A brand's position is a collaborative creation: It's everything a company does to create a unique impression of itself for consumers, plus all the ways its market perceives those efforts. To improve market perception, you've got to know the elements of a successful positioning strategy.
Developing a Powerful Brand Positioning Strategy
When we talk about "positioning" in branding, we're not talking about a physical location, but about a market share—the one you're trying to win. This means finding a way to differentiate your offering from every other offering out there... and then communicating that value to the right segment, through the right channels, with the right language.
You can't dive fully into a positioning (or repositioning) strategy without knowing how your market currently perceives you. This means knowing the most useful questions to ask about prospect and customer perception, where to go to find the answers to those questions, and what tools and resources will help you measure consumer sentiment.
Positioning strategies are always relative: Your company isn't fast; it's faster. You must know your competitors intimately if you plan on standing out from them. This means gauging both their positioning strategies and their markets' perceptions of those strategies. Where are they successful, where are they failing, and where are the gaps you can fill?
Now it's time to articulate the primary value that sets you apart from your competition. Your differentiator must be unique, relevant to your target market, and something you can deliver over the long term. There are a variety of differentiation styles you can use to highlight your competitive advantage and the value you offer your market.
A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your real prospects and customers, based on insights and real data from market research. It's an essential tool for empathizing with your target market: what they hope to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, what factors cause them to buy. Know where to find the data to build them and what details to include.
You can't properly position your brand until you're clear about what your company stands for—the values you want to abide by for the long-term. Mission, vision, and values statements give your company a shared worldview and purpose that will serve as an anchor through both the monotony and chaos of running a business. Know how to make yours effective.
When done well, value propositions and unique selling propositions will shock your prospects awake by helping them realize they have a pain point they didn't even know needed solving. They're the two most significant tools you have to explain to your prospects why they should do business with you.
Your brand positioning statement is like the concentrated crystals that remain at the bottom of the glass after you've mixed all the above research and writing together and let them sit... until all the non-essentials evaporate in the sun of Contemplating Your Business Purpose. It will ultimately support all your marketing messages and bring clarity to all your sales strategies.
Now that your brand positioning statement is in place, it's time to turn that all that writing into a real-time strategy—to live and breathe the claims you've made. Brand rollout entails socializing your positioning internally, mapping touchpoints, determining your brand's voice, attending to your digital presence, and creating a style guide for your teams.