When you see a brand that just seems to have it together, in that they seem to be “everywhere” and communicating the same kind of cool message consistently and from different platforms, it’s an effective Brand Positioning Strategy that’s at the core of their success.
That Brand Position is, in essence, the “same sheet of music” that everyone at that brand is singing from–it’s the singular platform from which all messages are launched. It’s also a strategy that takes time, expertise, and collaboration to implement, and demands a disciplined use of key positioning tools by marketers. But, when done correctly, effective use of Brand Positioning pays off big.
When we start work with a new client, we usually begin with Brand Position, because of the important role it will play in any of the brand messages we will develop, from ad copy to digital to social strategies. Starting with a Brand Assessment (a process where we utilize research, internal and audience polling, etc. to clarify Brand Position) is a great way to establish what makes a brand unique. The Assessment then results in a set of Brand Positioning tools, including a set of “Differentiators” and a “Brand Positioning Statement,” which are used by the brand’s marketers to consistently and effectively communicate the essence of their brand promise…but we’ll get into that in Part 2.
A Brand Position Exercise
For now, let’s kick off with something fun. When we start discussing Brand Position with a client, there’s a simple exercise I use to illustrate the importance and power of Brand Positioning. I’ll ask the client team (usually a mix of Leadership and Marketing) to look at some logos, one at a time, and tell me what words or phrases come to mind.
So, we’ll start out with…
…and, every time, I’ll hear the same general set of descriptors: “Expensive”, “Technology”, “Proprietary”, “Genius”, etc.
Then, we’ll try…
…and again, I hear the same exact set of words each time: “Friends”, “Privacy”, etc.
Now you try one
Look at this logo, and notice which key words and phrases come to mind…
Were some of them like these? “Yum”, “Rich”, “Environmentalists”, “Hippie”, “Vermont”…
Why is it that I hear the same general set of words for each of these logos? Where in the Apple logo does it say “proprietary” or “genius”? Where in the Ben & Jerry’s logo do we see “Vermont” or “Hippie”…? One of two things must be true – either…
- These logos are magic, or
- Positioning works.
…spoiler alert, it’s #2. These brands have consistently and tirelessly put out messages from the same brand position time and again, so that their brand story is cemented in our brains – permanently affixed to these logos in our minds. This memorable success is not by accident; these brands use the exact same tools described above with persistence and discipline.
We’ll get more into the tools, process, and science of a Brand Assessment next time. And, in the meantime, see what other brand stories you can identify hiding behind some of the logos in your mind. You’ll be surprised by how much info effective brand positioning has put there!