Positioning research starts with the study of the market to identify the factors, which are most important to various users of the product category. Here we have to ignore all assumptions about product category. How is this done?
First, investigate what consumers do with the products. It reflects their perceptions or understanding of various categories and brands. To illustrate for positioning a cream, ask what people use on their bodies. How various brands are used? When are they used? Last but not the least, the purposes for which the brands are used.
Secondly, attitudinal information should be developed according to the purposes for which the brand is to be used and not just for any two brands. If one brand is used for relaxation and one for refreshment, it is pointless to compare them.
Thirdly, it is important to ask why a product or brand is not being used.
Fourthly, when there are existing brands, it is important to identify where they are placed in the consumer’s mind. Early in the product development, it is important to uncover new psychological dimensions. The emphasis then moves to physical attractiveness – how perceptions are related to physical features and why physical features have to be offered to match the psychological positioning.
Lastly, positioning is creative. It is helped by complete information. It is not necessary to carry out always attitudinal and quantitative research all the time. Good strategists do fact gathering research to come up with fairly decent estimates of market perceptions on relevant attributes, and location of various brands along these attributes. Once these are identified, alternative-positioning strategies could be considered.