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Brand Positioning is one of the most important strategic exercises for any business, yet it is often misunderstood. Positioning is about how your brand is perceived in the minds of your target customers in relation to competitors. It captures what makes your business unique, the specific customer needs you serve, and how you communicate that value. Developing a clear positioning strategy and aligning your business around it is key to effectively reaching your target audience, standing out from the competition, guiding marketing efforts, and ultimately driving growth and success. This article will explore what positioning is, why it matters, how to develop a positioning strategy, and how to bring that strategy to life across your business.
The Importance of Having a Clear Brand Positioning Strategy
Having a clear, well-defined positioning strategy is crucial for any business. Without a strong brand positioning strategy guiding your efforts, your branding and messaging can end up generic, unfocused, and ultimately ineffective. A thoughtful positioning strategy helps anchor and guide all of your marketing decisions and brand communications. Firstly, positioning defines your target audience and ideal customer profile. Rather than trying to appeal to a wide range of customers, brand positioning focuses your efforts on a specific, clearly-defined target audience that you can serve exceptionally well. This enables more relevant and resonant messaging.
Positioning also pinpoints your brand’s key differentiators - those meaningful ways in which you deliver more value to your customers than competitors. This helps ensure you aren’t seen as replaceable or generic. Communicating focused differentiation makes your value clear.
Finally, brand positioning shapes your value proposition. This summarizes the unique value you provide your audience and why they should choose you. A compelling value proposition serves as a guiding light for your content and guides product development priorities. In essence, positioning brings strategic clarity to your marketing. It ensures every effort ladder up to convey a consistent brand purpose focused on serving your target audience.
How to develop your brand positioning strategy
Developing a strong positioning strategy does take effort, but following a step-by-step process can make it manageable. Here are some tips:
First, clearly define your target audience by creating detailed buyer personas. Identify both demographic and psychographic profile details to deeply understand your ideal customers’ needs, pain points, behaviors, and motivations.
Next, analyze your competitors through the lens of your buyers. How are competitors positioning themselves? What messaging are they using? What gaps or opportunities exist in the competitive landscape you could own? Finding an open positioning opportunity can help you stand out.
With your target audience and competitive analysis complete, determine your brand’s core differentiators. What capabilities, offerings, services, or philosophies set you apart from competitors in a meaningful way for your audience? Find that sweet spot of differentiation that competitors can’t easily copy without compromising their own positioning.
Now craft a value proposition that conveys your differentiation and its value to your customers in their own words. Make sure to focus on their needs, not just your features. Test this messaging with your target audience to ensure it resonates.
Finally, don’t just set your positioning and forget it. Consistently evaluate whether your messaging and positioning still reflects your core differentiators as your business evolves. Make slight positioning tweaks if needed while retaining brand consistency. Following this positioning development process helps ensure you have a solid framework for standing out with focused, benefit-driven messaging tailored to your target audience. This clarity of positioning is invaluable for business success.
Bringing your positioning to life
A strong brand positioning strategy doesn’t just live in a document on your desktop - it should permeate and inform every aspect of your marketing. Here are some ways to ensure your positioning comes to life within your business:
- Messaging and Brand Voice: Your brand voice and all marketing copy should directly reflect your positioning. The language and tone used should bring your differentiators and value proposition to life.
- Visual Identity: Your logo, color palette, fonts, and overall visual identity should visually reinforce your differentiated brand attributes and personality conveyed through positioning.
- Content Strategy: Develop content that speaks directly to the needs, interests, and goals of your target audience as defined by your positioning.
- Product Development: Use your value proposition as a North Star for product development and enhancements. Will this new feature add to our positioning?
- Customer Experiences: The experiences customers have with your brand at every touchpoint should fulfill the promise of your positioning. Is the experience on-brand? Regularly conduct positioning audits to ensure your branding, content, and experiences continually reinforce your core positioning in the market. Consistency is key to differentiation.
Developing a strong brand positioning strategy provides immense value for any business. It serves as a strategic framework that keeps your branding, content, and marketing focused on your core target audience and differentiated value. Without clear positioning, you risk seeming generic and customers won’t understand why they should choose you over alternatives. But with thoughtful positioning that sets you apart, you can consistently attract and engage your ideal target audience. Positioning brings clarity to business strategy and marketing efforts, so dedicate time to refining this positioning and ingraining it across your organization. When positioning informs all you do, it becomes a platform for long-term brand success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(s)
Roland Tannous is managing partner and lead strategy and digital transformation consultant at GravityThink.