The perfect positioning statement isn’t found, it’s built! It’s the life science of your brand. How to know if you managed to craft it correctly? If it helps you reach the right target customers, solve their problems by offering an efficient plan to do so successfully, and finally – leave the audience with positive feelings, then you’ve done your job marvellously.
However, if you have any doubts, maybe it’s time you received some answers to the most imperative questions below.
Why is your positioning statement crucial
In our previous blog post, we’ve already outlined the major idea – a good positioning statement should originate from the response to the following question: How do I want my brand to be perceived? It should clearly define your customers and their needs. Then, it should categorize the products/services you offer and how they differ from what your competitors bring to the table. Additional focus could be placed on product characteristics, price, quality (or luxury), use and application, and so on.
Compared to a tagline, slogan or heading, all of which should be short and memorable, a good brand positioning statement is more comprehensive than a few words. It can consist of several sentences whose goal would be to convey your company’s personality, make a lasting impression on customers and give them a reason to believe. And this is part of the magic you need to invest in so that you can see your efforts pay off in the near future.
How to write your positioning statement
Let’s emphasize on the top four elements you need to build the perfect positioning statement:
Your core customers are who you need to concentrate on the most. Remember not just to perceive what they want, but also what they don’t want and avoid it at all cost.
Questions to ask yourself: Who am I trying to attract? What are their needs or pain points?
It should be a relatively easy one to pinpoint unless you offer a new groundbreaking product which will define an innovative category on the market. As easy as this step might sound, if you leave it behind and skip evaluating your product or service, your customers might get lost and choose the competition over you.
Questions to ask yourself: What is my sector? Who are my biggest competitors? Why is my company better?
This is your brand’s mantra and you must swear by it in any possible aspect. However, if you theoretically fail your customers’ expectations, you will face a lot more work than just revising your positioning statement.
Questions to ask yourself: What can I offer that no one else can? What is my unique product/service? What benefits do I offer for consumers?
Third-party endorsements, compliance with existing regulations (i.e., approved by the FDA), letters of recommendation, historical validation (i.e., 15 years of experience), claims of technical advantage (i.e., uses 25% less electricity), awards and alike will work wonders. If your brand is just being introduced to the market, your most reliable option would be to use the power of words in your favor in the previous point made.
Questions to ask yourself: How can I prove these claims? How do I show I can deliver on your promise?
To further help you cut through the noise and make a crystal-clear statement to grab the customer’s attention, here is a simple formula that you can use to start creating your magic with:
For (target audience), Brand X is the only (market context) that (unique benefit delivered) because (reasons to believe).
The sequence of the phrasing doesn’t need to be exact as long as it sounds natural, convincing, sustainable, defensible and authentic. Most importantly, keep in mind that your brand’s positioning statement doesn’t have to be euphoric, witty or attractive like taglines require to be. On the contrary, it can become quite lengthy by the time you include enough modifiers and qualifiers to target it precisely.
In case you need some further inspiration to (re)define your statement, here is how Toyota did it:
“For eco-conscious consumers who need a dependable way of getting around, Toyota is an automotive manufacturer that produces reliable, energy efficient vehicles at an affordable price. Unlike other automotive manufacturers, Toyota is a market leader that is committed to providing clean, safe, and high-quality products to our customers.”
What can go wrong
Here are some simple suggestions to consider before getting creative:
Don’t turn your positioning statement into a wish list
One of the statement’s main job is to help define the brand’s current position for future business decisions. If it is not true and accurate, you’d better not use it. Instead, take the time to refine it in order to minimize the risk of not being perceived the way you want to be.
Don’t turn your positioning statement into a marketing pitch
Your positioning statement is not something you would add to your TV commercial or billboard. But it can definitely make it into your brand book or corporate website. Therefore, when elaborating on brand reasons, features and benefits, just do it in a clear and straightforward way and leave creativity to the marketing team.
Don’t turn your positioning statement into a mirror, but a lens
Your brand’s positioning statement can serve as the lens through which you develop your communication to customers. However, it can go in two directions. One way is to write your positioning statement alone, but it might only reflect your own aspirations and benefits. Just like a mirror would do. Another way is to outsource it to an agency and end up with a statement in complete dissonance to what you want to see in the mirror. Strive for the best from both worlds – develop your positioning statement with people who can provide a fair outside viewpoint that will add value to your expert insights.
Think of your brand’s positioning statement as a road map for all business activities you plan to undertake. Or as the blueprint that will guide the rest of your strategy for internal and external endeavors. If you design it properly, it will help you stand out from the crowd and create a real, lasting connection with your target audience by convincing it of what you do, who you are, and why they need you.
Last but not least, stay optimistic! Because as your business grows and changes, you might need to grow and change your unique positioning statement accordingly as well. It’s an ongoing process, but it’s always worth the time dedicated to it!