Positioning – the unsung hero of creating a brand that customers absolutely need and love. The thing that separates you from the competition. The thing that informs your audience what place you will occupy in their minds.
Positioning tells people how they should feel about you and it can be the difference between success and failure.
Not to be confused with a mission statement or a vision statement, a positioning statement is not meant to be a publicly shown tagline. It can, however, help you make sure that your mission statement is in fact in alignment with how you want your business to be perceived by the public for consistency across all platforms. And I mean ALL.
The first key to writing a positioning statement is to quickly define what place a company captures in respect to the market. Emphasis on the “quickly”. Your positioning statement should be brief, clear, and concise. This way you can easily refer to it when needed and translate your market position into effective marketing that attracts the right clients.
Your brand needs positioning like a heart needs a beat. Without it, you could end up like Hydrox cookies.
A good positioning statement makes it clear to anyone why your company is unique, and why they simply just can’t live without it. Your product or service is likely one of many, so it’s important to emphasize how your brand is unique compared to others.
This will help you stand out in the market, capture your audience’s attention and keep you from being a commodity in a crowded market…another ship in a sea of sameness.
So, how the hell do you do that? Explore.
The exploration of the positioning statement is an important part of the process for differentiating a brand. Here is where you get to be creative and really define the unique value your business brings to the table. Know that the statement itself is less important; the exploration that leads to it is key
The “Positioning Statement” is usually internally facing. When exploring the differentiating factors you want to be a part of your brand’s marketing, think about what makes you unique and memorable: What are your strengths? What value are you bringing to your customers or clients? Essentially, what makes you, well you?
These questions are just the beginning of your exploration journey, to get you thinking about your market position. We’ve drafted up some examples of our client’s positioning statements below so you can start to get an idea of what you should be aiming for. Then, we’ve provided more in-depth questions that can really help you put all the pieces together.
Examples of Positioning Statements
For a visual understanding of everything we just unloaded, here are two examples of positioning statements we’ve done and a little on why we did them:
This one for Haven Coaching is about differentiating a coaching service. The important words here are “Structured assessments and intuitive work” as well as “Science Backed support platform”. It’s the combination of these elements that make the company stand out.
Through a combination of structured assessments and intuitive work, Haven Coaching creates a science backed support platform for high achievers to reignite their purpose, passion and love for their work-life.
Here’s another one of our clients – Vicinage Properties:
For buyers and sellers in the Seattle area, Vicinage Properties provides a holistic real estate service that focuses on creating a unique experience that includes neighborhood tours, local knowledge and real estate education.
The important thing in this example is “creating an unique experience.” How many real estate agents focus on creating an experience for customers? This is how they use their positioning statement to set themselves apart from the rest of the real estate market.
How to Write Your Own Positioning Statement
When sitting down to craft your own positioning statement, there are first 3 questions you should ask yourself:
- Who is your Target Market?
This one might take some thought, but considering the following questions should make it fairly easy to figure out. When determining your target market, think about who it is that you’re trying to reach. What are their beliefs and values? What age range do they fit into? What are their pain points and how are you trying to solve it? Do they prefer Nsync or Backstreet Boys?
The more specific you can be in determining not only your target’s demographic, but what drives them to make their purchasing decisions, the better.
Some examples of this would be:
Single men, ages 25-35, who wear glasses. Newly-weds/first-time home buyers in Los Angeles.
Middle-aged women who are looking to make a career change.
- What Unique Value are you Providing your Target Market?
This one might require a little more soul-searching. What are your strengths? What are some things that you do better than anyone? How do you provide value to those around you? And which of these values can you provide your customers that no one else can? Try to avoid generalized phrases like “the best” or “industry leader” and instead be more specific.
Good examples of unique value would be:
Offers [services/product] guided by our core values of kindness, compassion, and affordability.
Holistic real-estate service that includes neighborhood tours and local knowledge.
- Why Should They Believe you?
This is where you have the opportunity to show your customers that you not only talk the talk, but can walk the walk. How can you back up your statements? How can you show your customers that they can trust you?
This can include anything from revealing your process to sharing collected data that proves you’re the real deal to simply being Vito Corleone, but you’re likely not a Mafia leader so you should try coming up with at least 3 things.
Some examples that might help inspire you:
We have over 20 years of experience helping small businesses in Los Angeles.
We only use 100% recycled and upcycled packaging to pack and ship our products.
We work one-on-one with each client to provide a more intimate experience.
Once you have answered those questions, you can begin piecing your positioning statement together. You can view the examples we provided above for reference, but a good starting format is:
[Brand Name] provides [Target Market] with [Unique Value/Service/Offer] by [3 Points of Proof].
If you’ve been following along with the prompts, you should have the basic outline of your positioning statement drafted. Once that’s done, you are welcome to rearrange the components. But as mentioned earlier, the statement itself is less important since it’s only a guide for you.
The real point here is that now you have effectively identified where your brand is positioned in the market and can use this as a blue-print for all your marketing materials moving forward. Yay!
Once you have your positioning statement locked in, you should have a much easier time aligning your marketing with your brand and ensuring your messaging is consistent. We also recommend using this information moving forward not only for defining your business, but for all of the individual segments of your business: products, services, programs, etc.
Every time you want to launch a new product or service, or even a new business, be sure to establish your branding and then revisit this process for aligned and consistent messaging that will help you stand out, every time. If you don’t, your business might crash like the Zeppelin.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]
- Start back at the top: Elements of a brand strategy
- Read about The ROI of a brand strategy template
- Read about the basics of brand strategy
- Read about a new way to think about brand archetypes