Successful brands are focused brands, one that are positioned to express a unique and compelling idea and make an emotional connection. There are many discussions about what brand positioning is, but not many about what goes into it and how to develop it. Definitions of brand positioning range from the highly academic (Brand positioning is the marketing activity and process of identifying a market problem or opportunity, and developing a solution based on market research, segmentation and supporting data) to the simple and straightforward (Brand positioning refers to “target consumers” who see a reason to buy your brand in preference to others.)
So, how does one go about creating brand positioning? And what goes into positioning your brand in a way that creates brand preference and encourages your target to choose you over your competitors? There are essentially three components:
- Target Insight. What do your customers and prospects say about your industry or marketplace, and how do they feel about your brand? What is their connection to your brand that aligns with their needs and wants?
- Brand Truth. What does your brand stand for? What is its core idea?
- Competitive Difference. How is your brand unique and distinctive versus the competitors? How can you create a new opportunity or market space?
Though the process above seems pretty straightforward, it’s what’s behind each component that’s critical. To gain a deep understanding, take time to research your target, close competitors and specific industry. Then, examine those findings and synthesize them to one or two meaningful sentences that define each component. The culmination of this framework leads to your brand positioning, or brand platform.
Why is this important? Your brand positioning informs every aspect of your marketing: from brand identity and tagline to tactical execution through creative and media strategies. Every customer, prospect and employee touchpoint must consistently and explicitly express your brand platform in order to build equity. Inconsistency on this front can lead to confusion and a dilution of the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
At the end of the day, it’s what your brand stands for, how it stands out and how it connects with your targets that will determine its strength and success. A solid strategic framework built on market research and audience insights is the best place to start.