What is positioning? Lets understand from an accountant.

Sunce we have been talking about positioning and branding with respect to Bajaj Auto’s new branding strategy, I thought an example to explain the concept of positioning would help.

I have a small but highly successful executive firm, Executive Search, as my client. This firm is highly focused, that is, it deals with recruitment of senior level positions only in the pharmaceutical industry. One day I was generally chatting with its owner Subhash Arora and the subject of expansion came up. He was thinking of starting recruitment in the chemical industry but was unsure of how he should go about doing it. He said that the easiest way would be to do it under the present firm but he felt that such a step will dilute the image and the positioning of his present firm. He said that today when pharmaceutical firms think of recruitment, they contact him. The name of his firm, Executive Search, is strongly associated with recruitment in the pharmaceutical industry. Adding another industry would confuse his clients.

When I asked him why, he said that today he is known as a specialist recruiter in the pharmaceutical industry. He added that the pharmaceutical companies even pay him a premium as they perceive him as a specialist in the pharmaceutical industry. He charges more than the generalist big recruitment firms. He said that if he starts recruitment services for the chemical industry, his clients would start comparing him with other general recruitment firms and he would lose his competitive edge. He further said that if he has to enter the chemical industry, he has to start a new firm. Lastly, he told me that in order to maintain and enhance his image as a specialist pharmaceutical industry recruiter, he has even refused assignments in other industries which were offered to him by his contacts.

I was just amazed when I heard his logic. His understanding of the concept of branding and positioning was perfect even though he didn’t use the buzzwords. What was more amazing is that Subhash is a chartered accountant as well as worked in a pharmaceutical company as an accountant before he became an entrepreneur. I had mentioned to him that whenever I write about branding and positioning, I will definitely use his example to explain what branding and positioning is really about.

He was one guy I met who understood the basic principle behind branding and positioning, that is, you have to give up something to gain something. In this case, he has given up all other industries to gain a firm foothold in the pharmaceutical industry.

Avinash Narula

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