What is brand positioning? It’s relatively easy to identify your CPG product’s value proposition. But positioning your product in the harsh retail environment is quite another story. Think of the value proposition as a broad description of your products features, benefits, and what sets it apart from your competition.

Positioning Strategy

Positioning your product in the marketplace is a much more specific and targeted strategy. Now we are talking price, but more importantly, we are talking about where your retail price falls in relation to the velocity price point of all the other branded products in your category.

Sure, you can mount a big marketing campaign to help you target your ideal audience, but when it comes down to it at the store level, the shopper is largely swayed by your price relative to the other prices in your category. For instance, if you want to go after a high-end shopper, your price will generally be higher than the velocity price point. If you want to go after a budget-minded shopper your price will generally be lower than the velocity price point.

Positioning strategy in the CPG space is really about communicating value perception through pricing.

Positioning Statement

The brand positioning statement identifies your ideal target consumer. These statements are not designed for the general public. They are internal documents using the fewest words possible that will guide the execution of your marketing and merchandising efforts.

Here is one of the brand positioning statement examples from our early days building the Barefoot Wine brand:

“A consistent tasting everyday drinking wine staple regularly purchased by a 37-year-old mom with 2.5 kids.”

This brief positioning statement identified our target market. From there, everything else flowed. For instance, we knew that the price had to be at the velocity price point which would’ve been $6.99 in today’s dollars. We knew that the wines had to be non-vintage blends to achieve a consistent taste profile. We knew that the logo, label, and packaging had to be fun and color-coordinated by type to make it easier for her to identify, locate, and purchase. We knew that the wine had to be produced in the large, budget size, 1.5 L format. And we also knew that wines had to be soft on the palate, fruit forward, easy drinking, and true to their varietal character. That’s a lot from just a few words!

Think of a positioning statement as a guide that helps you put your value proposition in front of your target market. In the CPG space, the positioning statement also provides a guide to the types of retail stores and markets you want to be represented in.

Brand Positioning Examples

In the wine category, brand positioning examples abound. Screaming Eagle and Opus One are great examples of (very) high-end positioning. Carlo Rossi and Charles Shaw are excellent examples of economy positioning.

Both extremes are anchored in price but both use extensive marketing campaigns to address their ideal target market. One is going for the premium shopper, the other, the volume quantity shopper.

Brand Positioning Challenges

At Barefoot Wines, we wanted to position our products as high quality for low cost. It was the only way that we were going to get that 37-year-old mom to buy our products on a regular basis and make them part of her staples.

The problem we faced was that we had to hit a price point she could afford, but the gatekeepers at the time were prejudiced against low-priced products. They believed, as much of the market did at the time, that it was impossible to deliver high-quality at a low price. In fact, several said, “Nothing good can come at a low price!”

In order to reinforce the perception the quality even at a low price, we entered every wine contest we could. We then put our gold-medal results right on our bottles. It’s not easy to give the market a good deal!

In the CPG space, positioning strategy is pricing, messaging, and just plain jockeying for position!


Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) & Shelf Smarts courses to help consumer product brand builders achieve success. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular business site at www.thebarefootspirit.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.