What Is Repositioning?

Updated August 2, 2023

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A woman with her hand under her chin is standing and thinking next to a list titled "Benefits of Repositioning" with the bullets:
• Improving sales
• Increasing competitiveness
• Diversifying your target market
• Promotes business agility
• Make positive changes

In the world of marketing, repositioning is an exciting opportunity to give a product or service a much-needed update. Repositioning involves drastically altering your brand to change what customers think about your products. If you are interested in learning about the effects of repositioning, you will need to understand how it works and what it entails.

In this article, we will define the term repositioning, explain what the process of repositioning involves and discuss how your brand might benefit from repositioning.

Read more: The Value of Increasing Your Business Vocabulary

What is repositioning?

The term, "repositioning," refers to the process of changing a target market's understanding or perception of a product or service. A product's positioning involves what customers think about its features and how they compare it to competing products. Therefore, repositioning involves completely altering how the target market perceives the product. Repositioning is often a challenge, especially for brands that are well known to the public.

Companies choose to reposition products for a variety of reasons. If a product is performing poorly or causing the company to lose money, it may be cost effective in the long term to reposition the item or service. If there has been a major shift in cultural trends or the economy, it may be necessary to reposition a product to make it more relevant.

In some cases, companies find it easier and cheaper for the brand to discontinue the product and launch a new one instead. Whether or not repositioning is the best strategic choice depends on the company and its circumstances.

Related: Learn About Being a Product Marketing Manager

What does repositioning look like?

Repositioning campaigns can take several forms depending on the specific needs of the product. Some repositioning efforts focus on improving a brand's customer relations. As social media platforms have gained more influence, many brands have used repositioning to connect with internet users by increasing the brand's presence online. Other brands find it necessary to reposition due to public relations fiascos or negative press. Changing the public's perception of a product is a critical part of overcoming a bad reputation or responding to complaints.

Repositioning often includes a shift in the brand's overall message. In recent years, many companies have repositioned products to be more eco-friendly to show the company's commitment to preserving the environment. Others have adapted messages of giving or societal responsibility and have established charity foundations or service projects. Companies who successfully change their message can create an updated, cohesive identity that resonates with the current market.

Repositioning can involve changing other aspects of a brand or product, including:

  • Product price

  • Marketing strategy

  • Target audience

  • Customer engagement

  • Color scheme

  • Logo design

  • Tagline

Read more: 4 Steps to Building a Brand

Brand repositioning vs. rebranding

The concept of repositioning can be confused with the idea of rebranding, but there are several key differences. When you reposition a product, you are changing the way your customers perceive a familiar brand. This can involve establishing a new mission statement or message, introducing new products or altering the way your brand communicates with customers. The goal of these changes is to regain the trust of your most loyal customers while also appealing to the target market.

Conversely, rebranding involves entirely changing the identity of your brand. This may include designing a new logo or choosing a new name for the brand or certain products. Rebranding allows a company to build a new identity from the ground up. The goal of rebranding is often to distance the brand from its previous reputation and to facilitate a fresh start for the company.

Related: 7 Ways to Market a Small Business

How to know if your brand could benefit from repositioning

Repositioning involves a significant amount of commitment, time and effort, but when done well, it has the potential to revitalize a struggling brand or product. There are several specific reasons you might consider repositioning. For example;

You want to target a different audience

In some cases, a company may longer be able to make sufficient profits by targeting its original audience. An example of this would be if the target market was a specific age group that eventually outgrows the product. Frequently, companies choose to target new audiences simply to widen their appeal and increase their revenue. Effective repositioning can help you market a product to a previously inaccessible audience.

You have updated your product or service

As companies age, their products or services inevitably undergo some updates and changes. Technological advances, federal regulations and cultural shifts are just some factors that might influence a product's evolution. Repositioning can be an effective tactic for informing the public of these changes and marketing the product accordingly.

You need to compete with other brands

Competition is one of the most common reasons for repositioning. As your competitors continue to introduce new products, they may start to offer items similar to yours for lower prices. To combat this, you could reposition your product by altering the quality, changing the prices or rehauling your marketing strategy.

Your sales numbers are dropping

Perhaps the most obvious reason to reposition your brand is if your products are not earning the expected profits. Downward trending numbers call for immediate action. Repositioning a non-profitable product may include updating the packaging, adjusting the target audience or adding new features.

These are just some factors that might influence your decision to try repositioning. You will need to carefully consider your business's unique set of circumstances to determine if repositioning could be beneficial.

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