Ever felt like you’re adrift in a sea of businesses, all vying for the same customers? Positioning your company is like planting a flag in the ground and declaring, “Here we are! We do this best, and here’s why we’re unique!”
It’s about carving out a distinctive place in the minds of your target customers – the place where your business stands tall, proud, and – above all – uniquely suited to their needs.
But why is this concept vital? Your brand positioning strategy lays the foundation for all your marketing efforts. It’s the magnetic North for your brand compass, guiding your marketing, sales, and operations.
When your brand is positioned well, everything else falls into place. Imagine your team as a group of explorers with a mission statement you have a vision. Your brand positioning statement is the cartography that maps the wilderness so you can fully realize your brand strategy.
In other words, you can have a vision for your company but with a brand’s positioning statement, you gain direction.
Elements of Brand Positioning
Understanding brand positioning is a little like designing a secret recipe. It has crucial ingredients, each adding its unique flavor. Mix them right, and you’ve got a winning dish; miss one, and well, it’s not quite the same.
It’s best to first examine the core ingredients before adding a bunch of spices and dialing in your unique flourishes.
Your target market is the customers whose needs align perfectly with your product or service. It’s not about who you want to sell to; it’s about who genuinely needs your product.
When you consider your target customer ask: Who are they? Why do they need your product or service?
By identifying your target market, you’re not casting a net into the ocean; you’re spearfishing – accurate, effective, and specific.
An example of a company’s brand positioning statements that create customer obsession is Disney Parks. The brand’s unique cleanliness is no accident. They studied how many steps visitors took before dropping trash onto the ground. Throughout Disney Parks there is a trash can every 30 feet.
What guarantees do you make to your customers? Your brand promise is a pledge to meet or exceed customer expectations consistently. It’s the assurance that you’ll deliver what they need every time, without fail. Your brand promise is your word – and in business, your word is gold.
Apple’s brand positioning statement of “Think Different” connects users who also want to feel creative and unique.
Your value proposition is the unique value you promise to deliver to your customers – it’s the reason they choose you over your competitors. It’s not just about the practical features and benefits; it’s about how your product or service makes your customers feel.
Does it save them time? Money? Does it make their lives easier? More enjoyable? Your value proposition is your secret weapon – the ace up your sleeve.
Positioning statements then work to place the value proposition at the forefront of marketing. An example of a strong brand positioning strategy that focuses on value proposition is Imperfect Food. They create a brand positioning framework in their name. As a company focused on reducing food waste, audiences immediately understand the brand positioning strategy with any other messaging.
Brand Differentiating Qualities
Lastly, your brand’s differentiating qualities make you stand out. What sets you apart from your competitors? These qualities could be anything from your exceptional customer service to your commitment to sustainability.
This is where you strut your stuff and show the world what makes you. After all, why fit in when your business was born to stand out?
T-Mobile made brand positioning important with their direct assault on other mobile carriers. The positioning statement of un-carrier appealed to audiences fatigued by contracts, fees, and other brands’ policies toward existing customers.
The Process: How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement
Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint. Sounds tricky, right? That’s why creating a brand positioning statement is essential for your business. It’s your blueprint, providing a clear direction for your marketing strategies. It’s the compass guiding you toward your goals in a crowded marketplace. But how do you create this statement? What should it include?
Developing your own brand positioning strategy
The first step is identifying your brand’s unique value proposition. Ask yourself, what sets you apart from your competitors?
Perhaps it’s your unparalleled customer service or innovative products.
Or maybe, it’s your commitment to sustainability.
Whichever it is, identify, own, and build your strategy around it.
The goal is not to create marketing tactics. Brand positions state what you truly want to represent to your audiences. Brand positioning examples are all around us and often become embedded in brand identity. Implementing the brand positioning framework
Now, it’s time to piece together the brand positioning framework. Think of this as a puzzle. Each piece represents a different element: your target market, brand promise, value proposition, and brand-differentiating qualities.
Your goal is to make these pieces fit together to form a clear, cohesive picture of your brand.
Creating a strong brand positioning statement
This statement encapsulates your unique value in a few succinct sentences.
