Whistles Brand Analysis Essay

What sets your product, service and company apart from your competitors? What value do you provide and how is it different from the alternatives?

Competitive positioning is about defining how you’ll “differentiate” your offering and create value for your market. It’s about carving out a spot in the competitive landscape, putting your stake in the ground, and winning mindshare in the marketplace – being known for a certain “something.”

A good positioning strategy is influenced by:

  • Market profile: Size, competitors, stage of growth
  • Customer segments: Groups of prospects with similar wants & needs
  • Competitive analysis: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the landscape
  • Method for delivering value:How you deliver value to your market at the highest level

[Note: You can access interactive marketing planning templates and download step-by-step plans for positioning your product or service in the marketplace in our marketing planning and management app. Try it for free.]

When your market clearly sees how your offering is different from that of your competition, it’s easier to influence the market and win mindshare. Without differentiation, it takes more time and budget to entice the market to engage with you; as a result, many companies end up competing on price – a tough position to sustain over the long term.

One of the key elements that many small to mid-size companies overlook is how they provide value at the highest level. There are three essential methods for delivering value: operational excellence, product leadership and customer intimacy.

Here is a hypothetical example of each type of value.


Herringer customers don’t want bells and whistles; they just want a good product at the lowest possible price.

Herringer focuses on operational excellence so they can continually offer the lowest price in the market. For example, they just patented a new machine that dramatically lowers their manufacturing costs. They’re not trying to create new or better products; they just want to produce more volume at a lower cost.

Herringer’s method for delivering value is operational excellence; it’s a key driver of their long-term strategy, and their positioning reflects it.

Orange Technology’s customers care most about quality – they want the best product.

Orange is completely dedicated to innovation and quality. They’re constantly working on product improvements and new ideas to bring to market.

They know what their competitors are doing and are completely focused on staying one step ahead in order to capture a greater share of their market.

Orange’s brand and culture is all about product leadership; their market recognizes it and is willing to pay for it.

Starboard’s market is flooded with products at all points of the price spectrum.

Yet, Starboard’s customers want more than a product off the shelf; they want customized solutions. So Starboard’s strategy is to know as much as possible about their customers’ businesses so they can deliver the correct solutions over time.

Starboard knows that they can’t just say “We offer great service.” Starboard delivers on their strategy in every interaction with their market.


These companies have a complete understanding of how they deliver value to their market. It’s part of their strategy, which makes it easier for them to win a position in their respective markets.

Here’s another way to think of it:

You can provide the best offering, the cheapest offering, or the most comprehensive offering, but you can’t provide all three.

Another key factor in your competitive positioning is your competition. Sure, you need to put your stake in the ground and claim your turf. But is it turf that you can own? Can you realistically beat your competition to own it?

Rather than leaving your market positioning to chance, establish a strategy. What you’re ultimately striving for is to be known for something – to own mindshare of the market. This is typically easier for consumer product lines than for B2B companies, because positioning a single product against three to five competitors is a simpler task than positioning a mid-size B2B company with numerous offerings in numerous markets.

Owning a strong position in the market is challenging for most small- to mid-size companies, but you have a better chance of achieving it if you clearly define a strategy and build your brand around it.

Do you see your company in any of these scenarios?

Best CaseNeutral CaseWorst Case

You provide a one-of-a-kind offering that your market needs and wants; you have strong differentiation from your competitors.

Your market knows your name and associates it with that “one thing” that you’re known for.

And you continually deliver on it – perception is reality – so you continue to win mindshare in your market, defending your turf and influencing your market.

Your offering is somewhat different from – and better than – those of your competitors, and you communicate that difference (though probably not as consistently as you should).

Some of your market knows your name, but they describe you in different ways; you’re not yet known for that “one thing,” but at least you’re occasionally recognized.

You know that you could make a greater impact on your market with stronger positioning.

Your market sees little difference between you and your competitors, and your name is not recognized.

