Brand Positioning, While In Evolution
Our studio works with a diversity of clients, but most come to us in evolution: at pivotal points in their growth, maturation, and offering. For instance, we’ve worked with Series A companies that want to go to market with a compelling brand but don’t yet have a fully realized product, companies looking to emerge out of stealth who have a big vision for tomorrow but want to focus on their current product to prove results today, and maturing organizations at pivotal points in their trajectory who are facing existential decisions about how to evolve their products or build new ones. We also work with organizations who have built credibility around a certain product and/or product suite that now need to shift due to market changes and outside forces, or corporations who’ve grown via merger and acquisition and now find themselves with a complex product architecture and a diluted position in the market.
Whenever they are in their maturation—from startup to legacy—the tension between today and tomorrow can be a challenge when it comes to brand positioning, especially when what a company offers is changing or plans to change. Some worry that if they stand for something too big and too far away, the brand might overpromise on what it can actually deliver to people today. On the flip side, for many in growth mode, positioning solely around what you can credibly deliver on right now means outgrowing that position—and quickly.
Brand Positioning Should Be A North Star
It’s important to remember that product positioning and brand positioning are not one and the same. Your Brand Positioning sits on top of your product or offering, elevating the features and benefits, and value of what you offer to new heights of meaning, differentiation, and relevance in people’s minds and hearts. Ideally, a Brand Positioning should last more than several years (investing the time and resources in a brand positioning is not something you want to undertake every time what you offer evolves slightly), acting as the North Star not only for brand marketing decisions, but for product decisions, sales decisions, recruiting strategies, brand experiences, and beyond.
A Question of Balance
So, the question becomes: how do we position a brand in evolution for success today? And tomorrow? Do we own a position that speaks exclusively to what our product can offer our customers right now, or do we go big and position for the future? Or, somewhere in between? What’s the right balance?
Enter A Progressive Positioning Strategy
Enter what we call a Progressive Positioning Strategy. A brand positioning strategy that can move and evolve as your business, product, and culture does…which, for those in growth mode, it’s bound to.
Take a look:
1. Look outside-in
No compelling positioning is built in a vacuum. Our process always begins with examining trends and forces, both within your industry and in the world at large. For many clients, it’s easy to get stuck in your own thinking, rules, and expectations. Opening the aperture to what’s happening around you can change the game in terms of what’s possible.
2. Build around what’s true and unchanging
We work collaboratively with our clients to uncover what we call evergreen truths: foundational tenets that are baked into the DNA of what you do, how you do it better and uniquely, and why it matters—focusing on uncovering the truths that are true today…and will be true tomorrow. Starting here can enable relevance right now and in the future.
3. Scale the product to meet your ambition
Brands in growth mode have a vision or aspiration they are growing towards. They can envision what they want their brand to be five or even ten years from now. Aligning around this ultimate aspiration can ensure that the product decisions you’re making today are getting you step by step towards that ultimate ambition.
4. Find the right mix of today and tomorrow
Ultimately, any powerful brand has a blend. We work with our clients to find that perfect mix of today and tomorrow to create a brand that is both future-forward and visionary, while delivering and proving results and building credibility today. No brand requires the same balance. That’s why we dive deep to understand the nuance of the perfect blend for your brand, business, and culture.
5. Invite others into your shared vision of tomorrow
Building a community of “believers” who not only believe in what you do today, but what you have the potential to mean to them and the world in the future is critical. We help identify who those people are and what they care about, rationally and emotionally. We brand build to evoke immediate trust and credibility, while letting customers into your vision and helping them feel like they are a part of it is something bigger: your future.
If you want to chat more about our approach to Progressive Positioning Strategy or how to build a brand for today and tomorrow, please reach out. Emotive is an Oakland-based brand strategy and design studio.