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Dictionary meaning of Positioning is an act of putting something in some one’s mind and in market we put our product in prospect’s mind. A very simple term and if you are good enough it is simple to execute but the art is hard to develop. It is the process by which marketers grab a position or built a position in target audience for its product, brand or organization.
In this consumer oriented market Positioning is a tool to cut down the “noise” and establish a real contact with the customer who results in customers opting for your product rather than your competition. As today’s customer is overwhelmed with unwanted promotion and advertising it becomes very tough for a product or brand to get noticed and after being noticed an urge to get opted as a first preference in target customers.
It’s all about mindshare you hold in prospect’s intellect, better you position yourself greater you achieve what is called as coveted mind share.
A product or brand should always try to have an aggregate perception which is higher than that of its competitor and those who don’t have that kind of percentage should not lose hope as they can very well influence the perception and position their brand through enlightened strategic alliance.
It’s an ongoing process and doesn’t stops at one place because you may get forgotten by your audience so repositioning is needed or if there is any shift in your business for example Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley shifted from investment to commercial banks hence their expectations from investors, clients, employees and regulators all need to shift as per the paradigm and hence the organization needs to reposition itself.
Primary elements of Positioning are:
Quality. Quality is a pre -requisite, it has to be provided by any means and later should be backed by incentives. Back your quality claim with return policy warrantees and customer-friendly guarantees.
Service. Added value in customer service and after sales supports and if the product is customized and personalized.
Pricing. Whether is it luxury, averagely priced or cheap in its sector or very cheap.
Distribution. The channel or distribution and supply chain is part of positioning.
Packaging. Packaging helps in delivering the message you intend for prospect.
Positioning can be distinguished by:
Functional-Solve problems and provide benefits to customers.
Symbolic-self image enhancement, ego identification, affective fulfilment and social meaningfulness
Experiential-Sensory stimulation and cognitive stimulation
What makes this market full of surprises and unquestioned answers that there is no certain way to be a leader in the market .Not even high level of marketing acumen of the company assures success and even while trying positioning, companies end up somewhere else in prospect’s mind and not the place where they intended.
CURRENT MARKET SCENARIO OF SMART PHONES IN INDIA:
Mumbai based Gartner’s research analyst say that smart phones are on the rise and with introduction of new phones in new software, better applications, features and reliable hardware has made it challenging for already established brands in different parts of the market. With the record annual growth of 30% for next five year it is very vital not only for smart phone vendors but also for operators, and OS developers.
India being the 3rd largest market of smart phones after China and Brazil is seeing an intense struggle between various handset providers like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Black Berry, etc. with their tie-ups with different service providers and operators as well as focusing on the software platforms like iPhone OS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian and Palm’s. In 2009 – India witnessed sales of 69 million smart phone handsets, doubling from the 32 million mark reached in 2008.
As far as global market is concerned ,Mr. Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, mentioned that this year saw RIM, a pure smart phone maker making its debut in top 5 mobile devices manufacturers, as well as there was increase its market share of Apple by 1.2 percent points. Android-based phones saw a peak rise of 700 per cent year-on-year which is proving to be a threat to other smart phone makers
Mobile devices market is seeing a double-digit growth of smart phone sales in mature markets, and helped by wider product availability as well as mass market price tags that are in budget of average income group. And particularly in India white -box products has shown growth as per expectation of the manufacturers with healthy traits in future.
If all the Smartphone manufacturers are combined together they share total of 75% of the Smartphone market alone in India and rest 25 % is shared by smaller or followers in the market and the presence is hence insignificant comparatively. So in this year if we refer to the record in India more than 18 percent of the phones sold are Smartphone.
Trend in sales of Smart phones in India is firstly sales start with the early adopters in the beginning as shown at the right, and then as prices drop everyone switches to Smartphone’s replacing there old phones as they have limited features.
In India target segmentation is done on various factors but researchers are also considering or rather already have segmented their target consumers into 3 types’ i.e. Entertainment users, Communications users and Information users.
Now it has been observed that in these segments people pay more or extra for great solutions if their needs are matched in a particular segment. Many failures in mobile market are due to either focussing at a single specific problem or feature or by disrupting the whole package by adding all of it.
Now the numbers of Smartphone are to be doubled by FY11 and this boom is there for upcoming years .Emergence of Smartphone’s was more in the form of service device rather than just another application based model which was the earlier trend shown by the OEM’s. RIM blackberry services saw some mass adoption whereas OVI apps tried to create the same magic but performed average. Despite the variety Symbian has still the monopoly with 72%share in Indian market followed by windows, android and blackberry OS but in upcoming future trend Symbian may lose its market share to its competitors.