Because of this, you have to spend precious budget and time educating the market at each touch point.

You often end up competing solely on price, though your business isn’t optimized to continue profitably with falling prices.

You have to fight long and hard for every sale. It’s very difficult to meet your revenue and profit goals.

The concept of positioning is entirely strategic. It’s the first element to address in strategic marketing, and everything else is aligned to it. Jack Trout and Al Ries defined the concept years ago in their landmark book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.

While the concept is simple – to be known for a single thing in the mind of the customer – the road to achieve it can be complex. It’s best to have a clear understanding of your market –demographics, segments, their pains, how well you and your competitors provide solutions, how you truly provide value, and your strengths and weaknesses – before making this decision.

An fully-informed decision is vital, because you’ll allocate a significant amount of resources in your journey to achieve it.

Competitive Positioning Key Concepts & Steps

Before you begin

Your competitive positioning strategy is the foundation of your entire business – it’s the first thing you should pin down if you’re launching a new company or product. It’s also important when you’re expanding or looking for a new edge.

Profile your market

  • Document the size of your market, and identify your major competitors and how they’re positioned.
  • Determine whether your market is in the introductory, growth, mature, or declining stage of its life. This “lifecycle stage” affects your entire marketing strategy.

Segment your market

  • Understand the problems that your market faces. Talk with prospects and customers, or conduct research if you have the time, budget and opportunity. Uncover their true wants and needs – you’ll learn a great deal about what you can deliver to solve their problems and beat your competitors.
  • Group your prospects into “segments” or “personas” that have similar problems and can use your offering in similar ways. By grouping prospects into segments or personas, you can efficiently market to each group.

Define how you deliver value

  • At the highest level, there are three core types of value that a company can deliver: operational efficiency (the lowest price), product leadership (the best product), or customer intimacy (the best solution & service). Determine which one you’re best equipped to deliver; your decision is your method for delivering value.

Evaluate your competition

  • List your competitors. Include any that can solve your customers’ problems, even if the competitors’ solutions are much different from yours – they’re still your competition.
  • Rate yourself and your direct competitors based on operational efficiency (price), product leadership and customer intimacy. It’s easy to think you’re the best, so be as impartial as you can be.

Stake a position

  • Identify areas where your competition is vulnerable.
  • Determine whether you can focus on those vulnerable areas – they’re major opportunities.
  • Make a decision on how to position your offering or company.

Select the mindshare you want to own, and record your strategy

  • Review the components of your market and evaluate what you want to be known for in the future. Condense all your research and analysis into the “one thing” that you want to be known for, and design your long-term strategy to achieve it.

After Competitive Positioning

Once you have a competitive positioning strategy, develop a brand strategy to help you communicate your positioning and solidify your value every time you touch your market. Together, these two strategies are the essential building blocks for your business.

Check out our positioning and brand strategy tools if you’d like guidance.

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Table of contents

1 Brand Overview

2 Survey Target Group

3 Maslow Theory

4 Freudian Personality Theory

5 Involvement Theory

6 Conclusion


Internet Sources

Enlargement Range

1 Brand Overview

AXE is a brand of male fostering products, owned by the Anglo-Dutch company Unilever and marketed towards young males in over 60 countries all over the world. Unilever were unable to use the name Axe in the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and Australia due to the trademark problems, so it was named Lynx. British soap maker Lever Brothers and Dutch margarine producer Margarine Union formed the company Unilever in 1930. The combined unit formed two separate items known as Unilever Plc in London and Unilever NV in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (Wikipedia.com, 2010).