Think of it as your brand’s elevator pitch. It should be compelling and speak directly to your target market’s needs while highlighting your unique offerings.
Consider Nike’s Just Do It or Harley Davidson’s American by Birth. Rebel by Choice. These slogans appeal to the target market with a precise and clear positioning statement.
How to Position Your Company: Techniques and Strategies
Once you’ve got the ingredients to position your company. Now, it’s time to bake the cake.
What strategies can you employ to build and implement your brand positioning?
There are a number of brand positioning strategies to use. Because brand positioning is key to marketing strategy, there are a range of options developed by experts over decades.
Five common positioning strategies
Effective brand positioning for a new business or a small business with an internal team is to embrace the five proven positioning strategies:
- Convenience – A key example is how online retailers demonstrate the ease of ordering and shipping directly to consumers. If your marketing tactics disrupt common market conditions, then your target audience is likely to be receptive to new positioning messages.
- Competition – Specific brands like the prior example of T-Mobile target competition with their brand positioning strategy. What do you do that is distinct from competitors?
- Price – Perhaps the most common marketing strategy is value. While price can attract a certain target market, there is very little value proposition beyond marketing discounts. If a competitor undercuts your price, there is little brand loyalty for this target audience.
- Quality – The opposite of the discount brand positioning strategy is quality. Building a company’s brand on quality is a lasting value proposition. Premium brands provide a distinct value proposition to a target market that is often loyal across multiple buying cycles.
- Differentiation – For emerging companies and new technology, a brand positioning statement that clearly states why you are different from other businesses in the market can be highly effective. Consider the prior examples of how many of the most successful brands launch as rebels and disruptors. If you can demonstrate a quality alternative to established norms, then you can captivate audiences and quickly grow a consumer base.
Three Rules of Brand Positioning
No matter which brand position strategy you choose, you must remember these three rules: clarity, consistency, and uniqueness.
These rules are the guiding principles for your brand positioning efforts. Be clear about who you are, be consistent in your messaging, and always showcase what makes you unique.
Practical Steps to Position Your Brand
Do you know what a great football coach and a successful business owner have in common? They both understand the importance of strategic positioning! But where do you start? Let me walk you through some practical steps to ace your brand positioning game.
Identifying your target audience
Think of your perfect customer. Are they busy moms seeking convenient meal solutions or tech-savvy millennials looking for the next best gadget? Pinpointing your target audience is like setting your GPS. It’s your starting point for creating a brand that truly resonates.
Understanding the greatest benefit of your product or service
Now, ponder this. Why should your ideal customer pick you over your competitors? Maybe your homemade pies are the most scrumptious in town, or your gardening service boasts an army of green thumbs. Identifying your product or service’s key benefit helps to center your brand on what matters most to your customers.
Carrying out market research
A good detective knows the importance of gathering evidence, right? Market research is your magnifying glass into your customers’ world. Surveys, focus groups, and social media listening – use these tools to understand what your customers truly want and need.
Developing your unique value proposition
Time to craft your unique value proposition! This is your headline act, your brand’s star quality. It’s what makes you, you. Make it a compelling snapshot of why customers should choose your brand over others.
The Role of Marketing Strategies in Positioning
Wondering how to take your well-crafted brand position and amplify it to the world? This is where your marketing strategies come into play.
Aligning marketing strategy and tactics with brand positioning
Picture your brand as a song. Your marketing strategy is the amplifier that turns up the volume, making sure your song reverberates far and wide. Align your strategy and tactics with your brand position to ensure a harmonious brand symphony.
Importance of maintaining brand identity in all marketing materials
You wouldn’t wear a clown costume to a business meeting, would you? Just as you’d dress appropriately, your marketing materials should consistently reflect your brand identity, telling a unified brand story with which your customers can connect.
Consistent brand voice as a key in positioning
Think of your brand as a character in a story. A consistent voice helps your character come alive, fostering a strong connection with your audience. It’s a crucial part of positioning your brand authentically and convincingly.
Positioning Your Company Against Competitors
Here’s where things get interesting. How do you outshine your competitors in the business arena?
