Is your market full of products and services that all look the same? Do you find yourself competing on price more often than you’d like to? In a market crammed with me-too products and services, a powerful positioning can help customers pick you out of a line-up of seemingly identical offerings.
Finding the right positioning for your business is an important and delicate process. In this blog we will explain 3 crucial steps you need to take to arrive at a compelling brand positioning strategy.
Busting some common misconceptions
No, your positioning is not the same as your strapline or logo!
Imagine your business’ brand is a house. (Imagine you are a tree! Not really.) Your positioning is the foundation of your house. Your clients may not even be able to see it, but your positioning will inform every aspect of how your business appears to the outside world, from how you conduct yourselves, to the way you talk to your customers, to the colour of your toilet paper. (OK, just kidding about the toilet paper, but your positioning will certainly inform your choice of brand identity, including typeface and colours).
Step 1: Understand your target market: what makes them tick?
Understanding your target market will give you a clear picture of the environment your business needs to live in. It’ll help you ensure your business is doing all it can to survive and thrive.
Apart from identifying your market in terms of the industry and geography you work in, think about what else you know about your clients. Can you draw a picture (literally and metaphorically) of your ‘typical client’? Go on!
- What do they look like, including the clothes they wear?
- What do they do in their lunch break?
- What do they do after work?
- Where do they want their business to be in 1 year’s time?
- Where – personally – do they want to be in 1 year’s time?
You might have a number of distinct client groups, who seem to have little common ground between them. Do not under any circumstances think this gives you a licence to come up with two different positionings, depending on who you’re talking to! (Bad bad bad!) Joking aside, it simply doesn’t work to have 2 different positionings aimed at 2 different groups: you don’t want your brand to start life with a multiple personality disorder! In this case, what you need to do is find the things that they do have in common, and use these to build your picture.
Step 2: Check out the competition
Now that you’ve identified your market, it’s time to get a snapshot of your competitors. (As many as you like!) Don’t forget to include businesses which may offer a different product or service, but still fill the same role for your clients as you.
Now you need to think about what they promise to their customers. They’re probably all offering a similar service or product, so you might need to look at how they do what they do that makes them different. Do they claim to be the fastest, the most reliable, the most up-to-date? Have a look at their websites or other marketing material and see if you can work out how they’re trying to project themselves. (This is starting to feel a bit like online dating, isn’t it?) Don’t think about it too much, and follow your gut instinct: first impressions count for a lot here.
Make a note of the promise (overt or implied) that your competitors make to their clients. This (whether they realise it or not) is their positioning. Don’t get carried away! Each should be only a few words long.
(Example: Speedyco couriers: 100% reliability. Happychum dog walkers: a personal service)
Stand back and take a look: are there any really common themes which need to be avoided? Anything that stands out that might be ripe for you to claim?
Step 3: Clarify exactly what your business does
This is a good opportunity to ensure that you, and the rest of your team, are clear on exactly what it is that your business does. Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? But you’d be amazed at how many businesses – especially those which have evolved organically over the years – are unclear about exactly what it is they do, and for whom.
Here are some questions to help you through this process:
- What business are you in? (Imagine your child saying “Mummy / Daddy does…”)
- What products or services do you provide?
- Whose needs do you fulfil?
- What problem do you solve for them?
- What are your unique advantages? E.g. low cost high durability, best rates and customer service, easy accessed free of charge, etc.
- What position do you hold in the marketplace?
Once you’ve completed these three steps, you can work out what makes your business unique and turn this into your benefit statement, which will form the basis of your positioning statement and may look like this:
‘Daredevil Couriers always despatch deliveries as soon as they are collected. This means your deliveries get there in the shortest time possible, giving you absolute peace of mind.’
Remember: your positioning statement conveys how you wish to be perceived. It might not necessarily be how your business is perceived at the moment, but it gives the direction the organisation intends to go in, and management believes this is a realistic goal.
Coming up with the right positioning for your business is an important process and can be tricky at times. Sometimes it helps to have someone from outside your business to ‘See the wood for the trees’. If you want to check you’re on the right track, download our free ebook to understand the fascinating world of Brand Archetypes.
Brand chemistry is a strategic brand agency. With more than 10 years experience building brands, we know what it takes to stand out amongst your competitors. Take a look at our client case studies to find out more.