Brand Positioning: The Shane Company

I used to hate Shane Company’s radio commercials with a passion.  The founder used the same monotone, nasaly voice in every single ad.

But the other day as I was getting ready for work, my ears perked up when a Shane Company commercial came on.  Why?  Because it was pure positioning genius.

Here’s a general idea of what was said.  It’s not verbatim because I could only scribble so fast on a a nearby sticky note.

“Some people have more money than common sense.  They’re willing to pay a 30% premium just to have a designer’s name on their ring.  At Shane Company, the value is in diamond and gold – not in someone else’s name.  That’s why it makes sense to buy from the Shane Company.”

First of all, what is positioning?  There are a million different ways to talk about a brand or product.  Positioning explains to a customer how they should think about your product.  It tells the customer, this is what’s important and this is why our product matters to you.

If you are a luxury jeweler like Tiffany, De Beers, Harry Winston, or Cartier, you might position Shane Company as being cheap and tacky vis-a-vis your own luxury branding.  A female consumer might read fashion magazines and see gorgeous ads of gorgeous jewelry, and sadly wish that her fiance could afford that. She might even feel bitter and angry that she has to settle for an inexpensive ring.

Now, this would be very bad for the Shane Company because they are not competing with luxury jewelers with huge advertising budgets and glossy websites.  The Shane Company’s customer segment is value-driven and has real-life budget constraints, but still wants the romance of a picture-perfect engagement. 

What to do? The Shane Company could pretend to ignore the bigger brands and consumer psychology, and have customers feel ashamed for shopping at their store.

Instead, they instill pride in the act of choosing to spend on the quality of materials instead of a designer’s name.  They position their customers as having a choice, and choosing the Shane Company – not because they don’t have other options, but because they are smart about their options.

If you shop at Shane Company, you’re smart.  You’re smarter than those who get tricked by branding and facetious signs of luxury and prestige.

This is positioning at its best.  As a brand, you must take a stance for how your customer thinks about your brand.  Otherwise, you risk being compared to brands that you don’t want as your competitors, or being put in a category where your best brand attributes can’t shine. 

Don’t risk letting the customer decide for themselves – as a brand, it’s your responsibility to guide the customer with strong positioning.

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UncategorizedWes Kao