April 23, 2019

Brand Positioning: a deep dive

Brand positioning is a crucial aspect to your brand. It creates market differentiation, breaks through the noise, makes the buying decision easier, justifies pricing by adding value, and amplifies your brand’s story. That being said, many people don’t understand brand positioning and more importantly, how to discover what their own brand positioning is. That’s where we (and this blog) come in.

So, where do you start?

The journey to finding your brand’s positioning starts with your target audience insights. Before looking at your competitors or your brand, you first have to analyse the target audience and their experience of the industry. Start with demographics; what does your ideal client look like? Is it a person or an enterprise? Are they younger or older? Are they metropolitan or rural? These demographic-based questions will help you understand when, where, and how to speak to your target audience.

Once you’ve established the demographics of your target audience, it’s time to delve into how they think. This is when you step back and try to see the whole picture of your industry through the eyes and emotions of the target audience. What are they looking for? What services do they need? What are their pain points? By understanding how your target audience thinks about the industry experience, you can decipher where your brand stands in their minds.

Okay, so you’re familiar with your target audience. Now what?

The next step to figuring out your positioning is the most obvious one; analysing your competition. While there may be big players within your industry that are dominating your marketplace, I don’t suggest analysing them as a direct competitor if your company isn’t big enough to play within that space. Instead, look to companies that are around the same size as yours. The reason for this is that your target audience (if you’re a smaller business) will differ to that of the bigger, more established companies.

Once you’ve identified the players within your sphere, do a deep dive into each of their brands. Identify each companies’ strengths and weaknesses, and try to figure out their similarities and differences to your brand. Remember to highlight the things about these brands that you admire and to capitalise on their weaker aspects. It’s also a good idea to look at how they speak to the target audience; what is their tone and personality? The reason being that you can use tone of voice and personality as a way to differentiate your brand.

You know who your competitors are but where do you stand amongst them?

To get a step closer to figuring out your brand’s positioning, you need to understand where you stand amongst the competition. This begins with identifying and setting the parameters for success in your sphere. But how do you do this? I would suggest looking back to your target audience insights and finding the pain points that your product/service addresses; this becomes one of your parameters for the success.

Then go back to your competitor analysis, take a look at the weaknesses that your competitors have in common. Is your brand superior in that aspect? If so, you’ve got yourself another parameter for success. Now, map your brand along with your competitors on the graph. Have you displaced the competition? Are you alone in your quadrant (such as the example below)? If so, you’ve found yourself a positioning.

Now you know where you stand, how do you tell your audience?

So, you’ve discovered your brand’s strength, you’ve displaced the competition, and you’re well on your way of forging an uncontested market space. But how do you let your audience know? How are they to differentiate you from the pack? This is where your positioning statement comes in handy. This tells your audience what your brand is known for and why they should trust you amongst all else.

While every brand’s positioning statement will be different (for obvious reasons), they all centre around the same sort of structure:

(Brand name) is known for (A) because of (B).

Use this as the initial skeleton to write down your brand positioning. As your brand grows and evolves, this statement can be fleshed out and updated as needed.

Now you have a brand positioning statement, use it as the guiding light to your brand’s communication strategy. Every effort going into communicating with your target audience needs to embody and amplify your brand’s positioning to further cement the difference between you and the competition.

Now you know what to do, go forth and position yourselves.

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