What is Brand Positioning? The Full Lowdown
Is your business constantly competing for attention against others in your industry? Are you looking for a way to set yourself apart and be remembered? Brand positioning may be your answer.
Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of marketing and branding. It's what helps to differentiate a company or product in the minds of consumers, and defining and communicating your brand's position can help consumers understand what makes you different and why they should choose you. It can also help guide marketing decisions and keep your branding efforts on track.
But what is brand positioning, exactly? And how do you go about creating it? We reveal all.
What is brand positioning?
Brand positioning is the process of creating a unique, differentiating brand message for your brand that will resonate with your target customer. It's about figuring out who your ideal customer is and then creating a brand identity and messaging that resonates with them.
The goal of brand positioning is to make your brand the go-to choice in your customers' minds when they need the products or services you offer. In other words, it's about making sure your brand is top of mind.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that brand positioning isn't something you choose. Even if you can help in defining it, brand positioning happens whether or not your organisation is proactive in developing its own position.
That's due to the fact that, no matter how hard you try to push it down, your clients will form their own impressions and ideas of your brand. However, if you can take a thoughtful and forward-thinking approach to developing your brand positioning strategy, you might be able to positively impact customer opinions.
What is brand positioning not?
Now that you know what brand positioning is, it's worth noting what it isn't. Because this is something that can easily confuse anyone when establishing a new brand - thinking that company taglines and mottos are the same as a brand positioning statement.
Remember that positioning statements are for internal use only and are intended to assist your company's operational and marketing departments in the correct path. Your brand positioning meanwhile helps you to make critical business decisions that have an impact on how your consumers perceive your brand.
Executive teams frequently ask their marketing professionals to develop a brand positioning statement, and the results are disappointing. This is because these individuals do not realise what they're searching for. A brand positioning strategy isn't:
- An elevator pitch: A sales pitch that is simple and convincing enough to persuade consumers to buy from you. Though brand positioning statements might assist you in developing the ideal elevator pitch, they are not one and the same.
- A tagline or slogan: A slogan or tagline for your business can be made from an understanding of your company's brand positioning statement, brand standards, and essence as a firm, but slogans and positioning are two separate things.
- Shown to clients: While you want consumers to get a clear understanding of your brand's position, you should focus on it through your marketing and actions rather than a printed copy of your brand positioning statement that customers can take with them.
What is a brand positioning strategy?
With the differences now highlighted between what brand positioning is and what it isn't, it's time to get strategising.
But where do you start with your own brand positioning strategy? And is it the same as a brand strategy?
At its most basic, an effective brand positioning strategy is simply a way of thinking about and articulating what a brand does and why it exists. It's about creating a unique and differentiated position in the marketplace that speaks to the needs of your target audience.
In practice, brand positioning strategies are often used as the foundation for larger marketing initiatives like brand identity or advertising campaigns. But even if you're not planning a major branding push, thinking through your brand positioning can be a helpful exercise.
It can help you crystallise what your brand stands for and make sure that all of your brand communications - from your website to your social media posts - are aligned with that message and your ideal brand position. Make use of a free social media scheduler to consistently post on social media and enhance your brand image further
And at the end of the day, isn't that what we all want? To be clear about what we do and why it matters?
There are a few key elements to consider when developing your brand positioning strategy.
3 key elements of a brand positioning strategy
It's not just your competitors worth studying in order to create a strong brand positioning statement - there are also a few more “whos” worth considering.
You also need to figure out who your product is for. When you start your brand positioning statement with "who" rather than "what," you put the customer first and avoid a lot of potential issues.
Consider who you're trying to serve before you start doing anything else, and you'll shift your perspective from one that's all about what your firm can do to one that's all about what you can do for the customer.
You can achieve this by segmenting your audience into different categories and drawing lines around those you consider to be your ideal consumer and those who may not be a good fit for your firm. The more specific you can be with your "who," the better.
Once you've established a clear picture of your competitors and consumers, you can start thinking about the features of your product. Consider what the benefit to your clients is and how it differs from what's currently available. Put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and consider what you may do for them that they couldn't do on their own.
For instance, IBM promise their users that their products will intelligently support their consumer's business goals "let's put smart to work".
When looking at the “what,” try to be as meticulous as possible. In other words, keep track of what your rivals are currently doing better than you and consider how you might improve the experience you provide your client so that your solution is more appealing.
It's also vital to ensure that you're addressing a genuine pain point for your target market rather than offering a solution to an imaginary problem. Remember that customer discomfort equals demand, and without demand, no company can succeed.
Finally, the "Why" portion of your brand positioning statement is where your company motto comes in. In fact, the "why" is perhaps the most compelling aspect of your plan. This sector focuses not only on why your firm has decided to do what it's doing, but also on why customers should trust you and pick you over other competitors.
A backstory, narrative and mission statement that explains to customers exactly who you're trying to help and what you're attempting to achieve are useful, but they lack soul. Today's potential clients need a reason to trust that whatever you're offering will really benefit them.
Your aim up until now has been to promise your consumer what you'll be able to accomplish. The "why" is giving your clients a cause to trust you after you've shown them how valuable you are. You lay the foundation for a strong brand if you can demonstrate to your consumers that you offer value all the way through their connection with you.
What is a brand positioning statement?
A brand positioning statement is a short, clear sentence that articulates what a brand represents and how it differs from its competitors. In other words, it's a brief description of why someone should buy from you instead of your rivals.
Crafting an effective brand positioning statement is essential for any business looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace. But it's not always easy to distil the unique strengths of your brand into a single, concise statement.
