Rebirth Of ‘Positioning’ – Brand Wikization
December 19, 2007
Team Leader – Web Content
So ‘positioning’ is dead if Larry Light, McDonald’s chief global marketing officer, is to be believed, but ‘Marketing’ per se is not. So long as there will be products and services to sell, even in a single vendor market, people will try to influence the customer’s psyche making it favorable to those products and services.
So ‘dead’ is not the right word to describe whatever is happening with the concept of brand positioning. This is more like paradigm shift. The fulcrum of branding, as we know it, has shifted towards customers, the end users, a rather difficult position for the companies to let go of something as decisive and strategic as branding, but totally appropriate in the times of Web 2.0, the going mantra of professional web development and search engine marketing companies.
Now Web 2.0 is all about letting the end user, the long tail decide what it wants to see and popularize, a case of virtual word-of-mouth. Same is the case with what has become of ‘positioning’. What has emerged is what McDonald’s calls “Brand Journalism,” and what Nick Wreden terms as ‘Brand Wikization.’ Let’s now see what changes have dawned with this paradigm shift.
To start with, let’s define “Brand Journalism” first. “Brand Journalism” is tweaking of brand communications to suit targeted markets and targeted customers, and only them. It involves adapting the messages to the media in which they appear. This customer driven focus is of great importance for a strategic internet marketing service providers as better and much expensive physical infrastructure would be required to support higher but largely useless traffic which a ‘going everywhere’ advertising campaign would entail.
Why Brand Journalism?
Because journalism is just telling many facets of a story to diverse groups of people in a way that it appeals to each one of them. Exactly the same is the target of global conglomerates such as McDonald’s. And their new strategy has given rise to their current campaign, “i’m lovin’ it.” This campaign is working because it appeals to different target audiences as everyone can “love” the product in a variety of ways as per their understanding, customs, way of living…whatever.
Yet another and more interesting term for brand journalism is “brand wikization”, coined by Nick Wreden.
Much like wikis, written collaboratively by contributors from all over the world, which reflect a common judgment on an issue, brand wikization involves letting the users i.e. customers define a brand as per their needs and understanding.
Brand wikization has numerous advantages over “positioning.”
- It is a customer-driven, not a corporate-driven, strategy, hence the better one as customer is telling you what he wants. What else you as a corporate want in this highly-fragmented, highly competitive world.
- Wikization forces companies to respond to customer requirements, or risk their brand. So no more rigid branding strategies. The strategies are fluid, constantly changing shape reflecting the ever changing market and adapting to the upheavals.
- Most importantly, wikization is measurable. If you can measure what customers want through market research techniques then you can measure how you are faring against these parameters for accountability.
So in a customer driven market it pays to let customer show the way. This way companies can “position” themselves where customer-driven consensus wants them to rather than indulge in unilateral corporate posturing. Instead of focusing valuable resources on branding, companies and strategic marketing service provider firms (Internet focused or not) must strive to defining, delivering, measuring and sustaining the value that customers feel they receive.