Merkelijkheid Matrix: Positionering van merken en organisaties

Merkelijkheid Matrix: Positionering van merken en organisaties
Determining Positioning

To determine your brand’s position in the Merkelijkheid Matrix, you must first establish brand identity. The brand identity speaks about the organization: “Who are we, and where are we heading?”. The concepts of culture and ambition are often used for this. A distinctive positioning and corresponding position or claim in the market directly result from this identity. The more aware and confident you are of the identity, the further to the right the brand can be placed in the matrix. Then, perception stands for how well you manage to convey this to the market; the clearer, the higher.

A common pitfall in positioning is that organizations work with the aspired identity and positioning, instead of the actual identity, and then try to implement it top-down. Our experience shows that an identity change is often an insurmountable obstacle. The numerous and years-long culture and organizational change projects are proof of this.

The reason this pitfall is often overlooked is due to a certain (unconscious) dissatisfaction with what the market reflects. Both employees and executives often feel that the market fails to notice what makes them special and then imagine a situation where this would be the case. They don’t realize that the market doesn’t look at intentions but at how the organization behaves, and it’s this behavior that needs work, not the identity. Organizations need to gain insight into their actual identity, the culture, and ambition of the entire organization, and align market perception with this.

Tijd om aan jouw positionering te werken?

In een kosteloos adviesgesprek bepalen we samen de drie belangrijkste kansen om jouw merk eruit te laten springen. Jij gebruikt onze kennis, ervaring en creativiteit en wij laten jou eens kennismaken met Merkelijkheid.

    To illustrate, consider the following two lines by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack from 1741:

    Beauty, like supreme dominion
    is but supported by opinion

    The ultimate and only test of success is thus how much you embody the positioning, in the opinion of the customer. The best positioning, that is, the best conveyed, is also the positioning that is closest to the brand’s identity.

    Improving Position in the Merkelijkheid Matrix

    Soon after evaluating the actual identity and the positioning that comes with it, the next question arises; “What now? How do I achieve this?”. Strategists often don’t deal with this question and prefer to leave it to an advertising agency. However, overseeing the process and understanding the core of both identity and positioning is essential (while at advertising agencies, creativity itself is often the lead).

    Since the Merkelijkheid Matrix works with your actual identity and the corresponding positioning, we can link areas of attention to each possible quadrant:

    Unknown – Immediate action is needed, it’s difficult to pinpoint the own identity, and it proves challenging to communicate remarkably to the market. We often see that brands in this quadrant communicate with the market purely reactively or adopt a positioning that sounds nice but has no connection with the organization and its behavior. The task is to clarify the identity, embed it in the behavior and thinking of the organization, and then convey it unambiguously to the market.

    Blind Spot – There’s a communication problem. You’re unable to convey the right message, consisting of brand values and/or product attributes. The chosen communication strategy has not been successful, and you haven’t managed to realize the desired positioning. What makes this quadrant interesting is that all parties involved are dissatisfied. The market attributes certain unintended characteristics to the brand, and the organization is frustrated that no one sees them as they (want to) be.

    There are two ways to a solution: you adapt and fulfill the role assigned by the market, or you strive to change the market’s perception. In both cases, the offer then matches the behavior and strengthens each other. The big barrier here is often the organization’s leadership, which may need to be convinced that they have been driven by ambition rather than reality.

    Hidden – Internally, everyone feels comfortable. Both employees and management know exactly who they are and which positioning fits. What frustrates them is that they can’t communicate this remarkably to the market. You see the brand as “the best-kept secret” and regret that the market can’t ‘see’ this. The first step is to provide the organization with the insight that they are responsible for this so that it can then be addressed. For example, by highlighting different aspects of the identity than before or changing the means by which they convey it.

    Open Space – If you find yourself in this quadrant, your brand aligns with the market. The market recognizes the characteristics you want to convey, and through remarkable communication, it can place the brand well in relation to the competition. For example, you may receive many inquiries through recommendations because your customers can explain excellently why someone should become your customer! Although your organization is undoubtedly successful, you cannot complacently wait to see what the future holds; you must continue to evaluate and, if necessary, adjust the strategy. Optimization and evaluation are central here.

    Merkelijkheid helps organizations position themselves distinctively

    Therefore, Merklijkheid does not stop at providing non-binding advice but also commits to the actions that result from it. The question, how do you charge your positioning in the market, is one we often answer.

    Want to know more about positioning and how to get started yourself? Read our Positioning page and find, alongside in-depth articles, dozens of examples and models for every possible positioning challenge.

    Bestel het boek