When strategic marketers talk about, ‘determine your brand positioning’, we mean ascertain the place that you want your “brand” (company) to occupy in people’s minds. It is your responsibility to create that position through a range of brand and marketing tactics. But before you can create your brand positioning, you have to know what it is you’re aiming for.
Determining your brand position is a crucial part of Strategic Marketing thinking. You need to be clear about what you are so that others can be clear too.
Why bother thinking about your brand positioning?
No one likes uncertainty. When we can’t “file” a person or company easily in our minds, being able to easily say what they are about, we are less likely to engage with them.
Less engagement means less sales. Less sales means trouble. If you want to be easily memorable and explainable then you need to have a clear brand position. And if you want that, you need to know what you are aiming for. It’s your responsibility to provide a clear brand position – you should not make people have to figure it out or guess.
The Five Questions to determine your brand positioning
When I help organisations determine their marketing strategy, I always facilitate a workshop to uncover and determine their desired brand positioning. These are the key questions I ask and we explore together:
1. What do you want to be known for?
What are the three words your ideal customers say to describe your organisation? These are what we’ll build your brand positioning on.
2. What don’t you want to be known for?
What are the three words your ideal customers say about your organisation that make you cringe? We better make sure we don’t create a brand positioning that reflects any of these words!
3. How are you described compared to similar businesses?
When someone says to a respected person in your business network, “What’s [your business] like?”, how do you want them to respond? This is typically given in relation to your performance in the market place e.g. They are the best in the business; they are solid and reliable experts; they are innovative ground-breakers.
Once we have teased out and agreed answers to these three questions, we then test them.
4. How realistic and achievable is the brand position you want to occupy?
Positions like, “We want to be the top UK accountancy firm” might not be realistic if you have one regionally based office. However, “Top accountancy firm in our region” might be achievable.
5. Does this desired brand position fit in with your mission, vision, values and objectives?
If your mission is to provide steady, reliable advice then a brand position which places you as fast and exciting won’t chime well. If your values are cheap and cheerful, then wanting to occupy the position in the market place of “expensive and exclusive” isn’t going to happen.
These are extreme examples but they show how the position you want to occupy in the market place has to fit with your other strategic considerations.
By the end of the workshop, my clients always come away knowing exactly how they want the market place to describe them. They have a list of words and a description. Once they have decided on the brand positioning they want, we can then start to make it a reality.
Further useful blogs on brand positioning:
Kara Stanford is an award-winning Strategic Marketing Consultant based in Hampshire, England.
Contact her if you want to gain strategic clarity around what your brand positioning should be, before you potentially waste money on brand assets like a logo, images, and a website that don’t fit with your brand positioning.