Positioning Example: Banks versus Credit Unions


A Good Example for Understanding Positioning

Positioning is how the firm or brand wants to be perceived by consumers relative to its competitors. It is a very important topic in the study of marketing and usually forms the basis of a firm’s competitive strategy. Typically the firm structures its entire range of  marketing mix elements around their chosen positioning.

There are a number of ways of constructing positioning in the minds’ of consumers, such as by highlighting product benefits, or product attributes, or by user or usage and so on.

However, this below video provides an excellent example of how to position against competitors – in this case, credit unions versus banks. It is also a very clear example of what is meant by brand personality. Basically, brand personality is where the brand can be easily perceived as a person with distinct traits and values.

Credit unions are member-owned (or customer-owned) financial institutions. And, as such, generate profits simply for their capital reserves and for the long-term financial security of their members. Credit unions have tended to use this point-of-difference when communicating their benefits to the marketplace.

In this video, you should note the following key points in terms of how credit unions position against banks:

  • Credit unions emphasize that they have members – not customers or stockholders
  • As a result, they care about their members
  • They also try to have close relationships with their members
  • It is a clear use of brand personality to communicate their overall positioning
  • Therefore, credit unions are positioned as friendly, caring, likeable and member-focused
  • Banks, however, are positioned as awkward and not good with people
  • Banks are also positioned as seeing stockholders as far more important than even their customers
  • Therefore, overall banks (in this video) are being positioned against credit unions as profit-driven, non-social, manipulative (by changing their story throughout) and a little confused about what consumers really want.

Note: A comparison of the execution of this ad against an almost identical version is discussed in this article. (This extra article is designed to highlight how different executions of communication messages will affect the overall persuasiveness of the message.)

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