Understanding your direct competition
Identifying your competitors is like scouting the opposition team before a big match. It helps you understand their strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to discover your unique market position.
Establishing your unique position in the market
Remember, no two businesses are the same. Just as every person has unique fingerprints, your business has unique qualities that set it apart. Define your unique market position by leveraging these special attributes.
Using your competitive advantage to stand out
Your competitive advantage is your secret weapon. It’s what makes your customers choose you over the competition. Identify, amplify, and let it shine brightly in the market!
The 3 C's of Brand Development
Customers are the heart and soul of your business, right? You’d agree, wouldn’t you? That’s why they’re the first ‘C’ in the brand development process.
Understanding your customers isn’t just about knowing their names and addresses. It’s about digging deeper to comprehend their needs, desires, and problems. This knowledge helps shape a product or service they’ll love.
Consider this – have you ever wondered why some businesses click with their customers? They seem to know what their customers want, even before the customers themselves do. Isn’t that something?
The secret here lies in a profound understanding of their customer’s world. From the language they use, the social media platforms they prefer to the challenges they face daily, these businesses get it. And so can you. By taking the time to know your customers, you can craft a brand that speaks their language and resonates with their values.
Now, let’s talk about you – the company. You’re the second ‘C,’ and your part in brand development is crucial. Branding isn’t just about having a catchy logo or slogan.
It’s about who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to make a difference in your customers’ lives.
Your company’s mission, values, and unique selling proposition significantly define your brand.
Let’s take Patagonia, for instance. The outdoor clothing brand doesn’t just sell jackets and vests. Their commitment to environmental sustainability shines through in everything they do – from the materials they use to the causes they support.
This clear alignment between what they do and stand for makes their brand strong and distinctive. That’s what you aim for – to have a brand that genuinely reflects your company’s essence.
Finally, let’s not forget the third ‘C’ – your competitors. Like it or not, they’re a vital part of your brand development process. Understanding your competition helps you to carve out a unique space in your industry.
Ask yourself this, how can you differentiate your small business in a saturated market? What makes you different from the rest? Understanding your competitors gives you answers to these questions.
Knowing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses lets you position your brand to highlight your unique qualities and advantages.
Picture yourself as a chess player, anticipating your opponent’s moves. It’s the same with competitors. By knowing their strategies, you can think a step ahead and develop a brand that stands apart.
Remember, it’s not about being better than everyone else; it’s about being different. After all, in branding, different is better than better. Isn’t it?
Apple: A Real-World Brand Positioning Example
Ever wonder why Apple products make such a big splash every time a new gadget is launched? Apple isn’t just selling you a computer, a phone, or a pair of headphones.
- They’re selling you the idea of innovation, quality, and a seamless user experience.
- They’ve positioned themselves as the premier choice for those who crave cutting-edge technology with a sleek, intuitive design.
Whether it’s their minimalistic advertising or product design, everything about Apple screams sophistication and class. Now that’s a lesson in successful brand positioning!
When to Build and When to Hire
Even the most prominent brands typically hire experts in brand positioning strategy to design new campaigns. What makes brand positioning important is its impact on the market. Your brand positioning strategy is a line in the sand – the promise you make to your target market, and it forms the map for your long-term vision.
So many business leaders consult with Valve+Meter regarding brand positioning strategies to ensure the message and marketing strategy will fully align with where you want to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Brand positioning strategy refers to the distinctive place that your brand occupies in the minds of your customers. A brand positioning statement may seem quite natural and succinctly describes a company’s products and services.
Brand positioning strategies aspire to be ubiquitous with a company’s identity. In reality, brand positioning strategies are complex, based on careful analysis of your business landscape, products or services, and most importantly, your target customers.
A brand positioning state is crafted to define your unique value proposition. The best brand positioning strategy connects your company’s products or services with the core values, ideals, and aspirations of your target audience. When brand positioning resonates with consumers, reflects their needs, wants, and desires, you can set your business apart from your competitors.
Brand positioning strategy can transform your marketing and long-term growth goals. Without clear brand positioning, your business can become just another face in the crowd, struggling to be seen and heard amidst the clamor of a bustling market.
