To stand out from the crowd is the goal of every business. Creating a branding strategy is extremely important to differentiating your brand from the competition. But branding wasn’t formally defined and set forth until the 1970’s.
Over 40 years ago, two advertising pioneers, Al Ries and Jack Trout, published a book titled, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. It started a marketing revolution. One that made companies understand that a successful brand required a battle for the minds of consumers. Simply, positioning is how people “think” about your brand. It’s how you stand out from the crowd. Here are some familiar examples:
Mercedes-Benz: Engineered like no other car in the world
BMW: The ultimate driving machine
Southwest Airlines: The short-haul, no-frills, and low-priced airline
Avis: We are only Number 2, but we try harder
L’Oreal: Because you’re worth it.
Walmart: Always low prices. Always.
Nike: Just do it
While these are taglines, the companies also demonstrate their positioning by how they market their brands, how they build their products and how they treats their customers. For example, Mercedes-Benz has to build cars that are like no other, demonstrate their “superior engineering” positioning and make consumers think “best engineered cars” whenever they think about the company.
You, too, need to position your brand to distinguish your business from your competitors. And you can’t just say you are committed to “superior” service. Every business says that. That’s not going to differentiate you from your competitors. Not in a meaningful way.
When selling a commodity how do you stand out from the crowd?
A client who owned a wood flooring company, asked us to design their marketing materials. As I learned more about the wood flooring category, I noticed there was a flooring store on practically every corner. And they were selling on price: Strips of wood in various finishes, all at the lowest prices. My client designed custom flooring with the most unusual and gorgeous designs. The company was definitely upscale, whose customer base were people and companies looking for quality and custom design. They were not interested in cheap.
That’s why we positioned the company as Museum Quality Wood Flooring. And that’s exactly what they offered and how we demonstrated it in marketing materials.
7-Step Brand Positioning Strategy Process
In order to create a position strategy, you must first identify your brand’s uniqueness and determine what differentiates you from your competition.
There are 7 key steps to effectively clarify your positioning in the marketplace:
- Determine how your brand is currently positioning itself
- Identify your direct competitors
- Understand how each competitor is positioning their brand
- Compare your positioning to your competitors to identify your uniqueness
- Develop a distinct and value-based positioning idea
- Craft a brand positioning statement (see below)
- Test the efficacy of your brand positioning statement (see 15 criteria below)
Then you need to formalize how you are going to stand out from the crowd, or your positioning (unique selling proposition).
How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement
There are four essential elements of a best-in-class positioning statement:
- Target Customer: What is a concise summary of the attitudinal and demographic description of the target group of customers your brand/company is attempting to appeal to and attract?
- Market Definition: What category is your brand competing in and in what context does your brand have relevance to your customers?
- Brand Promise: What is the most compelling (emotional/rational) benefit to your target customers that your brand can own relative to your competition?
- Reason to Believe: What is the most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its brand promise?
After thoughtfully answering these four questions, you can craft your positioning statement:
For [target customers], [company name] is the [market definition] that delivers [brand promise] because only [company name] is [reason to believe].
We hope you have enjoyed this article. Positioning can be complex. So if you need some help getting your company or brand to stand out from the crowd, get in touch. We will be happy to work with you. Contact me at email@example.com.