality products. Similarly, a brand that positions itself as the most luxurious option in its category may appeal to high-end consumers, but may not be as attractive to more budget-conscious shoppers.

Over-positioning can also occur when a brand becomes too closely associated with a particular product or service. For example, if a brand is known primarily for a single product, it may be difficult for it to successfully expand into other categories or markets. This can limit the brand’s growth potential and make it more vulnerable to competition.

To avoid over-positioning, it’s important for brands to take a holistic approach to their positioning strategy, considering all relevant factors such as target audience, competitive landscape, and overall business goals. By taking a more balanced approach to positioning, brands can better position themselves to appeal to a wider range of consumers and better protect themselves against the risks of over-positioning. The following are illustrative examples.

Functions that don’t draw much interest. For example, late model VCRs that featured advanced video editing features for a premium price.

Features that few customers find interesting or useful. For example, including an overhyped technology in a product that doesn’t need it such as artificial intelligence for a can opener.

A high quality item in a market where customers are primarily concerned with price. For example, printer paper made with an exotic wood such that it has a much higher price than average.

Excessive variety that doesn’t attract interest. For example, standard pens available in 50 colors when most customers want blue, black and red.

Styles that appeal to a small niche that isn’t enough to support sales.

A brand identity with an excessively small target market. For example, a brand of electronics for extreme weather golfers.

Exotic flavors that few customers are brave enough to try such as a watermelon flavored rice ball.

Package sizes that customer’s don’t need such as an unusually small bottle of water.

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