When starting a business or revamping your branding, it is crucial to determine why your customers should choose you over the many different options in a crowded market. The tactics for this can include unique selling propositions, customer personas, and a brand positioning statement.
Finding ways to differentiate from your competitors takes considerable time and effort. The first step in that process should be determining your brand positioning. Without a positioning statement that you can use to create your messaging, your business will blend in with the rest, leaving your sales in flux. By asking who your audience is, what category your business is in, and what differentiates you from the rest of the market, you can start building a brand strategy that will give you a clear path and a competitive edge.
What is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is the unique value that a brand presents to its customer. Brands create a marketing strategy to establish their identity while conveying their value proposition so customers choose a brand that solves their problem over another.
A brand positioning statement outlines what your company does, for whom, and what makes you different. It should be short and straightforward and address owning the space in your customers' heads for the problem you solve.
You may wonder, what makes it different from a mission statement? A positioning statement considers the "what" of your business, and a mission statement answers the question "why." Positioning statements are not public-facing but are used to ensure alignment in marketing, sales, and communications.
Getting Started on Your Positioning Statement Starts with 3 Core Questions.
1. Who is My Audience?
One of the most important things a business must do is understand a target audience. Do you provide a service? Who needs that service to solve their problems? Or do you sell products? Who should be buying those products?
Who are you selling to? Having a clear buyer persona is critical. That is too broad if you answer that your products are for everyone. Casting too wide a net will cause you to blend in. You want to identify who your customers are, their problems, and how they spend their time. This is how you use messaging to connect with the audience.
Indications your marketing is off-target:
- Your target audience is too big
- Your team isn't aligned on who you serve
- You're wasting time on unqualified leads
Creating buyer personas to narrow your niche or target audience would be best. These are specific models of individuals your products or services serve best. For example, if you are a photographer, one of your personas might be "Bride Bethany," who is engaged and ready to find the perfect photographer for her special day. Creating a buyer persona for the first time can be confusing, however. If you need guidance, please download our How to Create Buyer Personas Workbook here.
2. What Do I Provide for My Audience?
Determining your business category is another vital step to crafting your brand positioning statement. The category is a high-level business area that helps your business organize what it does. It is also an important determining factor for helping search engines understand your business. This seems straightforward but has some nuances. It needs to be meaningful, not so narrow to be limiting, and not so broad you can't differentiate.
Consider where to expand so you don't limit yourself again. But clarity is critical and should make sense to your audience defined above.
Some examples of business categories include equipment, SaaS products, custom fabrication, and packaging. If your business doesn't easily fit into any type, you may need to create a new one.
3. What is My Differentiator?
This third question is an important one. Your differentiator is a characteristic of your business that separates you from key competitors and gives you a perceived advantage in the eyes of your target audience. This advantage, which you carefully cultivate, gives the audience a compelling reason to choose your business over someone else's. Establishing a competitive advantage requires a single distinguishing feature or a robust collection.
How do you figure out your differentiator? Start with the following questions:
- Why would someone want to choose us over someone else?
- Why would someone choose another company over us?
Do your business and others offer the same thing? If so, keep brainstorming. Your differentiator should be unique, valuable, accurate, and not easily replicated.
If you still need help with defining your differentiator, create a list of everything that sets your brand apart or that may set it apart. Here are a few things to think about as you make your list:
- Who are your brand's ideal consumers within a specific demographic that you call the "target market"?
- What are attributes that distinguish features of your brand or product?
- Are there specifications that make your product unique?
- What is your unique approach to manufacturing or providing your service?
- What is your brand's history and backstory?
- Are specific technologies included in your product or service, and do any patents you have or have filed for fall under the "technologies and/or patents category"?
- Does your product's performance or effectiveness stand out from the competition?
- Have you had endorsements or public declarations of support by individuals, groups, or institutions?
- What makes your business unique: the people, the processes, the structure, etc.
- What is your brand's unique character, and how does it communicate with the world?
Use the following questions to evaluate and rate each distinguishing product feature:
- Significance to prospective buyers, or how much your point of uniqueness matters to your ideal clientele
- Distinction from rivals — the more pronounced your distinction is, the more influential the differentiator
- Consider how simple it is to set yourself apart and keep that distinction alive
- Alignment with brand essence or purpose — the most effective differentiators directly link to and bolster your brand's core values
Using the ratings, choose the most critical distinction by ranking several top candidates. A few words of advice, always be explicit and unambiguous while describing each distinction. Each has to be as detailed and conclusive as possible while writing in a manner your target consumers can comprehend.
Clear Branding Will Result in Clarity for Your Company and Your Clients
Branding your business can feel complicated and confusing. However, taking these steps can clarify those muddy waters. Completing a brand positioning statement will make aligning your brand, team, and marketing much more manageable. It can work as a sounding board for marketing ideas and sales scripts to ensure your messaging aligns with why your audience will buy from your message, making it more consistent and memorable.
Get help with your whole brand strategy by taking our growth potential assessment, which will walk you through every crucial step for creating a solid brand to increase your reach and drive sales.