Positioning? Who cares… just get some results!
Uh-oh, did you get to this post thinking it might help you skip the boring, worthless, pain-in-your-assumptions, process of defining and getting agreement on a “positioning statement” or “strategic positioning”? Well, very sorry to disappoint, but maybe you’ll read on long enough to understand why there is no shortcut to great branding and marketing success, and what you can do about it.
Positioning has to be the most important thing you do as a brand, product, service or business. Why? Because as humans, context is all we have to delineate ideas and understand communications. It’s the reason that every letter of any languages alphabet has a different shape, mark or symbol for each letter or idea. We know that when those shapes are very similar it is hard to delineate them. But when they can be visually differentiated and come in a certain patterns, like words, then it becomes much easier. The combinations are endless, but ultimately, each different letter has a role and when combined correctly they form larger ideas and when linked together into sentences and paragraphs they become more complex and communicate much more information than what is apparent from their more simple visual makeup.
With some similarities to these building block methods, communicating a positioning begins with creating the brand language and makeup. Defining each element along with it’s connection and meaning in relation to all the others. We like to call this the brand DNA. This process requires in-depth research and analysis of all those individual elements that make the brand unique. Obviously things like the customer benefits, product attributes, identity, location, culture, methodology, business model, mission/vision and many other factors must be considered and defined as part of the whole.
What makes a brand and a positioning unique is that its made up of a set of unique identifiers that can be easily understood and communicate a special message. And as those elements are combined they begin to represent something larger and more complex in the minds of those viewing, using, or experiencing the brand.
We know when brands get it right. We can just feel it. A sense that everything leads to the same place – a place we want to be included in – and a place where we want others to see us.
What makes a brand memorable is the same thing that makes people, places and things memorable. There is something special, that’s easy to sense, feel and understand. And when you have a good experience with that person, place or thing, you’re not likely to forget it, and you’ll want to have it again.
Certainly, it’s not rocket science, but it’s also not easy or simple to accomplish. Many executives and business owners don’t believe it’s important to officially define a comprehensive positioning for their brands. And it’s unlikely that you will find those companies and brands at the at the top of their categories, but probably somewhere closer to the middle or below. And that’s fine, there is a place for everybody and enough for everybody. Unless you believe in scarcity, which might lead you to also believe it’s better to be good than to be lucky.
It is critically important for the brand language and DNA to be defined clearly at the beginning. Because without the clear language and DNA, there is no clear brand representation that can be easily grasped and understood by the audience, while they are being bombarded with about 2000 to 5000 other messages every day.
If you haven’t got a clear, precise positioning for your brand, product or service, start now and make it happen. If you need help, check out some of our other blog posts about defining a position you can own and grow. Or get in touch for a FREE 30-Minute Brand Scrum and we’ll get you started on the right track.
Kent Land is a marketing and communications strategist, creative director, social entrepreneur and musician who can be found at brand67.com. Read other marketing and creative articles at Brand67 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
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