The typical process begins with a simple, empty statement that's rife with blanks. This sentence might look something like the below:
[Brand Name] offers [Blank] for consumers in the [Blank] industry. Unlike other brands, we provide [USP] to our customers. We/our product do/does this by [Blank], [Blank], and [Blank].
But if you're having trouble filling in the gaps in your brand positioning statement, you can ask yourself these four key questions:
What are our core values?
If you want to create a strong and lasting brand, it's important to first identify your core brand values. What are the ideals that your company stands for? What principles guide your decisions? Once you know what these core values are, you can communicate them to your customers and employees, and make sure that all of your branding decisions reflect them.
Who are our target customers?
We touched upon this earlier in the "who" section, but it's time to put all of your attention on those you think are ready for whatever your company has to offer. Consider whose problems you could help solve best, who should be kept out of that group, and how you might define your ideal customer with a specific persona.
Remember, being exact is crucial. People want to see themselves represented in your company's brand positioning statement, and the more focused it is, the more likely it is that the appropriate individuals will sense as though they're "addressed."
What needs do our target customers have that we can address?
You'll need to describe your competition, the market you're competing in, and what sets you apart in your brand positioning statement. Your Unique Selling Proposition penetrates through the language of your brand positioning statement and helps you define yourself and the needs of your consumers that you can currently address. It's the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors that your customers can't get, and that they really need.
How do our products or services solve those needs better than our competitors?
Although the advantages of your brand will most likely be apparent when you look at your unique brand position, it's also worth noting that your firm probably offers more than one benefit to customers. For example, you may have the lowest priced high-definition televisions on the market, but you also provide rapid delivery, exceptional customer service, and complex purchasing choices.
Typically, when a potential client is researching your firm, he or she will be looking for indicators of “what's in it for him.” While the terms "benefit" and "USP" are self-evident answers to that question, you must ensure that your target audience believes you can keep the brand promise you initially set out.
It's true that writing a successful brand positioning statement isn't always simple. It necessitates considerable research, the generation of important insights, and potentially many rewrites. Even after you've answered those key questions above, you may need to change your draft by adding new questions, such as:
- Have I positioned my brand apart from the competition?
- What makes my brand memorable?
- How can my brand promote trust?
- Has my brand got scalability?
- How am I encouraging my consumer to take action?
How to determine how to position your brand
Determine where your brand is currently
Are you currently marketing your product or service as just another item on the market, or are you marketing it as something unique? Your current brand positioning can help you figure out where to go next. To study your competition further, you'll need to grasp your current position.
Start by considering your target consumer and define who they are. Next, determine your goal, values, and what sets you apart from the competition. Finally, evaluate your value proposition and current brand persona and brand voice.
Identify the positioning strategy of your competitors
After examining yourself, you should analyse your competition by performing competitor analysis. What is the reason for this? You'll want to know who you're competing against so that you know how to outdo them! That knowledge will assist you in determining what more you may accomplish in your strategy to gain a competitive advantage.
There are various methods for determining your competition, including:
- Conducting market research: During the sales process, ask your sales staff about competitors that come up, or use a market term to look for businesses listed.
- Ask for consumer input: Inquire about the businesses or goods that they were considering before choosing yours.
- Consider how you might utilise social media to your benefit. Quora is a site where consumers can ask questions about products and services. Look through these forums to see what competitors exist in your niche.
- Identifying what products or services your competitors offer
- Identifying what their strengths and weaknesses are
- Understanding the types of branding strategies they're using successfully
- Understanding their current position in the market
Narrow down your unique selling propositions
Creating a unique brand is all about determining what makes you unique and what works best for your company.
After you do competitor research, there will probably be some trends. You'll notice certain companies that have similar strengths and flaws. One of their disadvantages may turn out to be your greatest strength when compared to yours.
This is your brand's distinctiveness, and it's the ideal place to start if you want to position your company in the market. Keep an eye on your unique services as you compare and contrast them, then dig down to figure out what no one else does better than you.
Build a brand positioning framework
A brand's positioning might appear cumbersome at first, with so many touchpoints to consider and weigh. This is where a brand positioning framework may help you establish your brand position.
The majority of frameworks take a top-down approach, starting with the large concept and working down to sample touchpoints that might be incorporated into tactical uses such as social media captions, blog article headlines, and advertising copy.
You can view our complete brand messaging framework guide to get an idea of how the frameworks look.
Write your brand positioning statement
It's time to put what you've learned into practice and create a brand positioning statement. A positioning statement is a one- or two-word description that expresses your company's distinctive value to customers in comparison to other businesses in the market.
To begin writing your positioning statement, answer the four questions in the above section. After that, you'll have the outline of a basic but appealing positioning statement.
Test whether your brand positioning statement works
Taking the time to target your brand towards a certain client is simply the start. It's time to test, experiment, and collect feedback from your consumers after you've finished your positioning statement.
It's critical to experiment, get feedback from your target consumers, and test your positioning to see whether it is having your desired impact.
Reinforce your brand's unique qualities through your sales funnel
With a solid brand positioning, the distinguishing features of your company's solution should be simple to comprehend and point to. Ensure that your consumers understand what makes your brand distinct throughout the selling process.
Ensure your employees represent your brand's position
Finally, the most important representative of your business is its customer-facing staff. Customers should encounter a company that reflects the core principles of your organisation and complements your brand. If your firm has a light, fun approach to branding, you should use it in your sales talks. Having an overly serious or formal tone would not be genuine to your company's brand, nor its new positioning.
To wrap up
Positioning your brand is essential if you want to be successful in today’s market. At Huddle, we understand the importance of strong branding and positioning for companies of all sizes. We can help you to create a unique brand identity that will resonate with customers and set you apart from the competition. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you put your best foot forward and achieve success in the competitive marketplace.