Establishing Your Brand Positioning
Brands are like babies, it takes a little thought and a little time to create them and then there they are, out in the world and nobody really tells you how to acclimate them or socialize them. Much the same as a small child, brands need to grow awareness and expand their appeal to specific demographics. The goal of any business or nonprofit group is to grow and either expand the customer base and increase revenue or at a minimum maximize the outreach and impact the of the brand on specific markets. The way these goals are achieved is through brand positioning and marketing; but what does that mean exactly? Many people come to us asking questions about how they can begin improving local and global brand recognition and expand their sphere of influence within their target group or niche. So, we have decided to explain the ins and outs of what good brand positioning and sound marketing looks like:
What is Brand Positioning?
At its most simple and basic level, brand positioning is a process that helps put your brand in the best possible light within your market and helps keep it in the mind of your customers. Brand positioning can also be communally known as a positioning strategy or a brand strategy.
Part of creating this roadmap to success is developing a Brand Positioning Statement. This is the Who, What, For Whom, What is the need, Against Whom do we compete, What is our Point of Differentiation and Why does the consumer care exercise. These sound like simple questions but quite often they are difficult to fine tune.
A positioning statement is quite simply how a brand aspires to be perceived in the minds of their consumers. A no-nonsense, easy to understand statement that IS NOT a tagline, nor is it a long drawn out explanation of the brand and is definitely NOT open to interpretation.
By creating this Brand Positioning statement, the goal of business marketing is to in essence own a marketing niche and be the first name customers think of – this can be for an overall brand, a single or batch of products, or some special services that are provided. For example, Nike owns the marketing niche for athletic shoes, Starbucks has a strong hold on the coffeehouse market, and Mc Donald’s, Burger King, and Chick-Fil-A have some of the strongest holds on the fast food niche.
This stronghold on their particular market is achieved by using various strategies to get their name out there in front of customers and to make their brand memorable – these include pricing, ads, promotions, distribution, services, products, packaging, customer relations, and competition. The goal is to create a strong, positive, and unique impression in the customer’s mind so your brand is what they think of first and your businesses the one they choose when they have a need that you can fill and satisfy for them. This is a key part of business marketing.
Brand positioning and marketing have to both work together in order to be successful, and they often happen – some way shape or form – without much effort because it is essential to any level of business success. “Brand positioning occurs whether or not a company is proactive in developing a position, however, if management takes an intelligent, forward-looking approach, it can positively influence its brand positioning in the eyes of its target customers”.
Brand positioning statements are an important part of the business plan and are part of what helps customers remember them. However, they are often confused with company taglines or slogans. There are several key differences that need to be understood in order to maximize their impact. Positioning statements are intended for use by the employers and employees within the company or the members of the group. These statements guide brand positioning and marketing procedures and methods. A positioning statement helps you make the important decisions that can directly affect your customer’s perception and view of your brand.
A tagline is an external statement that helps push the perception of the brand in the right direction. Insights from your positioning statement may give rise to a tagline, but it is important to note that they are different. A tagline is short and simple and is the ‘jingle’ that gets stuck in people’s heads. It is that quick blurb that helps with improving local and global brand recognition. Examples of popular taglines include- “We love to see you smile”, “I’m lovin’ it”, “Just do it”, and “Every kiss begins with Kay” among countless others. It is easy to see why a good tagline helps cement your brand in people’s memory; the key is to ensure they are remembering you for the right reasons!
7-Step Brand Positioning Strategy Process
In order to create a position strategy, it is important to highlight the unique features and services that set your business or group apart from all the competition out there in your market. Brand positioning and marketing is focused on improving local and global brand recognition and wither raising support or drawing in customers. Here are the key steps that can help you identify what your positioning in the marketplace is or should be:
- Determine what the current position of the brand is and where it needs to go
- Identify the immediate and most threatening of your competitors
- Understand how your competitors are marketing themselves and their tactics
- Compare your methods to your competitors to see how you stand out from them
- Develop a focused and value-based marketing idea for your brand
- Craft a brand positioning statement that plays to your strengths
- Test the efficacy of the positioning statement with customer recall
How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement?
This short statement sums up the entire marketing plan and focuses on your business or group. It is the small snippet that is easy to say, use, and remember that gives people an idea of who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer. When it comes to brand positioning and marketing most businesses want to focus on improving local and global brand recognition and increasing customer support, and positioning statement make it easier for them to connect to you and your brand and helps them remember you better. There are four essential elements that make a positioning statement strong and effective:
You can establish your positioning statement by answering the following questions:
Who: Who are you?
What: What business are you in?
For Whom: What people do you serve?
What Need: What are the basic needs of the people you serve?
Against Whom: With whom are you competing?
What’s Different: What makes you different from those competitors?
So: What’s the benefit? What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?
After you have thought about these seven points and considered them carefully, you can craft your positioning statement, which could look something like this:
Nordstrom’s are fashion-focused department stores for trend-conscious, upper-middle-class shoppers looking for high-end products. Unlike any other department stores, Nordstrom’s provides unique merchandise in a theatrical setting that makes shopping entertaining.
15 Criteria for Evaluating Your Brand Positioning Strategy
An intellectual and clear positioning statement is a powerful tool that helps you stay focused and helps you see what course of action you need to be following to meet your brand positioning and marketing goals. Improving local and global brand recognition helps your business or group grow and be more effective and more influential. Here are 15 you can ask yourself while checking your brand positioning strength:
- Does it set your brand apart from the rest of the competition as being better somehow?
- Does it meet the customer’s perception and expectation of your brand?
- Does it keep you focused, enables growth, or allow for expansion?
- Does it emphasize the unique value and features that would appeal to your customers?
- Does it give customers a clear idea of how you are better than your competition?
- Is it focused in towards the key group of customers you are targeting?
- Is it memorable, clear, honest, personal, and motivating?
- Is it consistent with the goals and mission statement of your business or group?
- Is it easy for the general public or those not familiar with your brand to understand?
- Is it unique in a way that would make it difficult for the competition to copy you?
- Is it designed and set up to work for both short-term and long-term success?
- Is the promise your brand presents to customers believable and credible?
- Can you and your employees embrace and live out the mission of your brand?
- Will it hold up under the force of occasional negatives or a push from your competitors?
- Will it make your brand for effective in marketing and branding?
There is a lot that goes into brand positioning and marketing and or the business or nonprofit group that is looking for ways to go about improving local and global brand recognition, these questions can help you look deeper into your game plan- which will help you see the strengths and weaknesses more clearly.
Your Brand Positioning and Customer Perspective
The ultimate goal of any marketing is to be noticed and remembered- for the right reasons. “The unfortunate reality is that no marketer has the power to position anything in the customer’s mind, which is the core promise of positioning. The notion that positions are created by marketers has to die. Each customer has their own idea of what you are. Positioning is not something you do, but rather, is the result of your customer’s perception of what you do. Positioning is not something we can create in a vacuum—the act of positioning is a co-authored experience with the customers.
Contact us today for more information about brand positioning and marketing and what steps you can take to begin improving local and global brand recognition for your brand. We would be happy to discuss how you can better prepare for the goals you have and any stormy weather that may lay ahead of you within your industry market or from your competition. We can help you identify the strengths so you can continue to build on them and help you identify the weaknesses so you can minimize them and improve upon them. Contact us today to get started with brand positioning and marketing for your brand!