Frame of Reference

frameofreferenceFrame of Reference is one of the four elements of a classic positioning statement. It describes what the brand is up against in the landscape of alternatives. Generally, the competition is other brands in the same category. But the real competitor might be buying nothing at all, or even buying a product in a different category.  Exploring alternative frames of reference is one of the most effective ways to identify alternative positionings. 

The best frame of reference is one that is defined by the target’s considered set of alternatives. Answering these questions can help determine the relevant frame of reference:

  • What would the target audience choose, if not your brand, to meet their need?
  • What brands compete directly and indirectly with yours?

For example, a chocolate breakfast cereal like Krave might have other chocolate ready-to-eat cereals as its frame of reference. Other frames of reference might include all other breakfast cereals, other convenient breakfast foods like waffles or even eating no breakfast at all.