Welcome back to our conversation on positioning! In Part 1 of this discussion (you can read that post here), we explored how powerful a roll positioning plays in effective marketing and brand storytelling. We talked about how those brands that seem to have it all together, that seem to be “everywhere” with consistent messaging, all start with an effective Brand Positioning Strategy.
In this post, we’ll look at where to start when building a Brand Positioning Strategy and the foundational components of that strategy.
The key process to undertake when clarifying brand position is a Brand Assessment—a thorough examination of current brand perceptions and competitive position that culminates in a set of brand positioning tools known as Brand Differentiators and a Brand Positioning Statement.
In our Brand Assessments, there are three primary steps:
- Research and Analysis: This includes a review of the brand’s current messaging, mission, and vision statements, current org chart and brand hierarchy, competition and target audience analyses, etc.
- Audience Polling: To test perceptions of key internal and external stakeholders, it’s important to ensure consistency and thoroughness by leveraging several different polling methods, usually starting with discussion groups and an online survey.
- Presentation of Findings: An analysis of trends from research and polling, and the key brand positioning tools developed from our conclusions—a set of Brand Differentiators and a Brand Positioning Statement.
Brand Differentiators should relay those aspects of a brand that separate it from the competition. A set of Differentiators works together with the Brand Positioning Statement to articulate the foundation for a Brand Position. Differentiators should be brief, inspiring, and each should have a memorable title.
Differentiators and a Brand Positioning Statement are only as good as the discipline with which they are used. No brand-messaging tool is useful if it isn’t consistently used as part of a disciplined strategy. Also, unlike a Mission or a Vision statement, Brand Differentiators and the Brand Positioning Statement are not to be utilized as messaging. They are for internal use only, as a platform from which to launch messaging.
Brand Positioning Statement
Along with a clear set of Brand Differentiators, a Brand Positioning Statement provides an articulation of the competitive positioning strategy. It can be inspirational, persuasive, or just a powerful set of words that create a common understanding and align beliefs and actions. Again, a Brand Positioning Statement is not messaging. It is the platform for all brand communications—a kind of “vision statement for your marketing.”
Positioning Statements used by brands large and small all follow a set formula:
For (definition of target market), X Brand is (definition of frame of reference or subjective category), that delivers (promise or consumer benefit), because of (reason to believe).
Putting Positioning to Work
Consistently utilizing Brand Positioning tools—Brand Differentiators and a Brand Positioning Statement—will help all the people at your organization sing off that “same sheet of music” when telling your brand story. As we discussed in Part 1 of this topic, this is a strategy that takes time, expertise, collaboration, and discipline to implement, but the payoffs can be huge in maintaining consistency and clarity in your marketing.