The Power of Brand Positioning
Strong brand positioning has a great impact on the success of your business. But many high-growth companies struggle with how best to position themselves and communicate why they matter. Getting this right is hard, but critical. And if you fail at this, your customers won’t know whether to buy from you or your competitors.
In short, positioning is the process of distinguishing your brand from your competitors in meaningful ways. It’s about what you offer, what value you deliver, and what place you hold in your target audience’s mind. Defining a clear positioning allows you to control how the market perceives you and better positions your product and/or service to be more convincing and attractive in that market.
Dynamic Markets = Shifts in Positioning
Markets, in their very nature, are dynamic – always shifting and progressing. Many businesses spend a lot of time, focus, and energy properly positioning their brand in the current market. And that alone, is hard to get right. But what many businesses fail to do is reassess their brand positioning down the road as needed.
Markets change. New competitors enter. And companies develop and deploy new products, features, and benefits constantly. Note that maintaining your positioning doesn’t necessarily ensure your brand will be relevant in the future. Your positioning needs to last in a dynamic environment.
Examining your positioning can ensure you situate your business as the first and best choice in your market. So when you are evaluating your current positioning, ask the following questions about your brand:
Is your brand positioned to…?
Compete? A strong frame of reference helps the people who matter to your success understand, recognize, and embrace your meaningful difference. In order to assess if you need to shift your positioning, look to your competitors. Who do your target audiences compare your brand with and how do you compete? What is the best way to position your brand against new competition?
Help people value your brand? Once people understand your brand, your positioning should make your brand more meaningful to them. To create meaning, you need to have a deep understanding of your target markets. Have their behaviors, mindsets, values, needs, interests, fears, frustrations, joys, and dreams shifted? Does your positioning still feel right to the people who matter to your business? So work on creating simple and significant positioning that you tailor to your brand’s target markets. Positioning that doesn’t adjust to and predict your customer’s needs will struggle to stay relevant today.
Make informed decisions? Your brand positioning should act as a strategic northstar. To make sure of this, consider whether your employees and leaders use your positioning to guide their strategic decisions. If your leaders are not making strategic decisions that are consistent with your positioning, it’s time to shift and get aligned. When you use positioning to make long and short-term decisions, your brand will be more competitive and adaptable. So keep in mind that positioning that succeeds in the long term always leaves room for growth.
Stand apart? Your brand positioning should provide an understandable, identifiable, and meaningful picture of your brand. This picture is what makes you different from your competitors. What are your points of difference? Have they changed with the market? What do your target markets and internal teams recognize as your key difference today? Is it a sustainable differentiating factor? Make sure you work to own the space that could set you apart.
Positioning Your Brand For the Future
Positioning is a powerful tool for setting your business up to thrive. It will help drive growth and build a business resilient enough to endure shifts in the market. So work to ensure it’s designed to maximize the relevance of how and why your company matters to the people important to sustaining its growth and profitability.
Differentiation in today’s overcrowded market-place is critical for growth and for businesses to cut through the clutter to survive. As a result, you must take the time to get it right. Focusing on it is the best way to ensure your business is positioned for sustained growth. And for your brand, focusing on positioning is the best way to find a meaningful space in the hearts and minds of the people vital to your success.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy firm.