POSITIONING OF BLACKBERRY SMARTPHONES IN INDIAN MARKET:
In this “dog-eat-dog” world, positioning a brand is the biggest priority for a product or brand. Creating awareness and then fetching that special place for your brand in the consumer’s mind will be the key in determining the fate of the brand and if brand is becoming a l success or fading away to obscurity and especially in India, Blackberry has done some extensive research as it is one of the fastest growing telecom markets and within high competition has managed to take up a prestigious position settling just after Nokia in market share.
Blackberry is following a simple rule of combining product and service benefits at a fair price that creates value in the minds of customers – which is the key variable for the success in handheld device market. And in the current climate of new entrants in this particular sector and ever increasing competition with very less differentiation among service-product offerings, these manufacturing companies are facing problem in clear communication what makes their offerings special – better than those provided by the competitors.
Features that makes BlackBerry stand apart from rest of the players and clearly stating that quality is inevitable supported by Innovative design and iconic styling that blends optimum display and weight length ratio without compromising ease of use that users expect from their BlackBerry
Unrivalled Connectivity with BB messenger application
warranties and after sales service
Built in GPS Engine
Rich Internet and Multimedia Experience
Full Page Internet Browsing
Including support for streaming audio and video.
Instant Messaging support for multiple communities including Yahoo!, Messenger, GoogleTalk
Social networking communities including FaceBook, Flickr, Picasa
On 25 Sep 2008, number of BlackBerry subscribers reached to approximately 19 million all over the world and the figures in India over these years are so high that they cannot be overlooked because company was able t identify customers requirement of accessing internet specifically emails and social networks on the move .
In start BlackBerry placed itself in minds of corporate executives who are always on the run and with addition of social networking cites and various online applications, brand provided interfaces which also attracted youngsters out of the corporate outlook.
Biggest eye-catching proposition flaunted by BlackBerry Smartphone’s was the idea of remaining connected at all times.
So the first grand step was to position itself as an business executive handheld device which in turn helped in carving out niche for the brand without giving a head on collision with any of its top competitors which was the smartest move of all
Hence BlackBerry became the Corporate Executive phone which was comparatively less famous in youngsters initially.
Now the second way was to enter into non-corporate world of handheld devices where even the ‘uncorporate’ wanted to be in connection or online with their friends and family all the time .And they came up with an excellent promotion stating as
“We are the BlackBerry boys”
which not only included suited up corporate but also baby boomers ,women of every age and cross cultural personnel’s who all enjoy using blackberry as they are in continuous synch with their work as well as connected to family and friends at the same time.
Absolutely brilliant advertising with the pinch of great music and excellent humour banging right on the message brand wants to spread to the target consumers. Now the song “We are the blackberry boys” has been trending into minds of youngsters and BlackBerry lovers. It has left same effect on mass as Vodafone Zoo Zoo’s had done it during IPL.
Blackberry first with the “Pearl” and “Bold” and now with the “Storm” and “Torch” is attempting a change in positioning and moving more towards the “Lifestyle segment” space. This can prove counterproductive for the company because it directly placing itself to its other bigger competitors and directly taking a head on collision in competition with Nokia, LG, Samsung and Apple I phone. In fact the handheld Smartphone models are being actively compared to models of other competitor for example Samsung galaxy, Apple iPhone and Nokia E series. But the real fight is between Apple and BlackBerry for capturing the lifestyle segment and taking the position of that perception in prospect customers.
Now inspired by the advantage of continuous connectivity even if the operators are non functional has allowed along with the host many other manufacturing brands to enter with different applications in order to attract market audience and the argument is on offering of similar features (connectivity) along with a host of other value adding features by the other.. Now these were all physical features of Blackberry and the physical presence always lead to the cognitive, physical cues which in turn act as ‘hints’ for the mind to form interpretations or in other words “positions” itself as a highly technical ,functional and great to use device.
So far I personally believe Blackberry could strategy of positioning is slick and feature laden but in order to expand market the company tried to play with the emotional proposition saying:
“Do what you love and love what you do”
Now this tagline covers all the market sector a handheld manufacturing company wants to because everyone loves to do something and even if they BlackBerry it’s always a non-boring, happy and lovable moments during work hours. It emphasizes on the idea no matter how hard you do something as long as you love to do it and you have a Blackberry with you ,you will do it right.
In one of the advertisements an Asian guy is on his bicycle roaming around seems like a courier guy and uses BlackBerry Torch but he is not a normal courier guy ,he is the current president of SanFrancisco Bike messenger association who is very busy in his work and BlackBerry helps him to be in contact with his family and friends ,manage his work, Blackberry GPS helps him on unknown roads and ways and in the end he loves what he does. Now this leaves a very big message in mind of prospect even if you are a leader an entrepreneur in your small world, business or community you need a blackberry support because even BlackBerry loves what you do.
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