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Crafting a Killer Brand Positioning Statement

Crafting a Killer Brand Positioning Statement

Have you ever felt like your brand is getting lost in the crowd? You're not alone, mate. In today's saturated market, it's harder than ever to make your mark and stand out. But fear not! The secret weapon you need is a killer brand positioning statement.

What's that, you ask? Simply put, it's a clear and compelling declaration of what makes your brand unique and why customers should choose you over others. It's your calling card, your tagline, your “come hither” look that grabs attention and doesn't let go.

Think of it like a dating profile for your business. You want to highlight your best qualities, make them swoon, and give potential customers a taste of the awesomeness you're peddling. Except in this case, instead of a romantic partner, you're looking to attract loyal brand advocates and raving fans.

Does it still sound vague? No worries, that's what I'm here for. In this guide, I'll take you through the ins and outs of crafting an irresistible brand positioning statement that'll make your target audience sit up and say, “Now that's what I'm talking about!”

What is a Brand Positioning Statement?

Coca Cola Brand Positioning Statement

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, let's get on the same page about a brand positioning statement.

It's a succinct description of how your brand is the best choice for your target customers.

It highlights:

  • Who your brand is for
  • What category or market you belong to
  • What key benefit do you offer
  • What makes you different or better than the competition

The goal? To plant yourself firmly in the minds of potential customers as the go-to solution for their specific needs or desires.

But here's the kicker – it's not just a catchy tagline. An effective brand positioning statement is the backbone of your entire marketing strategy. It influences everything from your brand messaging and visuals to your product development and customer experience.

When done right, it ensures consistency and clarity across all your branding and marketing efforts. It keeps you focused and on track, preventing your brand from getting diluted or sending mixed signals.

Why is it So Important?

I know, I know. You're probably thinking, “It's just one little sentence; how crucial can it be?”. Oh, ye of little faith! Don't underestimate the power of that punchy brand positioning statement.

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Think about it – we're bombarded with thousands of marketing messages daily. Your brand positioning statement is like a life raft in that overwhelming noise. It's what will help you rise above the fray and be remembered.

The Brand Positioning Workbook: A Simple How-To Guide To More Compelling Brand Positionings, Faster
  • Appelbaum, Ulli (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 108 Pages – 02/02/2022 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)

A strong brand positioning statement instantly conveys the following:

✨ Who you are

✨ What you offer

✨ Why anyone should care

It grabs attention, sets expectations, and lets potential customers quickly assess your fit for their needs. And in our modern world of endless choices and short attention spans, that's marketing gold!

But wait, there's more! An effective brand positioning statement also:

  • Differentiates you from competitors, giving you a unique selling proposition
  • Focuses your brand strategy and marketing efforts
  • Aligns your entire organisation behind one cohesive brand vision
  • Builds brand recognition, credibility and loyalty over time
  • Simplifies your marketing messaging (and makes it infinitely more compelling)

It's the very core and foundation of your entire brand identity. Get it right, and you'll have a unified brand that attracts ideal customers like a magnet. Get it wrong…well, you'll blend into the background noise forever.

It's crucial if you ask me!

The Anatomy of a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement

What Is A Positioning Statement Marketing

Now that you're sold on the importance of this little branding powerhouse, it's time to roll up your sleeves and dive into crafting one. But where do you start?

Like any good story, an effective brand positioning statement has a clear structure and well-defined components. Here's the basic anatomy:

[Key Benefit] for [Target Audience] that [Unique Differentiator/Reason to Believe]

Let's break that down:

Key Benefit: This is the main advantage, value or desired outcome your product or service provides customers. It should be clear, compelling and focused on what's in it for them, not just features.

Example: “Shoes that never wear out”

Target Audience: This defines precisely who your ideal customer is – their demographics, psychographics, behaviours, needs, etc. The more specific, the better to ensure relevancy.

Example: “…for marathon runners looking to go the distance”

Unique Differentiator: This is your brand's unique selling proposition or positioning strategy relative to competitors. What makes you stand out and more desirable?

Example: “…with patented self-regenerating soles”

Put it all together, and you get:

“Shoes that never wear out for marathon runners looking to go the distance with patented self-regenerating soles”

See how those few words instantly convey the core of the brand? That's the magic of a good brand positioning statement in action!

Simple Formula, Deceptively Difficult

I know what you might think: “That formula seems pretty straightforward – how hard can it be to fill in those blanks?”.

Well, my friend, crafting a brand positioning statement that genuinely resonates is more complex than it looks. There's an art and a science to nailing those three key components.

