When it comes to making purchase decisions, today’s consumers are just a few keystrokes away from discovering a host of competing solutions, which is why a brand positioning strategy can set your brand apart. If you don’t have a strategy in place for differentiating your brand from countless others, you risk losing business to the competition.
With a brand positioning strategy, you can influence your target audience’s perception of your brand and stand out in a competitive market. It will also help you develop a foundation for your marketing efforts and build trust with your audience.
So what does a brand positioning strategy involve? Here are its fundamental components:
1. Understand Your Current Positioning
Start by taking inventory of how your brand is currently positioned in the market. Successful brands are founded on the following elements:
- Mission statement
- Core values
- Value proposition
- Brand persona
Understanding these essential pieces of your brand will help you create a brand positioning strategy that’s relevant to your target audience.
Next, you’ll need to clearly define your target customer and understand how they differ from the broader market.
Segment your market based on what makes sense for your brand’s attributes and the benefits it delivers. For instance, you may choose to segment by demographic, geographic location, lifestyle, or purchase behavior.
Once you have a clear picture of your target market, ask: What values and benefits are most important to my ideal customer? There are several types of benefits to consider:
Consider which of these benefits resonate most with your target audience. In B2B markets, for instance, buyers put prime importance on economic benefits, while consumers typically make buying decisions based on emotional reasons.
2. Determine How Your Competitors are Positioned in the Market
After you’ve completed an initial assessment of your brand and target market, the next step is to conduct a competitor analysis:
- Identify your top competitors. Using a visual tool like a matrix, compare and contrast your brand with competing brands and make note of its strengths and weaknesses. Analyze how your competitors are positioning themselves. What do they do better than your brand? What do they do worse?
- Isolate your brand’s top differentiating factor or unique benefit. It should be relevant to your target audience’s values as well as consistent with your brand’s values and personality. This unique factor or benefit is the angle from which you will position your brand.
- Based on your target market assessment, make note of the importance of your brand’s unique benefit in the eyes of your potential customers. If your audience isn’t yet aware of the value you’re bringing to the table, you may need to focus your branding strategy around educating your audience and getting their buy-in.
3. Create Your Brand Positioning Statement
Once you’ve defined your target customer, analyzed the competition, and identified your competitive differentiator, you’re ready to create a brand positioning statement. Unlike an ad slogan or tagline, your positioning statement should be used internally to help guide your branding efforts.
A good brand positioning statement is concise – no more than one or two sentences long – and typically includes four important components, based on the data gathered in steps 1 and 2:
- Target audience. Who is your ideal buyer persona?
- Market definition. What niche or category of the market does your brand best serve?
- Benefit/point of difference. What is the unique benefit or competitive differentiator that you identified in the previous step?
- Reason(s) to believe. What proof do you have for the aforementioned benefit?
As an example, let’s take a hypothetical beauty parlor called Mandy’s Hair Salon. The brand positioning statement might look something like this:
“For the woman who wants to look her best every day [target audience], Mandy’s Hair Salon [market definition] offers the most realistic hair extensions [benefit/competitive differentiator] installed by top celebrity hairstylists [reason to believe].”
4. Implement Your Positioning Statement
Now that you’ve crafted a brand positioning statement, it’s time to put it to use. Here are a few ways you can begin to implement your positioning statement in your overall branding strategy:
Set SMART goals for your brand positioning strategy. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-driven, and Time-bound.
Align your brand positioning statement with your marketing plan. Always tie the features and benefits of your products back to your differentiating factor.
Make a case for your claims. Don’t just tell your customers why you can deliver on your promise better than your competitors – prove it with reviews, case studies, testimonials, and product demos.
It’s much more efficient to focus on highlighting your brand’s core strengths than to try to be everything to everyone. Your brand positioning strategy will help you carve out your own segment in the market as you consistently deliver on your brand promise.