Developing a Strategic Brand Positioning Forces Conversation
Developing a strategic brand positioning requires conversation – dialogues between senior leadership and marketing, between product development and marketing, between engineering, manufacturing, R&D, and marketing. You get the idea.
The result of these discussions and debates and push-backs is a much fuller and more in-depth understanding of the category, the customer, and what is truly special and differentiating about your offering.
Focus Brand Positioning On Your Target Market
The basis of any strategic positioning statement is the target audience — the powerful description of who your offering’s prospect is. The goal is to dive into the minds of who you are going after to gain an understanding of:
- What motivates them
- Their aspirations and fears
- What keeps them up at night
- Their unmet needs
While there are many ways to attain this understanding, they all require talking to your target audience. This conversation can be achieved through focus groups, online surveys, mall intercepts, or one-on-one interviews, to name a few. The point is, we need to converse with our audiences if our offerings are going to resonate and drive purchases.
Can we Break Down Internal Silos?
Given today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, delivering a truly differentiated offering requires the whole organization’s effort. The entire company must be “singing the same tune” if you are to deliver a truly exceptional offering. This alignment goes way beyond the offering itself to include any aspect of the organization customers will interact with. Think sales and social media, customer service and collateral, website, and warranties. Breaking down silos requires getting outside of your comfort zone to expand and embrace others within your company.
Your employees are your greatest asset, so everyone must be on board to outperform your competitors. You’ll need to ensure that all of your employees — not just top and middle management — understand and believe in your company’s mission and goals.
Are We Using It as a Strategic and Creative Filter?
Once the brand positioning has been nailed, the talking continues:
- Are we using it as a filter for all brand-related activities?
- Does it align strategically with the brand’s position?
- Are we figuratively and asking ourselves and each other if the action being considered is on-brand?
- Does it communicate its story?
- Does it reinforce its value?
- Is the creative brand appropriate?
- Are we promoting it where our customers are?
The questions are endless, as should be the conversations.
Conversation + Positioning = Competitive Advantage
You may be asking yourself what all this talking gets you and how it will take your business to the next level. Brand strategy is the external communication of the internal business strategy. And brand positioning is the foundation for delivering upon the brand strategy. Consider Nike, Apple, IBM, and Starbucks. These businesses are their brands. Price inelasticity, a competitive barrier to entry, more loyal customers, greater margins, better ROI. These are but a few examples of competitive advantage. So bottom-line, get out there and start talking.
A strong, clearly differentiated brand returns improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, lower sales costs, more efficient operations, and competitive advantage. It should be noted that because brand positioning is fundamental to marketing strategy, it should also be coordinated with and tied to the overall business strategy. Unless the entire organization supports and contributes to the brand position, it’s not likely to succeed.