Launched in 1983 in France, Axe is successful in Europe from 1985 onwards. You can buy Axe in different fragrances, in which there are 13 variables on the US-market and 15 on the remaining markets. The variant names between 1983 and 1989 were descriptions of the fragrances, for example Musk, Spice, Amber, Marine or Oriental. From 1990 to 1996 geographical names were used, like Africa, Alaska, Java, Nevada or Inca (Wikipedia.com, 2010). Beside deodorant, Axe’s product line included grooming products for men such as body sprays, aftershave , shampoo, skin care and shower gels and since the beginning of year 2012 there are also hair care and styling products dispersed. Failed extensions include Underwear, Barbershop and razors and Lynx also ships a shower scrub tool called the Lynx Detailer (Axe, official homepage, 2012)

Within the new millennium axe has launched in Canada and the United States with great success. Therefore, and as a part of global expansion, Unilever has now launched its first product for women in the UK.

Background to the launch of the axe brand in the US:

In 2002, Unilever introduced the Axe range of deodorant body sprays into the United States. The success of the launch surpassed all expectations. Within two years, A Nielsen had recognized that Axe had become the number one male deodorant brand in the country. A position it still holds today. However, Axe’s arrival in the marketplace changed much more than the share composition of the deodorant market. Competitive male grooming brands took notice of the new product form that Axe introduced to the US (deodorant body spray) and launched competitive (and in the case of TAG, Gillette’s new body spray identical looking) products. Additionally competitors began to mirror the ‘emotional’ approach Axe had taken to communicating. Before Axe, the category spoke very rationally toguys, showcasing gloriously sweaty armpits and high tech solutions to keep you sweat free. Axe differentiated itself by speaking emotionally, with no mention of product efficacy in any communication. The promise of the ‘Axe Effect’ was incredibly simple. Spraying on this product will can help get girls. Girls simply love the smell of it. The ‘Axe effect’ became part of our targets vernacular, and strong fragrance credentials were established for the brand.

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Over the years, Axe's innovative promotional efforts had been focused on the 'Boy gets Girl' theme. The campaigns focus on how the product increased the sexual appeal of young men and highlight the strong fragrance which helps men attract women. The brand themed under the device “AXE is and make you sexy”. The advertisement promises men an increased popularity of women, which is called “The-AXE effect”, in addition to a guaranty of 24 hours safety of sweat and stench.


The advertisement of Axe Pulse showed, how this fragrance give geeky men enough confidence to dance with women and to get them.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIVqLa8xooU (Received May 9, 2012)


Axe Vice was marketed on a theme of making “nice” women becoming “naughty”, when they smell this deodorant.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqRyktpveOo (Received May 9, 2012)


In July 2008 Axe launched a carwash-themed campaign called the “Guywash” following the launch of the Detailer. This campaign conceptualized the shower device as a car wash for men. The different cleaning stations are different parts of the body. This campaign reportedly increased the sales of Axe Shower Gel in the US by 17% and won the Gold Effie Award for the most effective marketing campaign in the New Product or Service Category (Effie Award, official homepage, 2010).

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaPauEyi3mM (Received May 10, 2012)

AXE also launched with the fictitious rapper Dr. Stay Dray and the song Don’t Sweat That (The Whistle Song) a viral campaign in 2008, which allowed the company some broadcasting time at music stations like VIVA and MTV.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uGJ-dE_nCw (Received May 9, 2012)


Axe partnered with the mobile advertise Greystripe Inc in February 2009 to support the launch of the Axe Detailer Shower Tool with a flash game called “Dirty Night Determinator” on iPhones. The users could interacted with the ad to calculate how dirty their last night had been.

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There are kind of instruction written on the bottles of the shower gels for use made of two pictograms. On the first one a man is rubbing himself with the shower gel and on the other one the same man is surrounded by women. Beneath you can read the slogan “Unlimited Female Attention”.

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Brand personality

Axe/Lynx use brand values like being cool, fashionable and stylish. Their products use colours like black, red or blue to suggest power, intensity and dominance. Male consumers see these as “masculine” traits and also want to be described as aggressive and assertive.

2 Survey Target Group

Date: 9th of May, 2012

Time: 12-4 PM

Area: Newcastle, Hunter Street

Sample Size: 26

Target Group: 12- 30 year old men

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