A lot of companies burn huge amounts of money on marketing efforts. When they look into the numbers, they wonder what went wrong or even doubt if their product is good enough...
However, there is a great chance that the issue is not their product itself, but the way the company presents and communicates it. What if the potential customer simply didn’t get the message because it wasn’t clear enough? What if the target audience was wrong to begin with?
The main question is: How can you get the attention, be understood and sought after with all the competition and noise in your marketplace?
This is where brand positioning comes into play. It’s a process that illustrates where your brand is currently at and ultimately helps you to find a clearer message.
To put it simply, it’s going to focus your branding and as a result you will make more sales!
The 4 essential steps of Brand (Re-) Positioning
If you haven’t realised by now how important this is - consider this: A well thought out brand positioning will not simply make you appear more creative...It will differentiate you from all the other players, justify your pricing strategy and ultimately give you the competitive edge you really need.
1. Analyse the status quo
To start off you want to have a clear understanding of your current branding situation. If your company hasn’t really launched and gathered data yet, no problem - just skip this step. Otherwise begin this process by aggregating your data. We want this to be as objective as possible, so actually open your analytics tool(s), dashboards or reports and identify the following: What’s the demographic of your customers, what audiences tend to engage with your ads, website, emails and social media accounts. Try to summarize your insights in order to get a picture of your momentary buying personas.
Then, write down the USPs you are advertising with and showing off on your website, flyers, and so on. Furthermore, what is your slogan and what’s your current value proposition (might be the same thing in some cases).
Finally, summarize the most common customer feedback you got the last few months. Frequently asked questions of potential customers are certainly also part of this summary.
You probably realized that this exercise is incredibly valuable. This should be done on a regular basis to avoid unwanted surprises! Also, consider implementing and encouraging constructive customer feedback in your sales funnels.
2. Research the competition
Next up, you should get an in depth idea of the market place you are dealing with. This means, not just knowing your competitors but actually tracking them and to some degree, even spying on them (more on that in the TIP section)! If you haven’t done this in the last 6 months, it’s time to update your latest reports, as things can change quite fast!
To find your biggest direct competitors you certainly need to check out google. Search for your most important keywords and look who is popping up on the first 2 pages. For some industries it makes sense to check out instagram - search your most important hashtags and see what companies appear. Depending on your sector there are dozens of other sources you want to check out, like directories, magazines, blogs and so on.
Definitely make sure to create a list of not just the names and websites, but also their price range, USPs, marketing channels, penetrated markets and if possible even company size.
By accumulating all this data you can reveal valuable business opportunities! To make these market gaps more apparent you should plot the features of your most important competitors to a matrix (see graphic).
You can use tools like XYZ to see how much and in what manner your competitors spend their money on google ads. That’s a great indication on what strategies might work best for you and how to position yourself wisely.
3. Define your USPs
You have probably done this before but it really doesn’t hurt revisiting them and putting them to test. Because now that you’ve noted down how your competitors are building themselves up with, it’s time to compare. And that in turn is essential because your own USPs have to be unique!
Another important characteristic of your selling points is the relevancy or desirability - which seems obvious but can’t be stressed enough. For example, some target audiences will be super grateful for a 5 dollar first purchase discount, some buying personas just couldn’t care less.
Finally, be sure that your USPs are understandable. Nobody will listen to you if your message isn’t clear - no matter how expensive your marketing materials are.
4. Lay out your new brand positioning blueprint
Now that you clarified your status quo, characterized your competition, and established your USPs, you should bring it together and fill the missing pieces. With all the information you gathered you are having a much easier time, formulating the rest for your complete brand positioning blueprint.
Start by outlining your refreshed target audience. Creating around 3 different buying personas is an amazing tool that will help you in the future to conform all your marketing efforts. To be extra prepared, describe one single archetype in addition. This “type of person” is your target audience in a nutshell and the reference for all your communication.
Furthermore it’s important to formulate your vision and mission. Some describe the latter as “promises” and these can definitely be around 3-5 different ones.
Just like the archetype, these are basically tools, that will guide not just the efforts of the marketing team, but the whole company.
Last but not least you need to nail your value proposition. In a nutshell it’s a statement that describes what your business is doing for potential customers. This message has to be simple, relevant and repeatable. Otherwise people will only hear noise.
- If you take your brand positioning serious enough you should round up your blueprint with your corporate visual identity. This includes your main brand colors, fonts, moods (images that represent your brands “feel”), a description of the brand tonality and of course your logo.
- Once you have a solid brand positioning blueprint you can create a tagline or slogan that helps establish the position you’re looking to own.
BONUS: Create a story around your brand
For most companies, communicating a compelling story can be a game changer! Fact is: Pretty websites don’t sell your brand - but words do! However our brains aren’t wired to easily digest facts, which is why you need a story. One that embodies your brand and delivers your message. And most importantly a narrative that makes your audience connect on a deeper level.