How to Write a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement
How to Write a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement
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How is your brand different and better than your competitors’ brands? Successful brands have a powerful brand positioning statement. They’ve conducted a brand audit, evaluated their competition, surveyed their target audience, and written and revised their statement to get it just right.
A powerful brand positioning statement helps successful brands to produce the right types of marketing messages that make their brand irresistible. And, when you use the latest approaches and automated research tools, you will quickly develop a persuasive brand positioning statement so you can do the same.
What is Brand Positioning?
People call Philip Kotler “the father of modern marketing.” He defines brand positioning as “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.”
Given that definition, your brand position needs to be unique to your business. You can’t just be “better” than your competitors. You need to establish a clear definition of your unique niche in the marketplace.
What is a Brand Positioning Statement?
A brand positioning statement is a short written document that you develop to describe your brand’s identity or image as compared to your competitors. You can use the statement in your marketing to help consumers perceive your brand in a distinctive way.
It sounds like it should be something you can jot down in a minute or two because you understand your brand well. However, it’s worth taking the time to involve the right stakeholders and put the time in to develop an accurate statement.
A brand positioning statement isn’t something you publish externally, but it will determine the messages you send to your various target markets. It will dictate the tone of every email message campaign and every piece of content marketing. Your salespeople will use it to identify prospects and describe the benefits of your product or service. It’s the key to your success because it will provide the foundation for all of your marketing initiatives.
You need to write it down to make sure you get it right. You also need to be able to distribute it internally. As Kotler said, “You should never go to battle before you’ve won the war on paper.” Write the statement down, review it, edit it, and make sure it describes a distinctive place in your prospects’ minds. Confirm that you’ve won the war on paper before entering the marketing fray.
Does your business need more than one statement? Many businesses do. You may need a global statement, and then different brand positioning for different:
products and services
If you want to develop a strong brand positioning statement, there are specific steps you can follow. These steps will help you address the aspects of brand positioning that will allow you to do the job well.
Conduct a Brand Audit
Start by evaluating your brand as it exists currently. You’ll see benefits from completing this step:
An internal audit will identify whether your existing brand reflects what you think it should. The worst thing you can do is develop a brand positioning statement that isn’t supported by your brand values, mission, and company culture.
An external audit will let you know how effectively you are communicating your brand now. It will also point out if your brand is in line with your customers’ expectations.
1. Clarify How You Define Your Brand
Review everything you have that currently defines your business. That includes things such as your marketing plan, mission, vision, unique selling proposition, and value proposition. Clarify how you’ve defined your target markets, and what your brand promises them.
Then, go to the market to test your mission statement and value proposition. Find out whether how you are defining your brand include key differentiators that consumers recognize. You can use Suzy™ to gather that type of feedback, and to learn more about your consumers to increase your understanding of what attracted them to purchase your brand.
2. Review Your Marketing Materials
Compare everything your prospects and customers see to determine whether those items reflect your brand. Things to include:
Online communications such as website, social media, content marketing
You can get consumer feedback to understand where you’re communicating well, and where there are weaknesses or gaps that your new positioning statement can address. Use Suzy™ to get feedback on your existing logos, packaging, print advertising and online communications.
3. Gather Perception Information
Conduct surveys to determine how employees and your target market perceive your brand. You can compare this information to how you perceive the brand to see how well you’re communicating.
Survey Employees: If your employees don’t understand your brand, they can’t communicate it well. Find out how well your organization is training employees on both your brand and how they can deliver on your brand promise. An anonymous survey will generate more accurate responses. Ask questions like:
How do you describe our brand?
Which types of customers and prospects does our brand attract?
How do you make sure our customers get the benefits we promise?
How do you think our brand outshines the competition?
What would you do to improve our brand?
Survey Your Target Markets: This is where Suzy™ can save you time and help you get direct feedback from consumers. It’s quick and easy to select a target market using Suzy™’s custom targeting parameters. You’ll also be able to use retargeting to ask follow-up questions as you refine your brand positioning. Ask questions such as:
Have you heard of this brand?
Have you ever used this brand?
How would you describe this brand?
What problem does this brand solve?
How do you think this brand is better than its competition?
Evaluate Your Competitors
You may know exactly who you’re competing against. But, it may be worth taking some steps to make sure the competitive environment hasn’t changed. For example:
Ask your sales team who they are competing against for sales.
Ask customers about other products or services they’ve considered.
Do internet searches for keyword phrases related to your industry to see which competitors are ranking well.