First, you can't just pluck a random benefit out of thin air. It has to be a compelling advantage that your target customers genuinely care about and value above all else.

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For example, Marathon Slick Shoes could have said: “Lightweight shoes for runners that won't slow you down.” But that's table stakes – all good running shoes must be lightweight. By zeroing in on the “shoes that never wear out” benefit, they've hit on a vast motivator and frustration for distance runners.

Next, you need to define your audience with laser-like precision. Your statement will be more impactful and relevant if you are broader or generic.

For example, “Comfortable shoes for people” is way too broad. “Shoes for marathon runners looking to go the distance” is much more specific, tangible and resonant for that particular audience segment.

Finally, nailing that unique differentiator or reason to believe is vital. This will make you stand apart from all the other brands making similar claims in your market.

Marathon Slick Shoes could have just said “durable shoes”. However, specifying their “patented self-regenerating soles” technology gives customers a credible and ownable reason to pick them over other durable shoe brands.

As you can see, there's fine art to choosing just the right words and a level of specificity to maximise impact and credibility.

Going Beyond Features to Tap Into Emotions

Jw Marriott Brand Positioning Statement Min

One of the biggest mistakes brands make with positioning statements? They get too product-centric and focus solely on features instead of emotional benefits.

Look, I get it – you're rightfully proud of all those fancy features and innovations you've poured your blood, sweat and tears into. But at the end of the day, customers don't care about your “patented self-regenerating soles” tech. They care about the benefit it provides them – in this case, not constantly replacing running shoes.

You must translate those product features into powerful, emotional benefits and results. Benefits that tap into your customers' deepest needs, desires, frustrations and aspirations.

Marathon Slick Shoes could say their self-regenerating soles make their shoes extra durable. But by positioning it as “shoes that never wear out”, they're speaking to that persistent pain point and longing for the perfect shoe that lets runners chase their passion without limits.

Highlight the proper benefit, and you'll forge an emotional connection that moves people in a way mere facts and features can't.

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Positioning for Advantage: Techniques and Strategies to Grow Brand Value
  • Hardcover Book
  • Whitler, Professor Kimberly A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 264 Pages – 09/07/2021 (Publication Date) – Columbia Business School Publishing (Publisher)

The Brand Positioning Sweet Spot

When crafting your positioning, you may be tempted to make it as broad as possible to appeal to more customers. But doing so is a surefire way to dilute its impact and become firmly forgettable.

Alternatively, you could make it super niche and sacrifice potential reach for the sake of specificity. That's not good either – you want to create something focused yet inclusive.

The sweet spot is to hit the bullseye: Position-specific enough to stand out but broad enough to include your target audience.

For example, Marathon Slick Shoes didn't just target “elite marathoners between the ages of 25-34”. Focusing on the broader “marathon runners looking to go the distance” widens their potential market while retaining enough specificity to be relevant.

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The goal is to find the optimal middle ground of the “sweet spot” where your positioning feels unique and differentiated yet simultaneously inclusive and compelling to your core customers.

Bring It To Life With Storytelling

Best Brand Storytelling Quotes

Even if you nail the brand positioning statement, words on a page can only take you so far. To make it resonate and stick in people's minds, you must bring it to life through storytelling.

Think about some of the most iconic brands and successful positioning campaigns. Often, the positioning is supported by a rich brand narrative that pulls you in emotionally.

Take Nike's classic “Just Do It” campaign. On its surface, that's a primary appeal to get out there and pursue your goals. But paired with inspirational images of everyday athletes pushing their limits, it became a powerful, empowering tale of struggle, perseverance and achievement that struck a chord worldwide.

Your brand story should expand on and exemplify the core brand positioning idea. Use evocative language, imagery, characters and plotlines to turn your statement into a compelling, dynamic narrative. Something that makes people feel something beyond just words on a page.

Marathon Slick Shoes' positioning of “shoes that never wear out for marathon runners looking to go the distance” could become a story of the sheer dedication it takes to be an endurance athlete. Pushing beyond limits, overcoming adversity and finding new frontiers are all fueled by durable footwear.

With creative storytelling, your positioning can transcend marketing and become part of your brand's identity and mystique. It's no longer just a statement but a full-fledged promise, motivation and rallying cry for your loyalists to get behind.

How to Go About Crafting It

Okay, enough pep talk about why this positioning statement is so crucial. Let's get down to how you create one for your brand.

Fair warning: This process isn't just about slapping some words together. It requires deep self-examination, research, collaboration and constant refinement. But trust me, it's worth the effort.

Here's a roadmap to follow:

1) Discover Your Brand's Core Purpose and Values

Before defining your positioning, you need to understand why your brand exists and what it stands for at its core. Not just the surface-level features or benefits but the deeper motivations driving your business.

