Positioning: It’s The “Magic” In Marketing.

2 Apr


Perception is reality.

In the late 70’s while in college, I worked as a package designer in Los Angeles and got involved in the cusps of a feminine fade that spread across the country. No, it wasn’t the Farah Fawcett look! It was a product that promised women youth and beauty. A wonder drug that helped remove age spots and fade away wrinkles.

My assignment, I so boldly accepted, was to design an eloquent package for this new fountain of youth product. I was instructed to spare no expense, a directive rarely given to me though my wife follows it often, when buying shoes.

I used embossing, glossy varnish, rich gold foil , and a host of other printing and design tricks to make the package and product look as if it were of the highest quality.

Immediately after the project was done, I received another assignment from the same client; to design a package for a product that promised youth and beauty to women who used it. A wonder drug that helped remove age spots and fade away wrinkles. Sound familiar?

I wasn’t having a déjà vu. The client wanted to offer the same product but with a different brand name and price point. This was going to be sold for about 20% less, if I recall correctly.

Positioning establishes a product’s image.

When the second package design was completed, I asked the client why he would want to compete with himself.

Two reasons he explained. The first, if I don’t compete with myself, someone else will!

Secondly, the less expensive product will help position my more expensive Vitamin E oil into a class all its own. Women want only the best when it comes to their cosmetics.

They want hope that something will make them look better and younger and the more expensive the product, the more hope it will give them.

Oh no. Was I part of a consumer conspiracy? I didn’t want any part in this diabolical scheme to fool the public or at the very least middle age women with disposal income.

People pay for feelings.

We have all bought something to make us feel better. A Gucci handbag holds the same amount of stuff as an ordinary purse that is 70% less and doesn’t necessary look that much different. A Rolex watch keeps the same time as a Seiko.

Many car enthusiasts believe the top of the line Hyundai Equus is as good a car as the Mercedes-Benz sedan. It has a better warranty, handles better, has fewer problems, cost less to maintain, looks as good and is half the price. But how many people would prefer driving it?

Luxurious items make us feel better. Right or wrong, that adds value.

The next time you buy something, ask yourself how important packaging and pricing is playing on your decision-making process. They are the key components to positioning, and positioning is the magic in marketing!



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