When you make branding positioning important early in your marketing planning, you cut through the noise and draw the spotlight onto your business.
In a world of fractured media, your brand positioning strategy and more importantly your positioning statement help all of your marketing channels work in alliance. In essence, when you make brand positioning important for all of your campaigns, the positioning statement becomes the driving force behind every customer’s decision to choose your brand over the competition.
A unique value proposition, or UVP, is essentially your brand’s promise to your customers. It’s a clear, compelling statement that outlines exactly how your product or service solves your customers’ problems, delivers specific benefits, and offers something that your competitors don’t.
Your UVP is the heart of your brand positioning statement and the key to standing out in your market. It tells your customers why your solution is not only viable but also the best fit for their needs. It can be based on anything from product features, price, and quality, to customer service, but the key is that it must be unique to your brand and valuable to your customers.
Once you design a brand positioning statement, designers, writers, content creators, and other marketers can rally around your brand voice.
Your marketing strategies are like a megaphone for your brand positioning. They amplify your brand positioning statement across various channels and touchpoints. Your brand positioning shapes your marketing decisions, from the channels you use, the content you create, and even the partnerships you forge.
Your brand positioning strategy performance can be measured through marketing. Testing variations on your brand positioning statement helps companies reach your ideal buyers. You can also adapt your brand positioning statements as your target market grows, changes, or matures.
Perhaps the better question to consider is how does your positioning strategy distinguish your company from others?
If you have something unique to say and offer your target audience, then you don’t need to outwit competitors.
Alternatively, if your positioning strategy is simply to take down similar competitors then identify their weaknesses and exploit the gaps in the market. Not every company has a special niche within the target market so outsmarting your competitors can be necessary in highly competitive markets where all brands are offering essentially the same services.
A positioning strategy can play to your strengths, speak directly to your customers, and remain agile in your market approach. Start by conducting a thorough competitive analysis to understand their offerings, their strengths and weaknesses, and their strategies.
Next, focus on understanding your customers like the back of your hand. What do they value? What are their pain points? Can you solve a problem they have that your competitors aren’t addressing?
An ideal brand positioning strategy is customer-centric. The healthiest businesses often outperform their competition because they offer solutions that resonate deeply with their target market.
When your market includes a powerful brand, brand positioning statements can compel your target market to consider the underdog.
Many brands identify a niche demographic within the target market to focus their product offering. Another strategy is to identify a particular problem or a particular need that a larger brand cannot offer. Bigger companies often appeal to a broad audience, which can lead to their offerings being somewhat generic. By concentrating on a smaller segment of the market, you can offer specialized products or services that cater specifically to that audience.
Another approach is to emphasize personalization and customer service. As a small business, you can provide a more personalized and nimble experience, building strong relationships with customers that larger companies often can’t match.
Also, agility is your friend. Big companies can be slow to adapt to changes in the market. Being smaller, you can be more flexible, quickly pivoting and capitalizing on new trends or opportunities.
Brand positioning statements that are authentic and transparent can set the underdog apart from the generalities of bigger brands. Consumers today value businesses that show genuine care and demonstrate strong ethical standards. Your size can be a strength, enabling you to engage with customers on a more personal and human level.
Aggressive competitors can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, you can hold your ground and even turn their aggressiveness into an opportunity.
The first step is not to panic. The greatest benefits of how brand positioning works is to grow and maintain market share. Aggression can lead competitors to make mistakes, so stay focused and don’t let their actions throw you off your company’s offering of operational excellence.
Focus on your customers. They’re the reason you’re in business, after all. If you position your brand identity around your target audience then an aggressive competitor’s promotional tactics are unlikely to impact your long term success.
Use your competitor’s aggression to examine your current brand positioning. Are your marketing campaigns stating clearly what your brand stands for? Potential customers are savvy. Depending on the product and service category, buyers are willing to choose the greatest benefit even that is a higher price point.
If competitors are all about fast and cheap, underscore your commitment to quality and service. If they’re pushing a one-size-fits-all solution, emphasize your tailored, personalized approach.