Some soul-searching questions to reflect on:

  • What fundamental human needs or desires are you trying to fulfil?
  • What positive change do you want to drive in the world?
  • What values, beliefs and principles guide your brand?
  • What bigger mission or purpose ties all your products and services together?

This work will form the philosophical bedrock upon which your positioning statement rests.

2) Analyse the Competitive Landscape

No brand operates in a vacuum – competition vies for those same customers. That's why you must conduct a thorough competitive audit to identify opportunities to differentiate.

Study up on how your rivals are positioning themselves. Reverse-engineer their messaging to determine their key claimed benefits, target audience and unique selling propositions.

Then look for gaps, unmet needs and openings to position yourself in a unique, defensible space they haven't saturated yet. Your goal is pinpointing a position you can credibly own that sets you apart.

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Remember, you can't just make claims willy-nilly – your core differentiator has to be legitimate and provable. So ask yourself: What do you genuinely offer that competitors don't (or aren't doing well)? Are there any unique capabilities, attributes or value-adds?

For example, Marathon Slick Shoes may have discovered many shoe brands tout durability, but none have a long-lasting self-regenerating sole technology. Voila – there's their unique positioning angle.

3) Define Your Ideal Target Customer Avatar

Types Of Target Audiences

Specificity is crucial for creating a resonant positioning statement. Generic profiles like “between ages 25-45 with disposable income” just won't cut it – that's way too broad.

You need to get hyper-specific and define a rich, multi-dimensional persona through customer research, data mining, interviews, etc. Dig into the deepest demographics, behaviours, psychographics, fears, desires and motivations of your core customer base.

Give them a name, a persona, a distinct set of hopes, struggles and personality quirks. Humanise this critical target segment to shape your positioning around them.

For example, maybe Marathon Slick Shoes' key persona is “Persistent Pete” – an ambitious, dedicated runner juggling a stressful career and family life. He has big endurance goals but limited free time, so he needs gear that can keep up and won't need constant replacement and upkeep.

4) Hone In On Your Key Benefit

At the heart of every excellent positioning statement is a compelling, clearly articulated benefit that directly solves a critical customer need.

To identify yours, look at the hopes, fears, and frustrations surrounding the target persona that your product addresses. Then, pressure-test a variety of benefit potential benefit statements against these criteria:

  • Is it significant and valuable to your core customers?
  • Does it differentiate you from competitors making similar claims?
  • Is it specific, tangible and credible (not just empty fluff)?
  • Does it align with your brand's purpose, values and capabilities?

For example, Marathon Slick Shoes may have started with a benefit like “Cushioned running shoes for maximum comfort”. However, through persona analysis, they discovered durability and longevity are the more significant priorities for time-strapped amateur marathoners juggling busy lives.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ries, Al (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 226 Pages – 01/03/2001 (Publication Date) – McGraw Hill (Publisher)

5) Workshop and Refine Your Full Positioning Statement

With all that foundational groundwork, you're finally ready to start piecing together your complete positioning statement.

Write out iterations combining different benefit/audience/differentiator angles. Get stakeholders and trusted advisors to critique, poke holes, and optimise the wording, clarity, and flow.

You may need to cycle through dozens of versions, constantly refining and pressure-testing each. Get brutally honest feedback on which ones pack a punch and which fall flat.

For example, Marathon Slick Shoes may have initially workshopped something like:

“Marathon-proof performance shoes with self-regenerating tread for seasoned distance runners.”

It's decent but still clunky and product-focused. Through workshopping, they progressively refine it to:

“Shoes that never wear out for marathon runners looking to go the distance with patented self-regenerating soles.”

See how that final, refined version is more concise yet vivid, emotionally resonant and centred on customer benefits?

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The process is highly iterative and subjective. Be prepared for lots of debate and keep an open mind to refine that statement until it feels right.

6) Back It Up With a Solid Brand Story and Identity

Now that you've nailed that foundational brand positioning statement, you can't let it exist in isolation on a PowerPoint slide. You must breathe life into it with a rich brand story, identity and personality.

Find compelling ways to express and exemplify that positioning across all your brand properties. Weave it through your:

  • Brand taglines and messaging
  • Marketing visuals and creative campaigns
  • Website and content strategy
  • Social media brand voice and personality
  • Product packaging and merchandising
  • Customer experience and service standards
  • Internal Brand culture and employee engagement

The goal is to have your brand positioning shine consistently at every customer touchpoint. You want your audience to clearly understand and connect with that unique brand essence, promise, and flagship benefits you own.

