Firms use perceptual or positioning maps to help them develop a market positioning strategy for their product or service.
Theoretically a perceptual map can have any number of lines, to keep things simple they usually have 2 lines the x and y axis.The x axis goes left to right and the y axis goes bottom to top.
We must remember that perceptual maps are based on the buyer's perception this is challenging: what may be viewed as a quality product by one buyer, may not be perceived as a quality product by another buyer.
In the 1990‘s, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor, David Aaker, introduced the concept of brand as an asset to be managed for the benefit of the corporation, thus wresting responsibility for ‘branding’ from ad agencies and putting it in the hands of marketing managers. Our experience teaching brand strategy to MBA and undergraduate marketing students and working with brand strategy clients tells us the answer is to integrate much of the work that has been done into a coherent framework, grounded in common principles, terms and frameworks.
Some elements of a brand are (or should be) relatively constant while others need to adapt to a dynamic marketplace. Value Proposition and Positioning alone are inadequate to define a multi-faceted brand with internal and external stakeholders. Brand Identity is more enduring than Positioning, and more adaptable and multi-faceted than Value Proposition.
Together, Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning provide a complete brand platform that can serve as a roadmap for brand development over a 3-5 year time horizon. Our experience with these models has proven them to be relevant to B2C, B2B and non-profit organizations.
If you find our thought pieces on brand strategy and brand management insightful and would like a deeper understanding for yourself, your marketing teams or leadership teams we can develop a tailored learning solution for you. Brand Education is a core competency of The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider.
Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals build strong brands.
Subscribe to Branding Strategy Insider Now and get regular updates and two FREE Chapters of Brad VanAuken's best selling book Brand Aid direct to your inbox. This work offers an innovative approach blending practicality and creativity, now in full-color. As the maps are based on the perception of the buyer they are sometimes called perceptual maps.
Any criteria can be used for the map for example price, quality, status, features, safety and reliability. There is also a gap in high price low quality but consumers will not want to pay a lot of money for a low quality product.
Since then, many agencies, brand consultants and academics have built on Aaker’s foundation, making their own contributions to the art and science of branding.
The work begins with understanding the necessity of Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning.

As a result, Value Proposition, Brand Identity and Positioning are all essential components of a comprehensive brand platform.
A Value Proposition articulates what is most enduring about a brand, its enduring benefit across all audiences. The concept of ‘Positioning’ is perhaps the best understood element as well, thanks to the popularity of the ‘classic’ format which specifies the target, frame of reference and key benefit. A powerful Positioning enables  consistent, short-term communications, but is limited to just one or two ideas. It articulates how marketers wish customers and others to view the brand in the foreseeable future. Each element should be revisited periodically, with Positioning revisited most frequently, at least once a year. We have applied them successfully to clients ranging from grocery products to high tech services. Join us for The Un-Conference: 360 Degrees of Brand Strategy for a Changing World, May 2-4, 2016 in San Diego, California. As practitioners and educators we deliver interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align individuals and organizations on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of their brands. Army and Wyndham Worldwide are some of the organizations that have turned to The Blake Project for help in meeting learning objectives. We focus on sharing thought provoking expertise that promotes an elevated conversation on brand strategy and brand management and fosters community among marketers.
Positioning maps show where existing products and services are positioned in the market so that the firm can decide where they would like to place (position) their product. Once the two lines have been drawn and labelled existing products will be placed onto the map.
Similarly the low price high quality box is empty because manufacturers would find it difficult to make a high quality chocolate for a cheap price or make a profit from selling a high quality product at a low price. However as perception is very subjective, firms need to ensure that the data they use to plot the map is accurate.
Through overuse, the terms ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘value proposition’, ‘mantra’, ‘essence’, and ‘identity’ lack precise definition. Years of adaptation, melding and cherry picking have resulted in a world where marketers have no consistent frameworks or proven models from which to work.
The statement speaks to higher-order outcomes and results the brand aspires to deliver in the future. The reason for Positioning’s adaptability lies in frame of reference,’ which defines the alternatives available to customers and the context in which the brand competes. Consequently, Positionings need to evolve to reflect changes in the target audience, the competitive alternatives and the strategic priorities of the brand.

Value Proposition, aspirational, does not speak to a higher order purpose or mission or explain how a brand will connect emotionally with the values, culture and needs of its constituencies, both internal and external.
Our Brand Identity prism model is based on work by brand strategist and INSEAD professor, Jean-Noel Kapferer.
Positioning is a tool for helping the brand move toward the desired Brand Identity, and multiple Positionings may be required to achieve the Identity. When combined with clear business objectives, a careful brand audit, and a profound understanding of the target, these tools provide a powerful guide for brand development. A fun, competitive-learning experience reserved for 50 marketing oriented leaders and professionals.
BSI is a service of The Blake Project, a leading brand consultancy based in the United States, serving marketers around the world. With an easy style, step-by-step considerations, and a proven, universal five-phase process and methodology for creating and implementing effective brand identity, it offers the tools that brand managers, marketers, and designers need when creating or managing a brand. Firms have two options they can either position their product so that it fills a gap in the market or if they would like to compete against their competitors they can position it where existing products have placed their product. If customer perception data is wrong, the map will be wrong and this will affect the success of any marketing strategy based on the perceptual (positioning) map. The confusion makes strategic thinking about brands more difficult and undermines marketers’ credibility.
Value Proposition is the brand’s North Star that informs everything from recruiting to the product development roadmap. The left side is internally focused, while the right side explains how the brand connects externally, with customers, members, investors and other stakeholders.  Each element provides a crucial guide to developing the brand’s message, visual and verbal identity, corporate culture, and more. The new edition now includes a wealth of full-color examples and updated case studies for world-class brands such as BP, Bank of America, Harley-Davidson, Tazo Tea, and Mini Cooper. If marketers can’t agree on basic terms and frameworks, how serious can the business of brand strategy be? It also describes the brand’s Noble Purpose, its reason for existence beyond staying in business and paying employees. Alina Wheeler (Philadelphia, PA) applies her strategic imagination to help build brands, create new identities, and design brand-identity programs for Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial ventures, foundations, and cities.
Before deciding to fill any gaps in the market firms need to ensure that there is likely to be a demand for a product positioned in that gap. Purpose is becoming an essential aspect of brand differentiation, and it is not addressed by Positioning or Value Proposition.

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