Repositioning Your Competition

avis we try harder

Repositioning is the process of shifting how others think about you or your competitors.

As marketers when we are asked to reposition, we usually look at repositioning our brand. Yet, it is possible to reposition a rival brand or company.

In other words, by creating brand communications that make the competition’s brand appear weaker or worse, you can make your brand appear stronger than the competition’s. Repositioning is the process of shifting how others think about you or your competitors. Often, this involves casting a bad light on them to shine a favourable light on yourself.

Apple’s “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” ad campaign recast PCs as staid and uninteresting. In contrast to the Mac’s cool, forward-thinking figure, who was modelled after Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, the PC version was narrated by a lookalike of Bill Gates. (for more on the advertising, visit –

With the slogan “We try harder,” Avis was able to capitalise on the perception that Hertz, the industry leader, was resting on its laurels. (For more on the advertising, visit –

With the claim that “aspirin might irritate the stomach lining,” Tylenol made Bayer’s “wonder drug” aspirin seem like something uncomfortable to use. “Unfortunately, aspirin is not for everyone, but Tylenol is a great alternative.”

BMW aimed at Mercedes Benz’s comfort automobiles by rebranding them as the “ultimate sitting machine,” in contrast to BMW’s performance-oriented “ultimate driving machine.”

The popularity of Stolichnaya vodka in the U.S. can be attributed to advertising. “Most American vodkas seem Russian,” said the ads. And the captions said: “Samovar: Made in Schenley, Pennsylvania. Smirnoff: Made in Hartford, Connecticut. Wolfschmidt: Made in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Stolichnaya is different. It is Russian and it’s made in Leningrad.” (St. Petersburg)

Disparaging an established idea, product, or person is crucial to every repositioning strategy.

Have in mind these factors as you attempt to situate the competition:

  • Usually, the most effective strategies for rebranding products and services are often the simplest.
  • Go for the little openings in their defences. You may use their deficiency to your advantage.
  • One cannot concoct a negation. It must be grounded in reality.
  • You should never avoid a disagreement. A repositioning strategy centres on devaluing an established idea, product, or person.
  • Verify that the repositioning concept has real value for the customers you’re trying to reach.
  • A negative must be based on a straightforward observation that members of the general public may test for themselves.

Several more campaigns with similar messaging have since followed in the repositioning initiatives’ footsteps. Nonetheless, the true value of a repositioning strategy is sometimes lost in these carbon copy efforts.

Just saying, “We’re better than our competition,” is not repositioning. It’s ineffective comparative advertising. The advertiser’s rationale has a fatal psychological weakness, which the prospect is easy to see. If your product is so great, why do you have to compare?

Looking at similar advertisements might provide light on why most of them fail. As a result, they are unable to reorient the rivalry.

Instead, they hold themselves against the rival’s brand as a measure of success. Then they brag about how superior they are to the audience. It is just what the consumer anticipates hearing from the marketer.

Ads that include comparisons of different items do just that. Ads that use a repositioning strategy aim to make a competitor’s offering weaker. Finally, they demonstrate how their product addresses that void. Much of the focus of repositioning advertising should be on the rival brand’s offering, not the product per se, but on how people perceive it. After successfully turning the good things about its competitors’ products into bad things, the ad finally talks about what it has to offer. Tylenol conducted perhaps the most well-known rebranding effort. The third paragraph of this advertisement is the first time Tylenol is addressed!

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