For example, Marathon Slick Shoes may launch a marketing campaign featuring gritty, minimalistic visuals of dedicated runners pushing their limits in harsh environments – all grounded by the tagline “The Shoes That Never Quit. Their brand voice and social content highlight stories of perseverance and pushing personal frontiers, driving home their core purpose.

With a cohesive, well-executed brand identity, that positioning becomes more than words – it's your brand's identity, promise and reason for existing.

The Proof is in the Market Pudding

Usp Brand Positioning Statement

You can have the most brilliant, tightly-crafted brand positioning statement globally. But if it fails to resonate with your audience and drive business results, it's just empty words.

That's why the real litmus test happens when you take your carefully-sculpted positioning out into the wild and put it to the test in the unforgiving court of customer opinion.

Launch marketing campaigns and initiatives built around your positioning statement. See if it cuts through the noise, grabs attention, and stokes desire as intended. Monitor metrics like brand awareness, recognition, favorability, customer acquisition and market share growth.

If your efforts are met with crickets and tumbleweeds blowing by, it may be a sign that your positioning somehow missed the mark. You have a winner if it strikes a clear chord and moves the needle!

Don't be afraid to keep revising, refining and evolving your brand positioning based on real-world data and customer feedback. Excellent positioning isn't set in stone – it's an iterative, constant optimisation process.

After all, your target audience's needs and the competitive landscape are constantly shifting. A positioning statement that felt fresh and unique a few years ago may already be stale and commoditised.

That's why brands must stay vigilant about pressure-testing their positioning for continued relevance and making strategic pivots to remain distinctive and compelling.

For example, suppose Marathon Slick Shoes finds that “shoes that never wear out” are no longer a key differentiator as other brands catch up with their sole technology. In that case, they may need to identify a new marquee benefit to reposition.

Maybe it becomes “Footwear for the Ultra-Driven: Infinite endurance without limits” to emphasise their focus on serving only the most hardcore, high-mileage runners striving for audacious feats. The core idea stays the same, but the positioning evolves to maintain distinctiveness.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Miller, Donald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages – 10/10/2017 (Publication Date) – HarperCollins Leadership (Publisher)

Conclusion

There you have it, folks – everything you need to know about crafting a killer brand positioning statement that'll have your audience sitting up and begging for whatever you're selling.

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In a world of endless distractions and options, your brand's ability to stake out an unmistakably unique position and own it like no other is more critical than ever. A tightly defined positioning statement is the first step to achieving that golden “top-of-mind” status with loyal customers.

While it may seem like a daunting creative exercise, defining your brand positioning is essential groundwork. It provides invaluable focus and direction for your entire marketing strategy and brand identity.

Just remember – at the end of the day, it's only words on a page if you don't activate it properly. Bring that positioning statement to life through storytelling, creativity and a rock-solid product experience that lives up to the promise.

With commitment, diligence and a finely-tuned BS meter, you'll craft a brand positioning statement that truly sings. One that makes people pause and take notice amidst all that incessant noise and clutter.

Consider this your official call to action: Get out there and unearth what makes your brand unique, valuable and worth choosing above all others. Then, put it down in a seductively simple yet impactful statement that'll have customers swooning over your every word.

Get them, tiger!

FAQs

Does my brand positioning statement have to be short and simple?

Your brand positioning statement should be as clear, concise and punchy as possible for maximum impact and memorability. You want to capture the essence in a memorable phrase, not a long, rambling paragraph. Roughly 5-10 words is an excellent target to aim for.

How does a brand positioning statement differ from a brand slogan or tagline?

While related, they are distinct concepts. Your brand positioning statement articulates your core value proposition and unique selling points. A slogan or tagline is more of a figurative, attention-grabbing expression of that positioning. Your positioning informs your motto, not the other way around.

Can my brand have multiple positioning statements for different products or markets?

Ideally, no – your core brand positioning should be a cohesive, overarching statement that applies to your entire brand/business. However, you may have individual product line extensions or slightly nuanced positions within your brand architecture, all laddering up to that master positioning idea.

How often should I update or revise my brand positioning?

Your core brand positioning shouldn't be changing drastically year over year unless there's a significant market disruption or strategic rebrand in play. That said, you should continually monitor its effectiveness and be ready to refresh the messaging or make course corrections as needed to maintain relevance.

What if my brand positioning is too similar to a competitor's?

If your positioning statement sounds too alike or undifferentiated compared to market rivals, that's a big red flag. The goal is to define a unique, defensible position only you can credibly own. Return to the drawing board and find a more authentic point of differentiation to hang your hat on.

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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