This post is the second of a four part Spark Series on branding.
Last week in part one of this Spark Series we gave an overview into the complex world of brands. The backbone of a brand is its positioning statement, which provides guidance for how a company develops the marketing strategy. The positioning statement is a summary of who your brand is and why consumers should choose it. I like to think of it as an elevator pitch. If you happened to meet your ideal consumer in the elevator, how would you pitch your product before the doors opened on her floor?
Developing a positioning statement is a crucial exercise for any company, as it sets the stage for the brand’s strategy. It forces the company to solidify what the brand stands for and how it serves its customers. The best positioning statements are a reflection of insights about the target audience based on research that identifies their needs and goals.
The question you must answer in this statement is what you do, how your products/services fulfil consumer needs, and why the customer should choose you.
A winning positioning statement has 4 components:
1. Target audience
Every brand must have a target audience, and contrary to many business owners’ belief, your target audience cannot be “everyone”. You must narrow down your ideal consumer in terms of demographics and psychographics, which are factors that help identify lifestyle choices. Establishing who your audience is will determine what your message is and how to deliver it.
2. Frame of reference
The frame of reference defines the category that you operate in and gives the consumer an immediate set of expectations about what you provide. For example, if you define the frame of reference as being a beauty salon, clients will expect to be able to book hair, nail, makeup, and other grooming appointments.
3. Point of Difference (POD)
The frame of reference defines the category, and now you need to tell your target audience why they should choose you instead of others in this category. What is it that makes you better than your competitors? Are you more dependable? Does your product taste better? Can you do things quicker? The benefit of choosing your brand needs to be made clear in your positioning statement, and this benefit can be either functional or emotional.
4. Reason to Believe (RTB)
If you claim to be better in some way, the consumer needs to know why he should believe that claim. If you’ve stated that your product is of better quality, is it because the materials are made in a country of higher standards than your competition? If you’ve stated that you’re quicker than your competition in delivering orders, is it because you have a larger fleet of delivery bikes on the road? Consumers are not easily fooled, and that makes the RTB an important part of the brand positioning statement.
The fact that the hairstylists are French implies quality, and their ability to blow dry in under 20 minutes assures their busy and discerning clients that coming to Breeze Blow Dry Lounge will be a quick but satisfying visit.
Who should write the positioning statement?
The best positioning statements are crafted when major stakeholders in the company are invited to a creative session. Companies often limit these meetings only to marketers, but I think that can be detrimental. Employees from other departments like Sales often have valuable insight into the behaviours of the customer, so I encourage the inclusion of all key team members who are involved in some way in the promotion of your brand.
In this meeting, data driven consumer insights should be presented to help all participants better understand the consumers’ functional and emotional needs. Then your brand and products should to be evaluated to highlight the features they possess that meet those needs. From there, your team can craft the perfect brand positioning statement.
As with everything to do with branding, creating the perfect positioning statement that reflects what your brand has to offer takes time. However, if you narrow your target audience, understand them well, and have a product that meets their needs the process should flow naturally.
If you have questions about writing your brand’s positioning statement, please don’t hesitate to reach out on email@example.com!