Once you know you have the right list of competitors, dig a bit deeper to determine how they are positioning their brand. Here are ways to do that research:
Evaluate your competitors’ websites and social media sites to see how they are marketing themselves.
Characterize the marketing strategies competitors use.
Draw conclusions about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
Get feedback from your target market, also. Suzy™ will shine in helping you to obtain this type of feedback.
· Determine how consumers define or perceive the competitive environment in your market and whether your brand falls within those perceptions.
· Identify whether consumers align you with any of your competitors.
· Ask consumers what stands out to them on your competitors’ websites and social media.
· Find out what expectations consumers have from brands in your competitive landscape and whether your online presence meets those expectations.
Determine How Your Brand is Unique
Based on the information you’ve gathered, you will probably start to see patterns emerge. Your target market research will tell you what the consumer thinks your strengths are. Your competitor research will tell you where you differ from other offerings in your marketplace.
When you put that feedback together, you should be able to see the things that make your brand unique.
Analyze the Information You’ve Gathered
Gather the stakeholders in your organization to help you analyze what you’ve learned from your brand audit and competitor evaluation. Ask yourself the following types of questions:
Does your existing brand definition match internal and external perceptions?
Do your existing marketing materials and online presence effectively reflect your brand?
Does your digital marketing attract the prospects and customers that best represent your target markets?
Do you need to revise your existing brand definition to illustrate your competitive advantages more clearly and attract the right prospects and customers?
Write Your Brand Positioning Statement
Four elements are necessary for a brand positioning statement. You can start by defining each of these elements before you craft a statement:
Target customer: Define the target group you want your statement to attract.
Market Description: Define your product or service category.
Benefits: You can also think of this element as your brand promise. Describe the benefits your target market obtains that are better than your competition.
Proof: Describe how you prove the benefits of your product or service. Sometimes it’s helpful to state this element in terms of how you are unlike your competitors.
Here’s an example from a hypothetical cruise line:
Target customer: Families, couples, singles, and seniors looking for a variety of shipboard and excursion experiences
Market Description: Cruise line
Benefits: The most fun you can have on vacation; superb service
Proof: Over 100 onboard experiences for every taste; stops at unique destinations with uncommon shore excursions
The cruise line could create the following types of brand positioning statements. This statement might be something you would use externally for research purposes:
Hypothetical Cruise Line provides families, couples, singles, and seniors with the most fun they can have on vacation. With over 100 onboard experiences, shore excursions to unique destinations, and the best service on the seas, we give our customers an experience they’ll never forget.
Since the statement is really for internal use, the cruise line may write something more descriptive, but a bit less formal:
For families, couples, singles, and seniors who are looking for a variety of shipboard and excursion experiences, Hypothetical Cruise Line offers a cruise experience tailored to each individual’s taste. Unlike other cruise lines, we offer over 100 onboard experiences, we stop at unique destinations offering uncommon shore excursions, and we provide the most attentive service on the seas.
Evaluate Your Statement
The final step in developing a brand positioning statement is to test its effectiveness. Ask yourself the following types of questions:
Does it point out your competitive advantages?
Does it identify the value you bring to your customers?
Will it work as a jumping-off point for your marketing decisions?
Is it memorable?
Can your business deliver on the brand promise?
The second way to evaluate your statement is to ask your target market for feedback. Use Suzy™ to ask the questions that will lead you in the right direction. For the Hypothetical Cruise Line example, the questions might be:
Do you believe that this statement is accurate?
Does the statement motivate you to book with the cruise line?
Does the statement describe benefits you can’t get with other cruise lines?
Which benefit is most important to you, the number of onboard experiences or going on excursions to uncommon locations?
The quick feedback you get from target market research is critical to ensuring that you have the best statement. If you find discrepancies, you then have the opportunity to determine how to address them. You may need to make your value proposition more evident in the statement or change your marketing efforts to do a better job of communicating it.
Claim Your Position in Your Marketplace
Using Suzy™, you can connect directly to your target audience to get real-time feedback. You can find out if your statement rings true with your target market. You can also test specific parts of your statement to identify things like which proof statements your market finds most compelling. And, you can do it all so fast that you won’t be slowed down waiting for traditional market research approaches.
As a result, you’ll create a powerful brand positioning statement. Learn more about how Suzy™’s consumer intelligence platform will support creating a statement that you can use to capture the minds of your target audience.
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Suzy™ is a better, faster way to conduct market research at the click of a button – like having a focus group right in your pocket.