Positioning Strategy 101: How to Develop Your Own Master Plan
What makes your brand special? That is the ultimate question, isn’t it? If you want to stand out from your competitors and attract prospects to your brand, then you need a strong positioning strategy.
In this article, we’re going to delve into why this is essential to your overall brand, how to develop your own strategy, and specific examples where you can see the power of positioning in action.
Before we move on to why positioning is important, let’s focus on what positioning means.
What is Positioning?
If I were to boil down positioning o a few words, it would be how you tell your story. After all, positioning helps people to understand what your brand is about, why they should care, and what makes you stand out from others in your industry.
For starters, your positioning should answer these key questions…
- Who do you serve?
- What value do you offer?
- Why are you passionate about your business?
- What makes you different from your competition?
These questions help to convey your value proposition to your ideal customer — why it’s worth the effort to work with you. It also helps to differentiate you.
Think about a brand like Apple. It sells the same basic products as its competitors. But because of Apple’s positioning and messaging, it appears cooler and carries more cachet. It also of course provides excellent products but so do some of its competitors. The result is that customers are exceptionally loyal to Apple. (I say this as I type on my iMac with my iPhone resting on my desk).
Finally, remember that your positioning is not something you do once as a simple exercise and then forget. It’s an activity that should ripple throughout your entire company and guide your steps moving forward.
Why Positioning Matters
A strong positioning strategy, which includes a positioning statement, is a powerful tool that impacts many areas of your business.
Right from the get-go, great positioning and messaging can help attract investors to your company. It can also attract media attention and even serve to entice top talent to fill vital roles within your company. In addition, it has the power to create a shared vision that helps employees find a driving purpose within your brand.
The right positioning strategy gives your sales team the tools it needs to tell your story effectively. This helps prospects to realize the value of your product or service and be eager to work with you. The result is a shorter sales cycle and loyal customers.
But how do you create a strategy that accomplishes this?
Read on to discover 9 powerful steps to help you nail your own strategy.
9 Powerful Ways to Nail Your Positioning Strategy
1. Nail Your Positioning Statement Early
Your positioning statement can be a key ingredient in fundraising conversations and onboarding the right talent to your team.
Getting an early start on your positioning will set you up to take advantageous of these opportunities as they arise.
Some even believe you should nail your positioning before you even name your company. And this makes sense, since your positioning strategy will help to guide you as you grow your business. For instance, it will help to influence your website copy, branding, and even key features of your product or service.
2. Define Your Audience
It is rare that a product is truly meant for everyone.
And, in reality, you don’t want your product to be for everyone. Your positioning needs to address a specific audience. If you’re trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one.
So, take the time to nail down who exactly your target audience is. Who will be interested in your product? Who is your product meant to help?
As your target audience begins to take shape, ask specific questions to help you complete the details. Where does your audience live? Demographics? Mindset? Pain points?
3, Know Your Competition
Knowing more about your competition helps you understand your place in your industry. Are you better, cheaper, faster?
Thinking about your competitors may help you draw comparisons to demonstrate your value. For example, when the automobile was invented, it was marketed as a”horseless carriage”— a definition that aptly explained the new product in a way consumers could understand. You might be able to do something similar by drawing comparisons with your own competitors or another industry.
4. Be Brief
The more precise and to-the-point you are in your positioning, the better. It makes your statement more powerful, not larding it with unnecessary words.
Shoot for between three and five sentences, tops.
5. Make Your Statement Original
Your statement should help you stand out from your competition, not blend in. This will help your customers remember you.
To do this, take time to articulate what makes you different? What problems do you solve that others don’t? Emphasize these differences in your positioning.
6. Stick to Your Core Values
Your positioning is not the time to shift to a new, different vision. It should fit seamlessly with your company’s core values. Otherwise, you risk confusing your audience.
7. Define Exactly What You Bring to the Table
With a product or service, you are there to serve your audience. So how do you do that?
First, write out all the ways that you help your audience. Then, whittle it down to one sentence that succinctly describes how your product or service helps your audience.
8. Make It Easy to Understand
Simplicity is key here. You want your positioning statement to be accessible to every person who reads and uses it, including your sales team, marketing team, investors, and recruiters. The simpler it is, the more universal and helpful it will be.
9. Get Feedback
It’s easy for any of us to get so engrossed in a project that we miss key details. That’s where a second or third pair of eyes can be helpful.
For instance, you may have spent a long time working on your positioning and messaging. Because of your investment, you miss that acronyms and jargon weigh it down making it difficult or anyone beyond your industry to understand.
Ask someone outside of your immediate business circle — perhaps a trusted friend or colleague — to review your statement and messaging. Pay attention to the person’s reaction. They may point out areas or issues you’ve overlooked. Any feedback could be valuable to strengthening your positioning statement.
So now that you know how to create your own positioning strategy, let’s look at some examples to give you inspiration.
3 Brands with a Positioning Strategy Worthy of Imitation
Nike is first-in-its-class when it comes to fashionable, high-end athletic wear. And its positioning has helped secure its place. From its investment in top-quality materials to its emphasis on the latest technologies and innovations, it distinguishes itself. And it’s tagline “Just do it” says it all.
Amazon has accelerated it way to the top as an online distributor. It has built a reputation as a one-stop-shop for everything people need, with an emphasis on fast, dependable delivery. Many of its recent innovations have supported its reputation.
Hubspot is renowned within its space for its powerful inbound marketing tools — and it has prosletyzed and established the role of inbound strategies for phenomenal success. Over 100,000 companies worldwide rely on Hubspot for their innovative marketing tools and technologies to grow their businesses.
Concluding Thoughts on Your Positioning Strategy
So now you know what positioning is, why it matters and how to build your own successful positioning strategy.
Admittedly, we’ve gone over a lot of information.
But, ultimately, it just comes down to putting that pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard — and start actually writing.
We hope these tips will help you to craft your own powerful positioning and messaging so you can attract customers, investors, and more.