Successful companies have one important thing in common: a really strong brand.
And a strong brand should be a priority for all businesses striving for success – even if you’re starting out – and trust me, the proof is in the numbers.
Brands that are consistently marketed see an average revenue increase of 23%.
And we know that successful branding yields benefits, such as an increase in customer loyalty, improved image, and of course, an increase in client base.
But a brand is much more than a tagline or a fancy logo. To build a strong brand it starts with a brand position.
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your service, product or company a certain way in the mind of your customers. It’s about selling the concept or idea that will motivate the purchase. And, a good brand position is what will set you apart from the rest.
But it’s not always easy.
Positioning is one of the most ambiguous concepts and can be hard to pin down. That’s usually why many startups or businesses starting out don’t get it right. Well, at least not the first time.
A positioning strategy statement needs to be clear, concise, and uncomplicated. It has to take into consideration the customer’s needs. It should also provide a compelling reason why potential customers must buy your brand.
And this is why it’s so important…
A clearly defined positioning strategy statement guides all your marketing and marketing communications strategies. Without it, you’ll be executing marketing tactics like Facebook ads, direct mail or designing websites that are disjointed and misaligned.
In short, your customers will get confused.
3 steps to create your own brand position
Creating your own brand positioning strategy involves diving deep into the details of your brand and discovering what you do better than anyone else. How can your business, product, service stand out?
These 3 steps will be help you create a brand positioning statement that’s unique to your business.
1.Conduct competitor and customer research
If you’re currently marketing your product or service does your marketing stand out? Start by first considering your target customer and ask yourself three simple questions: Who are they? What is their core problem? How do you help them (and add benefit)? Doing an audit and understanding how you serve those potential customers is a perfect starting point.
Next, determine how your product or service is different from the rest in the market. It’s also important to understand the market you’re in and what you’re competitors are doing. The research you conduct will allow you to decide what you can do better and what will give you that edge.
Not sure where to start? Ask your customers. Ask your sales team. Or go to the Googles.All these different methods of gathering customer or competitor research will allow you to decide what you can do better and give you that edge.
2. Identify what makes your brand unique
Now that you have the research you can start to see key themes and trends in the data. You may start to see a repetition in key words or notice common benefits popping out of the data. As you start to compare your product or service, you’ll start to see where your product can stand alone. This is not about the how or the what. This is about the why. Why your company exists. If you haven’t watched the Simon Sinek talk about finding your ‘why’ you need to do so right now.
By figuring out your unique selling proposition (or why), will essentially make it easier for your brand to be unique and stand out. And let’s be honest, customers want brands that can speak directly to them.
The Cube noted that “48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs.”
3.Create your position
Now the fun part (at least I think so). It’s time to take what you learned and create a brand positioning statement.
First, take what you learned (I find it the easiest to place all those benefits and key words from your research on a whiteboard in front of you) and start to draft a simple and compelling statement. It doesn’t have to be hard. BUT you do have to keep your customer in mind. You want to lead them in making their buying decision not tell them what to do.
According to The Cult Branding Company, “a positioning statement is a one or two-sentence declaration that communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your main competitors.”
Remember, communicate the value of your brand and the rest will fall into place.
After you have the position statement, ask yourself, does it work?
Take the time to test the concept with your audience. They are always your best litmus test.
But here is the really, really important part; ensure that is it reflected in everything you do.
Your positioning statement should be the heart of your business and it should be clearly communicated and reflected in every interaction with your customers. Leaders like Nike and Apple have exceptional brands because they live and breathe their positioning statements.
And guess what, so can you.
Do you want more customers, more revenue, and more growth? Of course you do, we all do. Then you’ll probably need an excellent marketing strategy. But a strategy without a plan won’t get you far.
One of the most important aspects to growing your business is your marketing strategy. But first, you need an effective marketing plan in place. Having a plan means understanding opportunities for new growth, who your actual customers are versus what you thought, and how to attract and gain new customers. Not to mention, where to best spend future marketing dollars.
The challenge that most companies face is that they fail to create a marketing strategy. No strategy means a future destined for struggle (and maybe failure). Think of it like turning on your GPS without plugging in a final destination. You’re going do a lot of driving but won’t get anywhere.
One could argue (and I may be biased here), that marketing is one of the most important functions of your company and a vital part of your entrepreneurial success. Without marketing your business you can’t attract the right customers. Without attracting the right customers means not generating sales. And no sales means no revenue or profits.
Do you see a pattern here?
Marketing presents a continuous process that every business needs to perform BUT you need a roadmap to get there. That is where a marketing plan comes in.
A marketing plan is a blueprint or roadmap for your organization. It’s short-term in nature, specific in scope, and combines strategies and tactics to get your desired results. Writing a marketing plan is not a simple task. But, once you have one, it will help you and your business with the action steps you need to take in order to attract the right customers.
Here are three key factors that must be in your next marketing plan:
1. Customer are the heart of your plan.
The marketing plan revolves around your customers. Think of the customer as the sun. Your business and the tactics you execute need to be focused around your customer, not your boss or the competition. This is an essential ingredient to your plan. You want to figure out key information about your customer – demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics – to begin with. Once you have that outline in place, you can create a buyer’s persona.
The buyer’s persona is a secret weapon used by many successful companies. The buyer’s persona paints a picture about who you’re targeting as it relates to your product and service. The information you gather can make it easier for you to target your marketing and communication efforts, and create loyal customers. It’s often said, “knowledge is power.”
2. Communicate your value.
Yes, communicate your value. But that does not mean communicate your product features or list all your fancy features. You must communicate with your customer or potential customers where they are at and what they want to know. So, ask yourself the following questions: What matters the most to them? How is your product or service going to make their life easier?
It’s so easy to jump into the ‘what’ of your product and much harder to capture the “why” (as said by the very brilliant Simon Sinek).
When you’re positioning your product or service, your selling a concept that motivates a purchase. The position statement needs to clearly articulate your value and identify how you want your company or product to be portrayed in the buyer’s mind. Not to mention, it also helps guide your entire marketing plan. Without it, your marketing strategies and tactics fall flat.
3. Set really, really clear objectives.
Objectives help you stay focused. Really focused.
Objectives help you identify what you’re going to accomplish in a one-year period. If you stay focused, and ensure your objectives are about your customers, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
“Help your customers and you help your business.” ~ Leo Burnett
The practice of creating objectives is important. You want to set objectives that are qualitative in nature. Remember the SMART principle? Make sure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. This will ensure your entire team knows where you’re going and how you’re getting there. Not to mention, it will keep you accountable to reaching those objectives as you execute your marketing plan.
To achieve this kind of focus, be sure to include your entire team and find other ways that you can create objectives that add value to your customers’ lives. This will also keep your marketing team focused on the real mission of your business.
Get started. Now.
Of course, the first step in ensuring the success of any marketing plan is to get all those ideas down on paper. Bring your team together, facilitate a brainstorm session, do your research, and start with these three simple steps. The rest of the plan will start to fall into place.