Every business (or product, service, campaign, event, project, nonprofit, whatever) that needs to be marketed, has to do what it can to minimize competition and maximize income. This requires the organization in question to position itself properly within the vast landscape of brands that are out there. The world is full of other brands, competing, commanding attention, cluttering up the minds of buyers. In such a world, no brand can succeed for long if it is not positioned in a way that makes it most attractive to its best prospective customers while also putting its competition at a disadvantage. Proper positioning takes some effort. No one person can be in command of all the competing narratives in the world, so you can’t just trust your instincts alone. Every marketable asset needs a formal brand positioning statement.
The beauty of writing a formal positioning statement for your marketable asset is it compels you to do the work that leads up to and informs the statement. That is, you have to make a real business case for positioning your brand in a certain way relative to your competition. In doing so, you’ll have to take a sober look at your products and/or services, your customers’ experiences, your competitive environment and your own internal values. It’s important to study all these facets of your business because only by doing so can you begin to understand what your brand looks like to the outside world – your market. Only then will you know how it should be experienced in order to maximize growth and revenue – and minimize competition.
A good positioning statement describes how you want your market to perceive you. Actually, it’s more accurate to say it describes how you want your market to feel about you. Purchases, of any sort, of any size, are driven by emotions. So, before you can define your brand, you have to be aware of what kinds of emotional triggers will drive someone to purchase from you.
In B2B situations, fear and pride are two emotions that often drive purchasing decisions. Fear of making the wrong decision and getting reprimanded (or worse) for it. Pride in making the right choice and getting a pat on the back (or more) from the boss. But there are usually other emotional factors in play as well. In the B2C world, any number of emotions can drive sales. How does one determine which emotions are going to drive sales for your particular brand? Do a little qualitative research. Ask your clients or customers.
Ask Boardwalk to guide you
through the positioning process.
Assuming the research is properly conducted, careful analysis should reveal the most advantageous “open territory” for the brand. Time then to get down to writing the positioning statement.
A strong brand positioning statement makes a brand promise – a unique, differentiating promise that only the brand in question can keep. We’ve written about the brand promise in detail elsewhere on this blog. Every brand promise should be characterized by the eight following qualities.
• Proprietary – a promise no one else can match
• Authentic – based on your true background and capabilities
• Aspirational – not just who you are but also where you’re going
• Achievable – no pie-in-the-sky claims
• Focused – you can’t be all things to all people
• Consistent – the same brand promise across all divisions
• Sustainable – should last 15-20 years
• Simple – so even a 12-year-old can understand it
It’s important that positioning explorations are completed before any kind of identifying work is begun. The brand’s positioning will lead to a better brand name, more apt visual identity, more on-target marketing communication tools, etc. For best results, first, position the brand. Then identify it. Then communicate its single brand promise to every one of its constituencies.
Best Branding Reads – Week of June 10, 2019
How Rainbow-Washing Threatens Brands
Thanks, Chris Wren, for addressing a touchy subject and making a perfect point.
Attack Of The Micro Brands
An older post, but I just discovered it and it’s truly a worthwhile read.
The Physical Brand with Scott Galloway, best-selling author of The Four
I agree with the author. Retail is not dying. It’s transforming.
Meaning Is The Bridge Every Brand Must Build
What do you mean to your customers? What does it say about them that they buy from you?
Stade Rennais Football Club – Branding
A difficult read, but a really nice example of brand identity for a sports team. Extremely well done.
Pure Leaf Shrouds Itself in Black to Express Luxury
It’s difficult to design for luxury. Good job here.
‘Molecules of freedom’: US Energy Department tries rebranding natural gas
Let’s all thank Brandtalk reader Aaron H. for spotting this hilarious example of our government at work.